Personally I don't like floating period. And I've been floated the other way, to ICU! That's pretty scarey, with about 5 min. orientation, they tell you, you'll only get the kind of patient your used to or they'll cover you on the stuff you don't know. I have to admit they did, but it is still scarey. I know some people like floating but I believe they've just gotten used to it. I believe it negatively impacts continuity of patient care, undermines the efficiency and morale of the unit dependent on floats, wastes prescious nursing time (we've had to delay report 20-30 min. waiting to hear who's coming)and generally creates a choatic environment.
My big beef is last month our manager sat us down and informed us that we would have to take turns floating with the PRN nurses! In other words if we, the permanent staff on the floor, had a PRN nurse scheduled to work our floor with us, and they needed a nurse somewhere else in the house more desperately, the PRN would stay on our unit and we would float if it was our "turn". We (permanent staff)sign a log with the date and place we float to and take turns based on that. But always, always if there was a PRN nurse in the mix she was the one who had to go, until this announcement. Now the PRN nurse would be allowed to sign our log when she floated just as if she was permanent staff. ( Many of our PRN's were permanent staff before they chose to go PRN ) This is a reflection on how dependent we are on PRN staff!
Anyway we the permanent staff strenuously objected and for now the policy change is on hold. But I see this as a harbinger of things to come as the nursing shortage becomes increasingly dire. And sadly more nurses will be alienated enough to say goodbye to nursing. We've entered a vicious cycle. ( short staffing = overworked, discouraged, fed up nurse that quits nursing = shorter staffing = greater discouragement, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. This cycle will only be broken by some courageous advocacy for the bedside nurse, on the parts of managers, supers, and DON's telling it like it is, and administrations that listen. I won't be betting the farm on that.