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Everything you need to know about becoming a Charge Nurse in Canada

Everything you need to know about becoming a Charge Nurse in Canada

If you're a nurse looking for a new challenge or are thinking of making the switch to nursing, becoming a Charge Nurse may be the perfect option for you.

A Charge Nurse is a nursing professional who takes on additional responsibilities and duties in order to provide leadership and support to the nursing team. They play an important role in ensuring that patients receive quality care.

It's a big role and one that holds with it a lot of responsibilities - so what does it take to become a charge nurse in Canada? It all comes down to education and experience. Here's everything you need to know about the role itself, including salary and job prospects across Canada.


What is a Charge Nurse?

Charge Nurses are nursing professionals who are responsible for a specific department within a hospital or medical facility. 

Their duties often include assigning specific tasks to staff, resolving conflicts between staff or patients, ensuring the department is running to code and up to provincial standard, and making other important decisions, such as scheduling.

A Charge Nurse is a leadership role, whereas (for example) a Registered Nurse works as a part of a large team providing patient care and following commands within a department. A Charge Nurse would be one of the people making the commands.

A Charge Nurse may also be referred to as a Nurse Manager, however, managers often are designed for administrative roles, whereas Charge Nurses do see patient contact, along with their administrative duties.



What are a Charge Nurses roles and responsibilities? 

The roles and responsibilities of charge nurses vary depending on the size and scope of the facility in which they work. However, some common duties charge nurses are responsible for include:

  • Supervising and delegating tasks to other nurses
  • Ensuring that patients receive the care they need
  • Responding to patient concerns
  • Keeping track of supplies and equipment
  • Documenting patient care plans

Charge Nurses may also be responsible for leading shift changes, providing in-service education, and participating in quality improvement initiatives.

Charge Nurse Salary Expectations in Canada

Charge Nurses in Canada earn a median salary of $45 per hour and $88,000 annually.

Salaries for Charge Nurses vary depending on the province or territory in which they work, along with experience. Here is a breakdown of average salaries, hourly and annually, in Canada by province:


Province

Hourly Salary

Annual Salary

British Columbia

$42.88

$89,198

Ontario

$42.25

$87,886

Alberta

$43.39

$90,245

Saskatchewan 

$38.98

$81,072

Manitoba

$38.10

$79,239

Quebec

$40.07

$83,343

Newfoundland

$38.77

$80,636

Nova Scotia

$37.84

$78,714

New Brunswick

$38.01

$79, 063

Prince Edward Island

$38.18

$79, 413

Northwest Territories

$45.74

$95,139

Nunavut

$44.35

$92,255

Yukon

$43.30

$90,069


How can I become a Charge Nurse?

Charge Nurses typically have a few years of nursing experience under their belts before moving into the role.

As a minimum, Charge Nurses require a four-year Bachelor’s degree and must already be nursing professionals. Many Charge Nurses–about 20% in Canada– also have a Master’s level of education.

In addition to having educational qualifications, many who move into this position have usually completed a Charge Nurse training program, which can be found at many colleges and universities across Canada. Because this role is more of a management one, it is not an entry-level position but more so intended for dedicated nurses looking to advance their careers. Often, nurses who become Charge Nurses must exhibit exceptional leadership abilities and management qualities in their previous positions in order to be considered.

If you know you’d like to become a Charge Nurse but are new to nursing altogether, you can still plan ahead for your career path and keep your eyes open for opportunities to advance in the workplace and/or academically.

What are job prospects like for Charge Nurses in Canada?

Job prospects for Charge Nurses in Canada are quite promising, but of course this varies by province. As a nation, Canada is known to face nursing shortages and often has demands for different nursing positions within the health care system - the job of a charge nurse is one of those positions.

Overall, the ten-year outlook for nursing as a whole is rated ‘good’ on the Canadian Job Bank - which is the highest rating possible on their scale.

Since the 2020 pandemic, many provinces are exceedingly desperate for dedicated nursing staff, and as more new nurses flow into their roles, nurses with several years of experience and/or leadership skills and higher education could consider applying for a role as a Charge Nurse.

The only provinces/territories that aren’t seeing a surge in job openings for nurses as often as others are Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Northwest Territories. Having said that, there are still job postings for several nursing professionals in both locations.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, charge nurses play an important role in ensuring that patients receive quality care. If you are a nurse looking for a new challenge, becoming a charge nurse may be the perfect option for you.

If you’ve got leadership qualities, a few years of experience as a nurse, and a solid education (or an upgraded one), there are plenty of Charge Nurse roles to be filled across Canada. In this role, you’d be tasked with more administrative and relations-oriented work than you would in an RN role, however, you’d still interact with patients and be on the floor with the staff you’d be overseeing.

If you’ve got great management skills, care about people, and are a dedicated member of your hospital/facility’s team, consider becoming a charge nurse.