Many people don’t understand the intricacies of the role of charge nurse. That’s why we spoke with Max, specialty charge nurse at Swedish First Hill.
Here’s what Max had to say about the role, his typical day, and what makes a good charge nurse.
Q: Tell us a little about your role.
A: It’s complicated to explain my whole role. I don’t think that there is a book written about the role of a charge nurse. You kind of just figure it out as you go. But in my experience, the role of a charge nurse is to facilitate all of the openings of rooms and turnovers of rooms and also to make sure that on a daily basis everything is running smoothly when it comes to the team in the room and also the equipment, all the things that come together to make each surgery specific.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: I arrive at 6 a.m. and log into my email, check things out and clock in. At that point, I’m 100 miles an hour trying to set up rooms, making sure that everybody is set up for success. I think that’s my goal every day. Having little victories by making sure my team is ready to go by our first case start.
Q: Charge nurses seem to have a big impact on nurses doing their fellowships or residencies. Why is that?
A: I think that a good charge nurse makes them feel comfortable. It’s important that when people are working, they feel comfortable and confident that they’re going to succeed. Especially in the hospital because it’s such a crazy environment. A good charge nurse makes you feel like you can attack each day and succeed because they’re alongside you.
Q: What are some qualifications needed for the role of charge nurse that go beyond school and experience?
A: A good charge nurse is someone who’s dependable, and there for people every day. Someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing and hard working. I make sure that I’m visible by my team. I try not to be at my desk as much as I probably could be. I try to be out there trying to work up a sweat, even getting a mop in my hand, sweeping floors. Whatever I need to do so that they know I’m there for the entire team. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not doing my designated role, I’m doing everything. At least I’m trying to. If I do my job, just my job, I’m not becoming as well-rounded a leader.
Q: What excites you about your role as charge nurse?
A: I take great pride in my work. I want to make sure that my team is ready to go each and every day. And I want to make sure our world-class surgeons feel like they’re being taken care of properly. I get excited when there are new cases and when there are challenging cases. Honestly, every day is a challenge. But I want to make sure that I’m there for it because I know that I’m contributing to the success of the urology department, and to the surgical department as a whole. And that’s exciting.
Interested in Nursing at Swedish? Check out our job listings here.