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3 Charge Nurse Success Tips

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, September 28, 2010

Orientation can be accomplished in a one day workshop or through a series of training sessions. This is the time to cover the charge nurse role, regulatory requirements, coordination and delivery of patient care, patient safety, quality improvement, and leadership topics.

2. Charge nurse preceptors. Following the workshop, new charge nurses should be assigned a preceptor. Preceptors are routine for newly hired nurses and it's a technique that works well for any new role. Preceptors not only show new charge nurses the ropes, they also serve as mentors who can support them in their new role.

Berbarie advises the precepted time should last two- to three-weeks and that senior leadership should be active participants and strive to present the preceptees with as many experiences as possible.

3. Leadership development. The third part of the orientation program as a whole is the development of leadership skills. At a minimum, Berbarie says charge nurses should receive training on:

  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Conflict resolution
  • Communication
  • Developing talent

Organizations that do not invest in leadership skills for charge nurses will not get the most from them. The best charge nurses mesh administrative, clinical, and educational expertise with the ability to solve conflicts, reduce nurse-to-nurse hostility, improve communication, and ensure the unit is a collaborative, collegial place to work.


Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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