Floating sucks. It is one of the many reasons that I left my former place of employment and moved to another city. In my old job, we PICU nurses are viewed as the ultimate float nurses, since we have the "broadest scope of practice" of all nurses. It means that we could care for anyone from birth to 100+, with any type of problem. We float nurses to NICU, ER (both adult and peds), recovery, med/surg, S/MICU, oncology, gyne, antepartum... you name it and one of us has probably been there.
Our unit had unwritten rules about floating:
1)The CRN does not float (whether there in the official CRN role OR on overtime).
2)New staff do not float until they have been finished orientation for 90 days.
3)Float pool or casual staff who pick up shifts in the unit float first, but must be included in the "float list" so that if they have picked up two shifts in a row, they only float once.
4)Regular staff take turns floating; any secondment lasting at least four hours is counted as a float.
5)Regardless of the "rules" the decision as to who will float is ultimately left to the CRN, based on activity in the unit, staff available and other criteria (such as how much (s)he likes a person).
Weekends are a particular problem staffing-wise in many facilities. The admin assistant for the unit typically spends most of Friday on the phone beefing up staffing for the weekend, and often NOT for the unit, but so that we would have floats available. I routinely floated on my weekend days in my rotation, usually for the whole 12 hours. My first act on arriving for work would be to ask the CRN where I was going for the day. Other units in the facility, such as NICU, S/MICU and the ERs do not allow their staff to float, with NICU being the exception... if the nurse is being sent to PICU or IMCN. A number of times when I floated, I was given a patient assignment, only to be pulled back to the unit later due to "unforeseen" events.
The very nature of an intensive care unit is the potential for disaster. I find it unbelievable that an intensive care unit should be the first place floats are pulled from (and the last
to receive them!); why is it a crime to have an unassigned nurse?
While I miss my former coworkers terribly
I am anxious to get started in my new job. My new unit manager has told me several times that PICU nurses here do not float. Several of my soon-to-be-coworkers have told me much the same. I'm sure looking forward to that!:roll