For the first time in friggin' days, I was not left in charge of night shift!
We don't have a dedicated charge nurse position for our floor (Medical rates one, though. Funny, that!) so every shift I do work, I volunteer to 'act' as charge. I work 12s, so I handle staffing for noc shift and for days. Also keep track of beds on the floor and do patient (assign patients on the floor to staff) and room assignments (assign admits to rooms/beds on the floor).
Help out with admits (put together the chart, fax orders, task supplies) - since we don't rate a secretary for nights and our techs are too green (not to mention the fact that they are not trained for this. Then again, neither am I but what the hell - when the chips are down, the nurse is expected to pick up the slack).
And of course, I handle a full load of patients as well!
I don't necessarily have to do it and some of my peers on the floor tell me I'm foolish for doing it without being compensated - but I figure that when I can afford to, why the hell not? My Father always taught me that "when you begin your career, what you learn is more important than what you earn". And I do learn, a lot. Much of it is problem solving on your feet. And I make mistakes along the way - some of them pretty stupid. But as I said, I'm learning tons.
There is a valid counter-argument that I am perpetuating the status quo. That management sees that the floor is managing without a "charge nurse" for nights and thus sees no need to make it a permanent position (it actually was a permanent position but management took it away a few years ago). I have a hard time coming up with a counter argument to that position. Maybe they are right - heck, I don't know.
But last noc, I was not charge. It wasn't a bad night, but it was a welcome break in any case. "Only" five patients but of course, no tech. So the nurses were the "be all and end all" on the floor. Was pissed off with yet another Medical admit being sent up to our floor - but I think I've come to the conclusion that this isn't going to change in the foreseeable future and whining about it only makes my shift suck more. Let it go, champ.
Only got two admits and between the charge nurse and I, we wrapped them up lickety-split. Jess, the gal in charge was/is one of my most favourite people on the floor and she had just come back from vacation. Love working with her - total team player all the way.
Interestingly, at the end of the shift, day shift charge (we have charge nurse from 7a-7p) came up to me and wanted to talk about the possibility of me coming in early for a few days two weeks from now to take over from her early - as charge! Certainly an interesting proposal and I accepted it ("glutton for punishment", I hear some of you snicker. Or maybe just "you idiot!"?)
Ain't due for my evals yet - but I'm thinking all this extra efforts gotta count somewhere.
Besides, extra hours equals extra pay - and with college loans plus a new car.... I need all the dough I can get my 'ands on!
I'm off for two nocs - gotta take 'em as they come!