Floating?

  1. 1
    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 was uncomfortable w/that and that I was still trying to find my way on my unit. My boss sent someone else, but was *obviously* angry w/me. And to be honest, I don't really care! When I interviewed I was told it would be a year before I would float. The girls on the floor told me they usually do it 6mos AFTER your orientation was done. I am so disillusioned by this job, which is quite sad since it's only been 4mos!

    Is this common practice where you all work? Maybe I over-reacted?
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 24, '12 : Reason: spacing
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 33 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I am a new nurse as well and I was told it would also be a year before I would be expected to float. I think you did the right thing in COA and your license. You need to solidify your nursing practice before they send you all over the place!
    kakamegamama likes this.
  5. 1
    Depends on your hospital's policy. Per my hospital you must be in float rotation after 90 days (post-orientation). If you refuse you get written up. Its not that bad once you get over the first time. Sometimes I have a way better assignment on the other floor anyway.
    wooh likes this.
  6. 5
    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.
  7. 0
    I was able to float once I was off a 6 wk orientation. I've never had a great deal of trouble, but you definitely feel out of your element when out of your home dept. Mostly I go from my ortho floor to med-surg, which really isn't that different in the general scheme of things, and it does give me a good opportunity to care for other types of pts that we don't have in ortho. I've also floated once each to skilled care & the general medical floor which were good experiences for me. Most of the RNs I work with would rather walk over a bed of coals than work the med floor though. They often have 7+ heavy care pts each, do their own admissions, & make their own doctor calls; charge RN does admissions & calls on my floor.

    When you do start floating, I suggest letting the charge RN know if you are uncomfortable with the pt assignment you are given & that you are still new, first time on that floor, etc. They really should not be giving you too many high acuity cases, at least compared to what the other RNs are given, but there are no rules against it either I guess. Ask questions & ask for help.
  8. 3
    I'm finding that alot of places are breaking certain cardianal rules like icu nurses taking care of more than 2 patients, floating med-surg nurses to critical areas and etc??? What's with the breakdown of policy, seems like there's no more morality in nursing and it''s all about getting warm bodies to just do they job!

    If their policy is to have you float after a year then that is the bottom line point blank. These places need to put the integrity back into their ways of doing things. You did the right thing. At the end of the day you have to defend yourself because they won't defend you!
  9. 0
    Floating for the first time can be scary, but don't let it psych you out. When I was a relatively
    new nurse, I was floated to the renal pt. floor and no one had told me anything about procedures
    there beforehand. I walked through the doors, and was on my way to the nurses' station, when I
    was stopped by an attending. He had a death grip on my arm and asked "Just where the <Bleep>
    I thought I was!" When I came through the doors, there was no sign asking that everyone who entered
    own up and no gown stash was visible.

    When I finally tracked down the charge nurse, she was very kind. Apparently, the sign had fallen
    down and the empty gown rack had been moved, so the floor could be mopped. I got properly gowned
    and observed all precautions necessary the rest of my shift. To think all I had wanted to do initially was
    check in, introduce myself, and ask where the gowns and masks were! I had been told there would be
    supplies outside pt. rooms. Oh well... It turned out to be a good shift!

    After I had worked at a state psych hospital for about 18 months, I was pulled to the maximum security
    level forensic building and, to say the very least, was apprehensive. But you know what? Very easy and
    uncomplicated shift! Staff was friendly and helpful.

    I think once you've been floated just a few times, you'll be much less nervous about it. I soon discovered
    that in a non-psych hospital, things are laid out about the same floor-to-floor. Not necessarily where
    supplies are kept, but how the rooms, utility rooms, etc. are laid out.

    Good luck! You'll do great!
  10. 4
    Thank you, everyone, for your responses.
    I guess policy states that they can float you after you have been off orientation for 2 weeks That doesn't seem very reasonable to me, AT ALL.
    It was during the interview w/the NM that I was told 1 year (she is gone now), and the girls on the floor told me it was 6mos.

    If it matter, I work on a cardiac/neuro IMCU and was to be floated to a med-surge floor. So I guess technically I would be going to a lower acuity and a higher pt load.

    I do feel like I did the right thing (even if I get written up over it), but next time, I guess I will strap on my big girl panties and go.
    kakamegamama, hgrimmett, ellienix05, and 1 other like this.
  11. 1
    Within the 4 months I've been at my current facility, I've floated to the surgical floor, med/surg, oncology, respiratory, psych, 2 ICUs, and the ER. I was uneasy at first but found the staff understanding that I was in a new environment. I don't think I was supposed to either, but I was glad I got my hours. I kind of enjoy floating. I get to experience new kinds of patients and meet more staff. :-) just never be afraid to ask questions and don't accept more than you can handle.
    buffieriley likes this.
  12. 1
    At my facility, you don't float until you're off orientation for six months. I wish all that was given for refusing to float was a write up - where I work, it's a 3-day suspension without pay.
    biblepoet likes this.


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