Charge nurse duties & responsibilities

Updated February 21, 2017

A charge nurse is responsible for overseeing the efficiency of nurses within a hospital, doctor’s office or clinic. This position requires a strong ability to multitask and a full understanding of the medical industry. To become a charge nurse you must have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and complete all examinations to be established as a registered nurse (RN). After completing several years as an RN, you may be able to apply for a charge nurse position.

Nursing Staff Management

Managing a staff of nurses is one of the main responsibilities for a charge nurse. This includes creating work schedules for each nurse in the department as well as directing the daily activities for nurses. The charge nurse is the main source for answering questions from other nurses regarding treatment procedures, medications and special procedures for unique patients. While the charge nurse is not the highest-ranked employee in a hospital or doctor’s office, she may be required to document the performance of all other nurses within the department and counsel nurses who are lacking in their performance. Lastly, organising educational seminars and training sessions for nurses is a common responsibility for a charge nurse to ensure the nurses are always on the cutting edge of nursing procedures and technologies.


Charge nurses maintain a functional work environment by performing administrative tasks such as planning the monthly/quarterly/annual budget for the department as well as maintaining a stocked inventory of supplies and necessary medications. A charge nurse is also responsible for overseeing the operational procedures of a department. This can include, but is not limited to, organising patient admission and discharge as well as filling out all paperwork for these procedures.

Patient Care

Performing administrative and managerial duties may take up most of a charge nurse’s day, but this position still requires checking on patients and documenting their progress. A charge nurse may be required to monitor patients by charting their vital signs and documenting medications given for the physician. Charge nurses who work in a specialised department may be expected to schedule visits from specialised doctors as well as document treatments performed.

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About the Author

Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.