Floating? - page 2

by Morganalefey

I've been a nurse for a year. I've been at my new job 4mos, and out of orientation for about 6 weeks or so. I went into work the other day, and they wanted me to float to another floor. I (politely) refused, stating that I... Read More


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    We've been threatened with a report to the BON for abandonment if we refuse to float. It didn't seem like abandonment to me, as I had not taken report on anyone (or even clocked in yet), but the house supervisor said that since there were patients somewhere needing a nurse and I was refusing to care for them that it was abandonment. I called the BON and they said that it actually could be, that they let the facility determine that. Talk about throwing the nurse under the bus!
    barbyann and Cold Stethoscope like this.
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    How often do you float to others areas in the hospital?
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    I work in a psych unit. We never ever ever float to another floor. If they are overstaffed, then people volunteer to take a vacation day. If we are somewhat understaffed we deal with it. If we are severely understaffed then one of the RN's from the previous shift gets manadated. Everyone seems to like this system on my unit. I would not feet comfortable at all working as a RN on a medical floor where I have no experience.
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    where i work, i was told it would be 6 months at least before i would float. and that was correct. i got floated for the first time no earlier than 6 months after i started orientation. someone else on a different unit however got floated after only 4 months, which was wrong....its even stated in our employee handbook that we cant get floated before 4 months. i know that my manager and charge nurse will NOT let anyone from our unit get floated early, though. it was the right thing to do to refuse, though. i mean, it wouldn't have been fair or SAFE to let you float anywhere when you havent been there long enough to feel comfortable.
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    Quote from beeker
    I got floated last night to a critical care unit. I have been out of orientation for 4 months. I was told I could only be floated to other med surg places. I was horrified. I told the charge nurse on the unit that I had only been out of orientation for 4 months and had no critical care experience and she agreed I could not be there and sent me back to my unit. I was then sent back by the supervisor who demanded I go back or the staffing numbers would be bad. I asked them to call my nurse manager at home (by then it was almost 9pm) but she did not answer. I refused to take any patient on a drip, any patient whom I could not properly care for, or with any equipment I could not properly handle.I ended up working as a helper. I did a lot of the paperwork, chart checks, gave out pain meds, did some tech stuff, and helped out where I could. The nurses all had so many patients they were grateful for the help. I am pretty angry with my charge nurse and the supervisor. I am not willing to kill people to make their staff numbers look better. I left a voicemail and sent an email to my unit manager, who in turn left me an apology voicemail with a promise to never let it happen again. I told the supervisor to take some patients if he wanted to fix the numbers.
    A couple of years ago when I was working at an L&D unit at a military hospital I was asked to float to the ICU. I told the charge nurse pretty much the same thing and offered to help out in any way I could that did not involve taking a patient assignment. I had only worked L&D in my career at the point. The charge nurse was miffed and asked me if I was a nurse. I told her I most certainly was a nurse, an L&D nurse not ICU. She didn't want that kind of help and asked the bed manager to float someone from a different unit.
    beeker likes this.
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    This is very timely as I am negotiating for a per diem PACU job, and the job description includes verbiage about floating. I am a new grad with plenty of PACU time but little experience outside the PACU: just nursing school clinicals and a VERY brief stint in progressive care afterward. It had just crossed my mind that I need to ask the hospital what their time-frame is for new hires/new grads to float, so this has been a helpful thread to help me frame my discussion with them. In theory, I don't mind floating if I have some support, but if I went to the ICU or ED, I wouldn't even know where to start!

    I find the whole concept interesting, because nursing looks completely different from one floor to the next. L&D nurses don't do what med-surg nurses do. Rehab nurses don't do what oncology nurses do. Heck, even time in the ICU (often quoted as the ideal place to grow wanna-be-PACU-nurses) doesn't teach you how to move a patient through the PACU, and PACU (considered by some to be critical care or at least acute) has little to do with the flow of the ED or the ICU. If floating is going to be a regular part of the job, shouldn't hospitals invest in cross-training?

    My hospital has a float pool, but it feeds the med-surg and geropsych units. Is it time to develop specialty float pools for critical care (ICU/PACU/ED/cath lab) or periop (pre/post/OR) or something? Hmmm...
    Boog'sCRRN246 likes this.
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    I think you did the right thing.. though it truly sucks that what you were told and the written policy were so far apart.. and the written policy is what will take precedence. :-\
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    I'm still a student, but I managed to find a job as a nursing attendant a few months ago. Oddly they only hire students as floats - something I think is dangerous. Granted its not the same level of care I'd provide as an rn, it's still throwing green experience in a new area every day. I think the worst part is I am not to have access to any patient information aside from what's on the census. A huge part of my job is sitting constant with a patient all shift but not being allowed to access information that can impact their care makes me queezy - I've been turning down shifts because of this coupled with th fact that I'm always on a different unit. If places are going to insist on floating, there should only be a small number of units each person is able to go to...say 3 or 4 max, and all should be similar types of patients. All I can think is "UNSAFE" when it comes to floating all over in areas you're not familiar with.
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    Where I work, it is common practice for everyone to experience floating quite often. I was even told when I was given my assignment that I couldn't be promised I would always be there, that and time I could come in and have to float.
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    wont happen,integrity cost money and decreases the administrators bonus's
    beeker likes this.


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