Charge Nurses: 8 Best Practices

Transitioning into a new role can be challenging. And still, transitioning into a new role can be even more challenging when it means progressing from staff to charge nurse as management poses its own unique set of challenges. However, for those that seek to climb the ranks of nurse leadership, it is necessary to start somewhere. Here are 8 tips every charge nurse can use to excel in their roles:

  1. Continued Personal Growth. As clinical leaders progress throughout their careers, it is important to remember that no matter the level, every leadership role will require continuous growth and education. Whether transitioning into or maintaining a charge nurse role, charge nurses can grow both their clinical and leadership skills by taking “the opportunity to learn from them and from your manager, nurse educator, and interprofessional partners. Explore the evidence present or needing to be developed to progress charge nurse leaders in clinical, management, operations, and leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)”.
  2. Focus on clear, concise and consistent communication. Transparent communication is essential to keeping both managers and teams up to speed on “priorities, patient care changes, new admissions and pending discharges, and other essential unit operations. Effective communication is critical to your credibility and success in gaining and maintaining the support of your manager and team members, in managing professional relationships with interprofessional partners, and in facilitating safe patient-centered care”
  3. Set a good example. In order to be an effective team lead, it is important for charge nurses to demonstrate the same level of professionalism and commitment you expect of every member of the team.  
  4. Provide Feedback. Create frequent opportunities to exchange feedback. Not only should open communication help your team feel more comfortable with voicing their concerns or questions, but it should also promote team collaboration as you encourage team problem solving.  
  5. Guide and Support Team. Support your team by providing continuous guidance and support. Committing yourself to your team’s success is ensuring they have the resources they need to be successful in their positions.
  6. Give Praise. Celebrate successes often and openly. Give praise when due in a way that ensures every team member knows that they are valued.
  7. Know How Your Role Contributes to Success. Remember to look at the big picture and determine how your position fits into the hospitals mission and strategic plan. After all, “charge nurse leaders work in unit-level microsystems. Share your discoveries with your team members. Show them how their assignments and team-care activities fit into the overall objective to provide safe, quality, and competent patient-centered care. Help them see the impact of their work and how it affects the bottom line and overall success of the organization”.
  8. Continued Team Growth. Promote continuous learning within your teams by exploring different approaches to care and employee development. Good leaders stay current on the research and best practices of nurse leadership. In addition to promoting continuous learning within the team, it can also be beneficial to identify a mentor who can coach you on being a frontline leader

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In case you missed it:


Stewart, D., Gantt, K. (March 13, 2019) Charge Nurses: Developing Front Line Leaders


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