Charge Nurse Starter Pack

I started off as a Charge Nurse this past Fall, it was very intimidating to begin with just like anything else but with the more practice, the better you get! On my unit Charge nurses act as the point person for the floor and are responsible for managing the patients and staff throughout the shift, while acting as extra nursing support & trouble shooting any/all issues, ordering supplies, communicating with management, RRT, HUC, OA, ICU, bed flow, patient placement etc etc via 2 phones! and to keep all of the rooms turning depending on specific assignments, surgeries, emergencies, admissions, discharges… You also have a big ongoing project throughout the day- making the assignment for the oncoming shift. I still have so much to learn, but I do enjoy the change of pace managing the unit and the new challenges each day brings! While I’m no self proclaimed expert, so far I have figured out what I like and how I like things done 😉 there is a method to the madness! Anything I can do or use to make the day run smoother I am all about!

The following products are my current favorites that help me work through the shift:

VERTICAL FOLDING CLIPBOARD | Charge RN is the keeper of all the patients & their papers! I constantly have the assignment sheet, patient update list, staffing #s… and I need them at all times clipped together organized, the clipboard is especially needed when running around the unit getting updates & the vertical style fold is the only way for it to fit easily in your pants leg pocket without falling out or being awkward, potentially stabbing you as you bend over or boost patients

POST IT NOTES | writing down SAPs for the HUC, notes for Charge handoff, random phone #s… you name it, I like to have a Post It note available to catch my eye, I I randomly jot something down on the back of a paper I’ll forget it!

PAPERMATE MECHANICAL PENCIL | you’ve got to write in pencil, you will erase so much, this is my favorite mechanical pencil, best gripper, twist up eraser with plenty of refills!

FLEECE PULLOVER JACKET | it’s cold in the bed flow meeting & you need all the extra pockets you can get! extra points if you get it embroidered & don’t have to worry about mixing it up with another RN

CHAPSTICK | the hospital is the driest place I spend my time… all the chapstick please!

HEADBAND | helpful to keep your hair back & smoothed down, I usually look crazy during the 12 hrs anyways…

MEDELITA SCRUBS | FIVE LEG POCKETS!!! Need I say more?! Super stretchy with the best pockets!

CHEWING GUM | sweet mint is my favorite & there’s always a good time to chew gum, a minty pick me up at odd hours, something to mull on while working on the assignment

NURSING CERTIFICATION, PCCN | certification is up for debate… definitely not required prior to taking on Charge… but I definitely recommend! I’m proud of myself for forcing me to study and take on the PCCN, while totally optional this lead to my CN 3 completion and was a great way to really dig deep and study the concepts of my unit. After working for a year, it was fascinating to look back at the material at a scholarly level, it really help me put all the pieces together & look at cardiothoracic nursing an entirely different way. The PCCN certification helped improve my critical thinking skills & has definitely helped me to think big picture without missing small details, this is very helpful when helping other nurses troubleshoot their patients.

HIGHLIGHTERS | highlighters for updates, reminders, flags during report

PAPERCLIPS | paperclips help keep my bundles together & split up appropriately

APPLE WATCH | couldn’t go a day without my watch!! time keeping, flashlight, timer, reminders -Yay!

CROC LITERIDE PACER SNEAKERS | these are my latest favorite shoes! I was so surprised by how much I liked them but they are very comfortable, lightweight & don’t hold odor which is a big plus

MANDALA SCRUBS | NINE LEG POCKETS!!! 9!! I’ll alternate between these scrubs as well, some call these “Figs knockoffs” they are cut the same & much more affordable, & have way more pockets! Win for me!

ERASERS | you can never have too many erasers, especially at the beginning

CORKCICLE LUNCH BOX | when you’re in Charge you can’t really leave the floor, so the more snacks & legit lunch that you pack the better! its the worst to feel unprepared, especially in the food department

SLIP SCRUNCHIES | hair scrunchies with good hold & minimal breakage

YETI RAMBLER | gotta stay hydrated! this is my favorite water bottle lately, stays cold all shift!

MULTI COLORED CLICK PEN | best pen to update in different colors, black for report info… blue for floor updates… red for critical info to pass on in report… love having only pen to use for it all!

PILOT ERASABLE CLICK PEN | I used to only write in pencil, but it doesn’t copy well for the many assignments & pencils don’t write as smooth…. enter, the BEST ERASABLE PEN! Looks as legit as a normal pen but erases extremely easy! It’s my new favorite writing utensil for the assignment

EYE DROPS | using the computer in the driest place ever, its great to have a back up! I hate having pink eyes but it’s not uncommon after a long day on the floor

A typical day requires a 0630 call time, 10 nurses, 3 nursing assistants, 1 HUC (if you’re fully staffed) and a 31 bed unit- each filled with critically ill patients coming and going… it is a lot to keep up with but absolutely amazing when it all works out! It is cool to be a part of the “behind the scenes” and help out with this crazy complicated dance that is healthcare! Pray for your healthcare worker friends, this life is not easy, especially during COVID!

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