Charge nurses are usually not in a defined permanent charge nurse role as delineated by a job description, but rather rotate through if assigned for their shift (Krugman & Smith, 2003). Additionally, many charge nurses enter their role through default (because they are the most experienced or tenured on their shift) and without formal training (Sherman, 2005). Research conducted by Sherman (2004) indicates that it is becoming more difficult to convince nurses to step up to the plate to assume leadership responsibilities even at the charge nurse level. Additionally, the lack of well-prepared charge nurses may lead to increased nurse dissatisfaction, increased nurse turnover, litigation (Mahlmeister, 1999), decreased patient satisfaction, and potential for increased error. Nurse leaders who are now examining leadership effectiveness at every level have found that charge nurses not only need clinical expertise but effective leadership skills as well (Connelly, Yoder, & Miner-Williams, 2003; Turner, 2005).
There are few delineated competencies identified for charge nurses in research due to lack of research on the subject. Connelly, Yoder, and Miner-Williams (2003) conducted a qualitative study of charge nurse competencies. They identified 54 specific competencies. The competencies were grouped into four categories. The included: (a) critical thinking competencies that address effective decision-making and problem-solving of clinical and operational issues; (b) organizational competencies, which refer to the responsibil...
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...category of relationship management, responses included fairness, good listener, trustworthy, and positive attitude. Under the emotional intelligence category, self regulation and social skills emerged. The findings from this study were utilized to develop the Charge Nurse Leadership Competency Scale.
Allison (2007) explored leadership and leadership development in the charge nurse role. Three main themes emerged: resources, relationships, and capacity building. Resources included items such as a) shortage of nurses, b) workload, c) time, d) job description, and e) resource manual. Within the context of relationships, trust, collaboration, and support from peers and management emerged. Within the capacity building theme, workshops and formalized education and mentoring emerged. The Charge Nurse Satisfaction Scale was developed based on the findings of this study.
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