Charge Nurse

Charge Nurse is a managerial nursing position that combines patient care and administrative responsibilities. Charge nurses work in hospitals and nursing homes overseeing the nursing staff in a specific department. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) may qualify as potential charge nurses.

Charge nurses tend to be the most experienced of their profession. They operate as a resource for new nurses. Charge nurses may be responsible for teaching and training other nurses. In certain situations, this nursing professional is required to administer certain medications or perform a specific procedure.

Charge nurses complete any or all of the following duties:

  • Admit and discharge patients.
  • Provide nursing care for patients.
  • Maintain patient records.
  • Oversee nurses in a particular department.
  • Train and evaluate beginning nurses.
  • Field concerns and questions from patients and staff.
  • Inventory and maintain medication supplies.
  • Design and improve patient care programs.
  • Advocate for patients and nurses.

Charge Nurse Degrees

Licensed LPNs and RNs are typically candidates for charge nurse positions. LPNs must successfully complete a state-approved nursing program, often only taking 1-2 years. RNs may earn an associates or bachelor’s degree in nursing. It’s not uncommon for a nurse to start out as an LPN and then continue college courses while working to become an RN.

In all states, a nursing candidate must pass the National Council Licensure Examination to be a licensed nurse. Many states require continuing education credits for nurses.

Charge Nurse Salary*

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that LPNs earned a median annual wage of $39,030* in 2008 while RNs earned a median salary of $62,450** a year. The BLS anticipates faster than average job growth for the nursing profession over the next eight years due in part to an increase in the elderly population.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

**Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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