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I just got “written up” by my charge nurse. Should I worry?

Just like any leadership position, there are good charge nurses and not so good. Whether you have a good charge nurse or not, getting written up can lead to stress. Is this a concern? Can a write up lead to additional repercussions? What kind of power does the charge nurse really have?

These are all good questions. The following will dive into common causes of write ups and how the process often unfolds.

Why do charge nurses or nurse managers write up other nurses?

A write up can happen for any number of reasons, but some of the more common include:

  • Missing or showing up late for a shift. This is often the top reason reported for nurse write-ups.
  • Failing to communicate. Nurses need to communicate a lot throughout their shift. They need to let physicians and patients know what is going on while also updating charts, labeling specimens, and making sure to order all required tests. One misstep could trigger a write up.
  • Unprofessional conduct. Nursing is stressful, but inappropriate comments to physicians, other medical professionals, patients, or others while on the clock can result in disciplinary action.

These are just the more common examples. Each individual situation can be different.

What happens if a charge nurse or nurse manager writes me up?

Again, the details will vary but a write up generally leads to a meeting with a superior. That meeting provides an opportunity to discuss the issue. It could include a written notice or additional action. If the matter is serious, that additional action could include notifying the board and a potential official investigation.

It is important to note that anyone going through this process does not have to go through it alone. If the matter leads to an official investigation, it is often wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney experienced in nurse licensing matters can advocate for your interests and fight to protect your license.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication