Yes, I admit it. I did it. I realized that I’m both altruistic and stupid enough to volunteer to be a relief charge nurse. As I previously stated so poetically, “Ain’t ever going to happen.” But it did. I sat and thought about it. In fact I agonized over it. I talked it over ad nauseum with my wife. In the end I made my manager work for it. It almost became a game to see how long I could hold out. She kept coming back though. Asking me why I didn’t want to do it. Telling me that many of my co-workers had said I would be great. In the end I capitulated. I told her that I would do it. Besides, it was time for my review and I figured telling her “yes”might cast a favorable light on said review.
There are a couple of reasons why I decided to do so. First, I thought that instead of bitching about all the problems on the unit I could take ownership of it and try to change it from the inside (hence, altruistic). Second, I talked to several other charge nurses who allayed my fears and gave me a little insight into the job. One spoke of the “change of pace” that being charge amounted to. Third, I tried it out on several of my friends at work, who unanimously agreed that I would make a great leader as a charge nurse. They blew smoke up my ass, figuratively, and sad that compared to certain charge nurses who do jack shit, I would be a welcome change. Finally, I thought, “hmmm, it would look good on a resume.”
I spent 3 days training to be in charge. Like everything I’ve done lately, I pushed to do it all. I figure, there’s not going to be anyone backing me up when it’s only me, so I better get used to it. I lucked out. The three days were not exceptionally bad. It had its comical moments, like every time I tried to give a certain nurse a new patient, they would get sent to the Unit. Three times this happened. If I could only be so lucky next time. What amazed me is the mess of bureaucratic crap that one has to deal with. Paperwork galore. Being the rational, deep-thinking person I am (trying not to smirk here…) I can see why it was all important, but what a mind-numbing process!
Overall, it went well. No one hates me (that they’ve told me), yet. They continually ask when “the next time is.” So we’ll see. I’m on my own in 2 weeks. Two days as charge. I can see how it a change of pace. It is completely different from bedside nursing. You see, being a 46 bed unit (the biggest in the hospital) we’re busy, even at night. Charge does not take patients. If anything they are a resource nurse for all the other nurses. The night is spent doing administrative work, assigning beds and helping out where needed. It is very different. And I kind of like it.
Will let you know when it’s, “for real” though.