Floating to different units

  1. Does your hospital orient you to a new unit before floating you there?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Officially, yes. However, there have been times when a unit has been short, and the house supe will ask someone "Would you be willing to.....?" In that case the nurse asked can say No.
  4. by   Pepper The Cat
    NO.
    I was floated to Emerg a couple of times during the SARS crisis. No orientation - dispite the fact that the charting system is completely different than on the floors and dispite the fact that I am not nor ever want to be an ER nurse. I asked for orientation the day before I was sent. I was told No. Just work within your scope of practise and you'll be fine. If someone from my family came in to ER I would not want them having a nurse who didn't know the routine, the charting or even where exactly the med room was!
  5. by   rn2md2b
    At my hospital we are in the same boat as Pepper The Cat. All ICU nurses are required to float to ER when they are short. Two completely different practices. I once read a post where someone bashed ICU nurses who couldn't handle the ER. Its not that we can't handle it, its a completely foreign level of nursing. I am sure if I was to oriente there and learned the routine I too would enjoy the ER, however I love ICU and have all my training there. But to answer your question, NO. They do not give us an orientation nor do they give others (ER staff) who may float to the units.
  6. by   Jami RN
    At my current hospital, nurses choose a unit to be oriented to for float assignments and then, instead of being low censused during a slow time, the nurse is given orientation time on that unit. There is a list on the home unit that shows which nurse is oriented to which area.

    You can be floated to an area that you aren't oriented to, but if that happens, the nurse is considered a "helper" and doesn't get their own assignment. They just go to the unit and help the nurses there with tasks like starting IVs, hanging blood, dressing changes, and anything task-oriented that can be delegated.

    This system is quite fair for everyone involved and although no one likes to be floated, no one feels like their license is in danger when they have to do it.
  7. by   Tweety
    No.
  8. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    We're supposed to get a four hour orientation before we're expected to float, but that usually doesn't happen. The first time I went to NICU, I was shown where the med room and staff bathroom were and that was all. Their charting and the way they mix their drips are completely different and it took me the first hour to make sure the drips were running according to the order. The only other area I've gone to is the palliative care unit, but I was there as a resource for the staff who had accepted transfer of a "difficult" patient, so I didn't do any charting, have to find anything or give any meds. Although this girl would have preferred it if I had done all her care... sorry, I'm just here to smooth out the wrinkles in your transition. She ended up having a "resource" person form PICU at the bedside for the first FOUR days!! I was very afraid this was going to be a precedent, but my fears were unfounded. Later found out the family had been making large weekly donations to the unit's equipment fund. (Not that it ever bought us anything useful...)
  9. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from Tweety
    No.
    Ditto for me. I work MICU and have to float to any unit. Even worse, the other floors use team nursing and I don't know who my team is and what is expected of me when I get there. Will I be the charge, a team leader, or just do IV meds and hang blood........never know till I get there.
  10. by   HappyJaxRN
    Quote from reading frog
    Does your hospital orient you to a new unit before floating you there?
    Nope. And tonight would be a perfect example. I'm in Ortho tonight when my normal floor is liver/kidney/pancreas transplant. I feel pretty lost, but everyone around me is helping. I had forgotten how to do post op neuromuscular assessments. A lot of the pain meds on this floor are different from the ones we use. Got on the job training tonight. They won't load me up with complex patients tho. In fact, one of my patients is a liver transplant patient.
  11. by   HappyNurse2005
    I am (Currently) in a cardiac surgery PCU (post op cabg, valve, lung resections, etc) plus some medical cardiology thrown in (b/c a telemetry bed is a telemetry bed, whereever you can find it)

    we can only be floated to the other cardiology units. CCU, CSICU (cardiac surgery icu), and the two medical cardiology pcu's. Seeing as they are all cardiology, we don't get an official orientation, but they do show you around, show you where the stuff is, etc. But, you aren't expected to do whatyou can't. My pcu gets vent patients sometimes, the medical cardiology pcu's don't. so when i get pulled to csicu i can have a vent patient, but the nurse from medical cardiology can't. i don't do fresh hearts, crrt, or iabp as i dont know how to do that stuff.

    so, no, not officially, but most are really kind and helpful to you.


    i am moving to L & D next week, and i was told that we float out to the women's/peds pod (L&D, Mother/Baby, NICU, PICU, peds) but that if we do float, we never take an assignment, we just help out others as needed, b/c we could need to be brought back to L &D depending on the influx of patients at any time. I don't know about specific orientation to those units, thoug.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    When I used to float, we were not officially oriented, but did not take patient assignments either. WE did basically do the legwork for the primary nurses, like running labs, medicating and cleaning up patients and the like. How useful (or not) I was to them, I am unsure. But when we floated, it was with the understanding that if OB got busy, we were to report back and work there.
  13. by   neetnik461
    I work Neuro ICU and we can be floated to any of the other ICU's (medical, surgical and/or cardiac) and take a full assignment. No orientation at all, even though each ICU has their own unique flowsheet/charting. Supposedly they try to give the floats the lighter assignments, but I have heard horror stories from a few nurses I work with about floating to the surgical ICU. Fortunately, I have had just one floating experience to the MICU and it was a really light assignment!

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