If you have a closed unit (ie, do not have to float out...)

  1. How do you manage it?

    Currently, the nurses in our CCU float out to 3 other departments. One of those departments used to float in to help us out, but the nurses who always got stuck floating to us decided that they didn't want to anymore, so now they just don't have to!

    It's very frustrating for us to not get days off because we have to float to cover other units. It's especially frustrating because <i>no one ever has to float to help us out!</i> When we're short staffed, we hop on the phone and start calling people in, getting people to stay over, etc. It always ends up working out in the end. We know we have to work a little harder sometimes and help ourselves since no else will. We accept it as part of our job and there are lots of people who are willing to pick up the slack.

    I feel like the other units rely on us way too much. If they know we'll have extra nurses, they don't try to call their own staff in. I'm tired of having to bail them out. We all are.

    Some of us want to try to make our unit a closed unit. Since no one floats in to help us out, we don't want to have to float out either. Has anyone's unit gone from a floating to non-floating unit? How did you convince management to allow it?

    Even if your unit has always been closed, what do you do with extra staff? Do they get the day off? Do nurses just accept that they may be forced to take time off during low census? Do some float anyway just to get hours?

    Tell me how it works.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    The only ones who don't have to float at my place are ER staff and OB, because those two units must stay at par staffing levels since we never know what we're getting. On the other units the extra staff is offered the option of going home or coming to the ER to help, it's up to them. Most will stay and float out.

    I see your point and you're right, it's not fair. This is something that should be taken up with your manager.
  4. by   htrn
    I work OB and we do float out if we are not busy. We go to med/surg, ICU, sometimes Ambulatory Care and ER. We have nurses from other units that will float in to help us, primarily in the nursery, if they are 'cross-trained', but they don't do any labors, pretermers, etc... and will do post-partum with an OB nurse for back up.

    When we float out, we cannot go into any 'dirty' rooms as we are always subject to recall if something walks in the door. We rarely float on the night shift as we are always staffed bare bones anyway, but if we are slow our aide may have to go help out somewhere. The only time we ever really have to float on nocs is if we are empty and someone else is extremely busy.

    Good luck. I know other units appreciate our help when we float out and we are grateful for theirs when they float in, but we do also recognize that it is beyond alot of peoples comfort zones, so we do our best to be nice to our floaters.
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]i currently work in a closed unit. we do our own staffing gyrations. first, there's the call. everyone takes two call shifts a month; no on call pay. if you get called in, you get time and a half for anything above 40 hours/week averaged out over the six weeks of the schedule. if you work 3 12s/week, you don't get overtime pay unless you get called in more than twice in that time period. (sucks.) if we're overstaffed, they call you at 6am and offer you the option of staying home. only you can't use vacation or holiday time, you must make up the shift sometime in the same scheduling period by adding yourself on to a day that's short. again, it sucks. floating sucks, too, but i'm not sure which is worse.

    (does't this post go well with my signature line?)
  6. by   neneRN
    I work in a closed unit (ER)- we have set scheduling; if a nurse needs to adjust her schedule, she has to find someone to switch with. For the most part this works out well; there are a lot of us, and try to help each other out. For requested time off, the supervisors find coverage (usually use weekenders to avoid giving overtime). We don't send home for low census-never know from one minute to the next how census will change.

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