Float Nursing

  1. Hello, Members:

    I would like to know are there any recent nursing school graduates or nurses who have worked as a float nurse? I do not seem to hear much about this area of nursing. Is float nursing the type of position that a recent nursing school graduate should take on? or should a recent graduate have a particular area of nursing in mind to work in? Is there a need for float nurses? What are the good/bad points about the above type of nursing?

    Carmen:
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   New CCU RN
    Carmen,

    As a well... I guess no longer new graduate (been working as an RN for a year now), I would strongly discourage you from starting out as a float nurse.

    There are holes in everyone's preparation and alot of skills, learning, prioritizing, time management, etc come from actual work place experience. While you may be able to develop this as a float nurse, it will be quite difficult. Also, the expecations of a float nurse is that they will be able to come in and be an assistance not a hinderance to the unit. Don't take that comment the wrong way.... but any new person does in a sense slow the unit down. (it is a necessary evil and they soon will be competent but do realize a great deal of time and effort is dedicated to preparing a new graduate. I just don't see how you can be given a consistent orientation or preparation. Every unit has its own way of doing things and it would be hard being so green to go out there and be able to take anything thrown your way.

    I directly went to intensive care nursing bc that is the only place I could imagine myself. There is alot of debate about taking new grads there, but we were provided with an extensive orientation with classroom time, a consistent preceptor. You are going to need mentors, a supportive unit, and a good orientation in order to help you with transitioning from a student to a nurse.

    If you don't really know what area you want to go into yet, that is fine. Try first by narrowing down what type of facility you would like to be in...large academic center, community hosp, etc, etc. After you have decided what environment suits you best, then start interviewing on different units and try and see if one peaks your interest or you seem to feel most at home at, or you simply like the manager's style.

    Do remember that you are not signing your life over. You can try and see if you fit into a certain type of nursing and if not try something else. Good luck.
  4. by   debbyed
    Our hospital has S.W.O.T. nurses, 2 different types.

    Med/Surg swots work on what ever Med/Surg unit that has a need for that shift. They have to be competent in all the various zone ie: Resp, Ortho, Neuro, Oncology etc.

    Speciality swots work ER, ICU/CCU, PCU (Telemetry) and PACU (Recovery Room) They too must be competent in all those areas.

    I believe the requirements include 2 years experience in either Med/Surg nursing or Speciality area with above average evaluations. They also must have the recommendation from their Nurse Manager and the D.O.N. They must be accertive individuals who function independently without difficulty.

    These nurses are paid at a higher rate than regular staff because they must maintain their skill levels in all their covered areas and because they never know where they will be working shift to shift. Though they try to limit it, they also may work 2 or 3 units in a twelve hour shift.

    These positions were created to help decrease the times staff nurses were pulled to units that they had little or no experience with. In most nurses opinions this is one of the best programs put in effect to decrease staff dissatisfaction.
  5. by   Teshiee
    When you think about it that is a great idea S.W.O.T. would be great if they don't mind floating at a moment notice it would really cut down on disatisfaction. I could see this expanding in Maternal child and peds maybe. Plus the higher rate!!!!! Sounds really nice. As a new student I agree with the other nurses find an area and hone in on your skills, prioritizing your care so when you are ready to float out to different areas you have a knowledge base to pull from. :-) It is nice that some nurses like to float. Honestly I don't care for it because you do not receive proper orientation and you don't work consistently enough in that area to get comfortable in the first place. But in saying that you in the end have to choose what will make your nursing career a fulfilled one. I wish you luck in whatever you do, please keep in touch about your progress :-)
  6. by   fergus51
    One hospital I worked in tried new grads in the float pool and it was a DISASTER. Turnover was so bad they couldn't seem to keep any of them for more than a few months. I think a new grad needs to find a home in the first year or so she's out of school, then start moving around. Float nurses were expected to know their stuff and not take up the regular staff's time with a bunch of questions and that just wasn't possible for a new grad working on 5 different floors. The experienced nurses do well and they are mostly the type that would get bored coming into the same unit everyday, plus they have no trouble staying out of the unit politics and gossip.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Apr 24, '03
  7. by   giggles66
    Hi,

    I appreciated all of your responses to my question on working as a float nurse as a new student nurse graduate. What was I thinking? I probably would drive myself crazy trying to learn everything that I needed to working on all those different nursing units. From reading some of your posts it does not sound like float nursing would be a wise choice for me to make after graduating from nursing school; given all the skills that I would have to know working on so many different areas. I think that med-surgical nursing seems like a a more prudent choice for me to consider. I am still taking my prerequites, I have a few semester left. I WILL GET THERE! GOD WILLING! I have spoken with several nursing students and instructors as to wether or not a nursing student fresh out of school should work in medical surgical nursing before they chose a specialty area to go into. I have found that most nursing instructors say yes to med-surgical for their new graduates. On the other hand some nursing students with whome I have spoken with do not feel that med-surgical nursing is not necessary for a new graduate. What are the advantages/ disadvantages if any of not going into med-surgical nursing after graduationg from nursing school? I would like to hear from any new and experienced nurses on this issue.

    I am sorry that I am longwinded and that I ask a lot of questions I feel that the more I know now the better off I will be once I enter into nursing school. Thank you for your time

    Carmen
    Last edit by giggles66 on May 1, '03
  8. by   mednurse
    I became a float nurse right after I graduated nursing school two years ago. I worked full time for one year, and now part time this year. I had to call many hospitals before I found one that would take me as a float nurse after graduation.
    For me, it was and still is a great experience. I float to med/surg, tele, CCU and step down. CCU and step down came after a year of experience. I think just about everyone told me not to do this, but I really felt that it was for me and I was right! The only problem I had was some units tried to always give me their "problem" pts that no one else wanted to take.
    The float pool is really great too is you get to know so many people and units throught the hospital. The downside is that I have had the same pts two days in a row only three times. It's more work, but it's enjoyable.
    Hope this helps!
  9. by   New CCU RN
    Originally posted by giggles66
    Hi,

    I appreciated all of your responses to my question on working as a float nurse as a new student nurse graduate. What was I thinking? I probably would drive myself crazy trying to learn everything that I needed to working on all those different nursing units. From reading some of your posts it does not sound like float nursing would be a wise choice for me to make after graduating from nursing school; given all the skills that I would have to know working on so many different areas. I think that med-surgical nursing seems like a a more prudent choice for me to consider. I am still taking my prerequites, I have a few semester left. I WILL GET THERE! GOD WILLING! I have spoken with several nursing students and instructors as to wether or not a nursing student fresh out of school should work in medical surgical nursing before they chose a specialty area to go into. I have found that most nursing instructors say yes to med-surgical for their new graduates. On the other hand some nursing students with whome I have spoken with do not feel that med-surgical nursing is not necessary for a new graduate. What are the advantages/ disadvantages if any of not going into med-surgical nursing after graduationg from nursing school? I would like to hear from any new and experienced nurses on this issue.

    I am sorry that I am longwinded and that I ask a lot of questions I feel that the more I know now the better off I will be once I enter into nursing school. Thank you for your time

    Carmen
    As a recent grad (a year ago), I would say go into whatever interests you. If you don't wanna do M/S, then don't. You can learn skills, delegation, time management, and prioritization in any area...it doesn't have to be M/S.

    Try and first decide what type of hospital you would rather work in. From there, start looking at openings on different units at that hospital. Interview on a few units and try and get your feel. It sounds like you have a few semesters left, why not get a tech position at a local hospital so you can try out a unit you may later be interested in.

    Good luck.
  10. by   fergus51
    I never wanted to do med surg and hated it and wasn't going there as a new grad. I went pretty much straight into OB and have never regretted it for a second. I have precepted new staff and have not seen a big difference between those with med surg experience and those without. It is more about the individual nurse. Some units even prefer new grads because they haven't picked up any "bad habits" from a few years of med-surg.

    Now, that said, it's perhaps because OB and med surg are so very different. Although we still need to learn time management and assessment skills, our assessments are all different as are our patient assignments. Spending a year in m/s learning to put NG tubes and assess 8 patients for your shift may not help you in L&D where you have one patient with VERY different needs. If I wanted to work in another acute adult area like ICU or ER I may have gone into med surg for a year or 2.

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