I work the "float pool" but at my hospital it is called "the resource team". RN's are paid $2 extra an hour to work one cluster, $3 to work two clusters and $4 to work three or more clusters. Right now I am working med-surg and tele clusters and am going to train for critical care this month. The extra pay is added to our base and our OT is calculated with the extra incentive pay included. I am a hospital employee and get the same benefits as floor nurses, but as resource team, if staff is called off due to low census, I will be either moved to another floor mid-shift or I am the first to be asked if I want to go home early. I am not required to go home, though, they will just go down the line until they find someone who wants to leave. I have the same holiday and weekend rotation requirements as all the other nurses. We have a rotating holiday schedule and I work every 3rd weekend.
On the other hand, some of the floors use the resource team as their "relief squadron" and resource nurses get the patients with C-dif, overbearing family members, pain drug seekers, actively dying, and general PITA patients, etc. I usually get at least one chronic PITA patient on my team no matter where I go. Sometimes I get them so often that I know them better than the staff that has them on their floor for 3 weeks at time. I digress, but one time a nurse was frustrated with a patient's high blood sugar readings and stated that she isn't on that much solu-medrol, couldn't figure out what was going on. I asked who the patient was and when the name was given to me I laughed and told her that patient hides food. Sure enough, there was a plate of brownies under her night stand, a bag of candy in her covers and countless other high carb items throughout her belongings. I had cared for this patient so many times on so many units, I knew all of her tricks!
I ramped up my general nursing knowledge very quickly working the resource team and have found that alot of nurses seek me out for advice on patient conditions, starting IV's, reading their tele strips, etc. The other nurses and nursing assistants also ask me about other units and managers if they are looking for a job in another unit, I can usually give them a good idea of the conditions compared to where they work. I also know based on my experience that if I do choose a home floor, which ones I would be willing to choose and which ones I would not.
One negative for me, our hospital has 3 campuses and if you don't get a call telling you where you are needed, it is assumed you are at one particular campus. Yesterday the nursing supervisor didn't get her calls out to let me know which campus I was in and so I had to walk back out to the parking lot and drive to the other campus after I got to the time clock. Usually I don't mind but I am having an arthritic flare of the left knee and don't need any extra walking at this point! Oh, well, I clocked in first so they paid me for my extra walking and driving.