Safety concern

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    A few weeks ago I started working in a NICU that just opened up last month. The hospital I work at has a mandatory float policy (if you are told to float you must float, or face disciplinary action up to and including termination). I was floated recently to an ortho med/surg unit. I have worked med/surg at a previous hospital, but I hardly ever dealt with ortho patients. I am concerned if a new grad was pulled and had no med/surg experience they would be in way over their head. My biggest concern though was that I had isolation patients. This made me very concerned about pathogens being brought back into the NICU. It is not that big of a stretch to think that those kind of pathogens could end up on a nurses badge, shoes, ect. Then that same nurse go to work in the NICU the next day carrying those same pathogens in. Just think what would happen if a nurse was pulled to adult ICU with a patient with acinetobacter and it got carried back to the NICU. I really would like to bring this forward to my manager (I am thinking maybe this thought has not crossed her mind since the NICU just opened), however, I am hoping to bring some research or literature to back up my concern. If anyone knows of where I could find any research/literature it would be very helpful. I would also be interested to know what the policies are at other hospitals in regards to floating NICU staff. The previous hospital I worked at the NNP's about through a fit over infection control when they were considering using are staff for float to med/surg. The NNP's won, but I do not what they brought forward when they went to management. I do not think that the NNP's or neo's in my NICU are aware that this is happening, I am sure they too would have objections considering they tell our parents to stay away from other floors/areas.
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  4. 2
    We don't float outside of maternal child, but we get sent to peds and get isolation kids. We are not allowed back in the unit until we have showered and changed, so usually our next working day.

    Do you have a nurse senate or are you magnet? These are things that were brought up by our senate and strict guidelines were set into place about floating between services. We used to have to float to all the ICU's...all involved were not happy. We still have guidelines set up for each area as to what we can and cannot take. We do not take any kids over the age of one, unless we are comfortable with it. You do not get admissions or discharges. We always have a resource person assigned. If there is not an appropriate assignment then there is no float.

    You need to find an avenue to take this to and address it. The old thought of a nurse is a nurse is so not true.
    nrsang97 and poppycat like this.
  5. 0
    I sure hope you get some good feedback on this one - we float wherever we are needed however we only act as caregivers/NACs, not RNs anymore - thank goodness! Our contract states that we only have to float within our "cluster" (NICU/Peds/MB) except for emergencies ("emergencies" are never explained!)

    Actually the brand new nurse probably has more recent experience on a Med/Surg floor than most of our nurses. At our hospital, the tide is actually swinging away from specialty and going back to "a nurse is a nurse" - especially in these days of budget woes. Sad but true.
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    In my previous NICU job, I was floated to peds a couple of times for the first eight hours and then sent back to the NICU for the last four. It only happened two times and I don't think I had isolation patients but there are still far more pathogens on the general peds floor than in the NICU. I scrubbed back in (arms and hands) when I went back but still had the same scrubs on. I was newer then and didn't speak up even though it concerned me. Makes me mad that I didn't - I definitely would now.
  7. 0
    I do not work NICU (thank God for those that do). I work adult ICU/rapid response. When I was in the ICU at another hospital we floated between ICU units. We were never sent to post partum, NICU, L&D, med surg, tele, etc. We only floated between our ICU cluster and the neuro step down ICU. That was it.

    At my current hospital the staff only floats to like units as well. ICU to CCU and med surg tele, med surg tele to ICU and CCU step down, med surg to med surg and physical rehab, physical rehab to med surg only.
  8. 1
    Whoa, I would refuse (aka not work there). I have never taken care of an adult as a RN in a single day of my 5.5 years of nursing. It would be completely unsafe. Why would a NICU nurse be expected to have adult nursing skills?

    Also, yes, you're right, I would be very concerned about bringing bugs back to the NICU.
    Bortaz, RN likes this.
  9. 0
    I wouldn't be opposed to floating, but only because I just transferred from an adult floor and I have a different set of work shoes that have never set foot (haha) in NICU. But many of my coworkers started in NICU as new grads, some of them have been here for 10-20 years. I couldn't imagine any of them being required to float.
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    Quote from babyRN.
    Whoa, I would refuse (aka not work there). I have never taken care of an adult as a RN in a single day of my 5.5 years of nursing. It would be completely unsafe. Why would a NICU nurse be expected to have adult nursing skills?

    Also, yes, you're right, I would be very concerned about bringing bugs back to the NICU.
    I would not have done it.
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    I agree with the above posters, I would feel so uncomfortable and unsafe working with adults. My units policy is that we can float to peds floors (including PICU) if we have extra nurses but we can only care for patients under 12 months old.
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    In NICU, we have to float to either Peds, PICU or Mother/Baby. If you had a background of another unit, like ICU, you could always choose to float there as well. We only choose 1 place though an get trained. Anyways, I know if you float to either Peds or PICU and come back to NICU that shift, you are required to shower completely and change scrubs before taking your assignment. Everyone scrubs arms/hands as well. It does scare me thinking the things we can bring back to our babies, especially if coming from Peds where a huge population have RSV in the winter season.


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