• charge nurse education;
  • charge nurse roles;
  • communication in nursing

Paper Presentation

  1. Top of page
  2. Paper Presentation

Purpose for the Program

In January 2011, the Maternal–Child Health Division of Nursing at our hospital began preparations to move to a larger, more state-of-the-art facility. Assessment of nursing knowledge and nursing satisfaction was part of this preparation. It became clear from the results of a self-assessment of skills questionnaire that the nurses who were serving in the permanent charge role felt unsupported and unprepared to take on the added responsibilities that the move to the new hospital would demand. Knowing that prior methods of charge nurse education were not sufficient to meet the knowledge and competency expectations of the charge nurses, a search was performed to find evidence-based practices that supported leadership development.

Proposed Change

The charge nurses determined the learning method and setting. A year-long charge nurse workshop was developed and classes were presented on a monthly basis. All charge nurses were expected to complete all components of the new charge nurse curriculum and were given tools to facilitate the process.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

The development of the topics for the curriculum came from the evidence that supports the core responsibilities for the charge nurse role. The 24 charge nurses were divided into four groups: (a) clinical/technical skills; (b) critical thinking skills; (c) organizational skills; and (d) human relations skills. Each group developed an extensive list of component skills for their assigned category and shared their information at a summary phase during the initial meeting, which allowed for additions to the list and prioritization of the topics. This information was used to develop a charge nurse core competency checklist.

The leadership team took the information provided by the charge nurses and developed the monthly educational programs, which were collaboratively presented by the experts of each topic, and built a resource guide for ongoing reference.

In January 2012, after the program was completed, the charge nurses were asked to complete the self-assessment of skills questionnaire a second time. A significant improvement was reported in all categories.

Implications for Nursing Practice

The successful implementation of this process has provided our institution with the basis for charge nurse education for all nursing divisions. Our nursing satisfaction results have improved among charge nurses. The results indicate that the nurses feel prepared to complete assigned duties, feel supported by nursing leadership, and have a sense of accomplishment regarding the last shift worked. This process can easily be implemented in any healthcare institution as a method of continuing education for the development of nursing leaders.