8 Frustrating Things About Being a Charge Nurse

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

No doubt about it: being in charge is a tough job (we know charge nurses all around the country are currently nodding their heads in agreement!).

From mounds of paperwork to understaffing to less-than-ideal coworker attitudes, charge nurses have to deal with it all…which can be exasperating day after day. We asked our charge nurse Facebook fans for the most frustrating aspects of their jobs…read on to see what they said and sound off with your own thoughts in the comments below!

> 1

Dealing with people making decisions about the running of the unit who don’t work the bedside and just cause more chaos than the issues trying to be handled. They forget that patient care comes FIRST.

—Conni M. 


Working at a place where overtime is prohibited, but you need to pass meds, deal with interruptions, document falls, tend to wounds, etc. (all of which I love to do), for 25 to 30 patients. Really??? Somehow, it’s got to stop being about the money for the facilities and more about quality care!

—Monica M.


Too much focus on the budget with staffing! I wish people would realize if we just got back to the basics of nursing, “truly caring for the patient,” we would make the budget. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but with a million audits and everything else that has to be done, it really takes focus off of the whole purpose: the patient.

—Beth F.


I work in the NICU. The most frustrating part of nursing for me is when you’ve done everything you can do, exhausted every avenue, and your baby just won’t get better. It hurts the heart….

—Natalie M.


The most frustrating part of being charge on a critical care unit is when you don’t know if you can trust someone on your staff. My job is 10 times easier when I know and trust my entire team.

—Monica S.


Not getting to spend enough time with my residents because I have so much paperwork to do!

—Angel C.


I recently got promoted to charge nurse, although I’ve been acting charge for the past two years now. I love my job even when I have to do a lot of things at almost the same time. The hard part is dealing with difficult residents who think little of our profession, even to the point of calling us GLORIFIED MAIDS.

—Joan C.


When the Spectralink phone doesn’t stop ringing. I love my job, I love nursing, I love the patients. I hate that damn phone!

—Heather D.
What do you think is the most frustrating aspect of being a charge nurse? What aspects of your job make it all worthwhile? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I work in a nursing home with a Medicare/rehab hall.
    The most frustrating things for me are:
    1) Short staffed (call ins; no shows; etc.) and 6-2 shift CNAs stay over to “help out” and the leave at 8 PM. The shift ends at 10 PM.
    2) I do an incident report (computerized facility) and find that after hitting “done” & “save” it’s not saved. 😣
    3) DON & ADON don’t have a clue; and, are not supportive of nursing staff.
    4) Getting chewed out; and, threatened when you work overtime. (Written up)
    5) You get sick at work (vomiting & diarrhea) and are told “Go take some Imodium and sip some ginger ale “. You can’t leave. (Like I really planned on having either while at work.)

  2. When you have a CNA that challenges every damn instruction you give for patient care or they down right refuse. I hate insubordination especially when I will never ask one of them to do anything I wouldn’t do. And it is all about patient care.

  3. As the only Rn in charge of a building filled with psychiatric/ med surg pts. I have to not only handle frequent behaviors balanced with all medical changes of my residents. Also having to deal with CNA’ s in the union that have more rights than all of us put together who some have ridiculous self entitlement issues and frequently therefore leaving us short. And management that complains ” that night shift sits too much, ” really. Why am l so stressed, don’t know why?

  4. Where I work, it’s all about the bottom line and the shareholders, the patients are a means to an end. The Management works us to death, then can”t figure out why they can’t keep staff. Seriously people!!!

    Common sense dictates that if you take care of your staff you will maintain retention which in turn will create better patient care, which in turns brings more patients to your facility, which means you make the bottom line and probably more than you ever expected.

    Why does management not get this?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Q&A: How Do I Cope With Workplace Drama?

Here’s a fact: If you’re an average nurse, you work for around one third of your life. And if you take on overtime or...

The 28-Hour Workday Controversy – Do Long Working Hours Help Or Harm Patients?

In recent days, the medical world has seen itself mixed up in a bit of controversy, related to the long working hours common among...

6 Apps That Are a MUST for Nurses

Working as a nurse can be extremely challenging at times. Not only are nurses expected to care for multiple patients, they’re expected to perform...