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Float pool for new grad?


Can anyone tell me if they would suggest float pool for a new grad? I do have 10 years office experience with family practice so I am not sure if I would be totally lost.

You'd be totally lost, and the most important thing is you wouldn't know who your true resources are when you're lost.

You start on one unit, you'll quickly learn who is open to answering questions, and even more indispensable, who will give you the right answer.

You're on a different unit everyday, you're going to be expected to take a full load and run with it. And now that I've got experience, the little questions that are pertinent to only that unit (like how do I figure out which doc to call for whatever problem) are ones that I can pretty quickly figure out if they're leading me astray.

You're a new grad? You'll have questions about EVERYTHING and you won't have the experience (because hospital is a whole different world than an office) to know if they're leading you into a happily recovering set of patients or into a giant pile of lawsuits.

ChristineN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

I agree. I work float pool, and while I love my job, I needed at least 1-2 years on a floor before I felt comfortable. I didn't join the float pool until I had been a nurse for 2 years, and even then the manager was worried about my lack of experience. I feel very comfortable floating now, but my hospital is careful to only send me to floors with in my scope. Some hospitals will float you to med-surg, ER, ICU, etc, which I would totally not be comfortable with.

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

Don't do it. The first year or 2 of nursing is hard enough on a stable floor with reliable resources. I had to occasionally float from my med-surg floor in my first year - it was truly a nightmare every time.

Not to mention the fact that some floors routinely assign the most difficult, complex patients to the float pool nurse. There's sort of a feeling that floats should work harder because they traditionally get paid a little more.

Edited by roser13

bill4745, RN

Specializes in ICU, ER. Has 15 years experience.

At least a solid year before floating.

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

Don't do it. You need the stability of one location in order to get yourself organized and to know exactly what you need to do. Plus, there are advantages to being in one place and forming relationships that can offer support. In a lot of facilities, float nurses do not get the same in depth orientation. Most facilities what their float nurses to be ready to go in a short period of time and want people in the float pool who have experience so they can just do it.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

A reputable place will probably not hire you for float pool without experience.

I have worked float pool and there are things that make me not recommend it for inexperienced nurses.

First you have no "home". I had no locker, no mailbox, no daily co-workers, managers kept handing around the float department since they didn't want more employees to manage in addition to their own unit. I think new nurses need the routine and familiarity of one unit.

Float nurses are given an orientation of "the clean utility room is here, the breakroom is over there and these are your patients".


Has 36 years experience.

Been here, done this. My first job as a new grad had only float pool openings. I love it. Still float 28 years later.

With today's job market I don't know how anybody can tell you not to take a job in a float pool if it is offered and is all that is available?

Many nurses do hate to float. I do understand where their concerns are coming from.

Asking a nurse if you should try the float pool is like asking a kindergarten class if you should eat brussels sprouts!

Well, depends on what you NEED to do. If you can't pay your bills, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you have had no other offers and it's been many months since licensure, all the rules change. I myself am at that crossroad. I am in the final stages of taking a job no one here would rec me take as well, except the few NGs who have taken similar positions and had things turn out well -- it's not a float position.

But the situation around me is seriously bad for employment. Seems the grass is not greener as a Pt or Ft employee with orientation on a hospital unit. Nobody is getting a full orientation, what I hear is a total of a month, and 2 wks of this is off floor. Then you are told you are on your own. You can ask for help, but the willing nurses are overburdened with high ratios. Sink or swim. This holds true for critical and trauma positions as well. I live near a large metro area, and this is the trend at all the hospitals now it seems. Only a few in my class are in hospital, and those I know from other colleges report the same. Those in hospital have admin-related pull, and that is why they are employed.

I have a friend who is a medsurg float as a new grad. She is only PT. She loves it, seems she has lots of support and is happy. But, all that can work because the nurses are "good people" where she works. She also had a high level "in". Unfortunately this facility is one who just plain does not interview NGs as policy.


Specializes in Med/Surg and ANCC RN-BC. Has 4 years experience.

As a new grad i'm in the float pool. We only travel to med/surg floors no ICU or cardiac. I like. you get to see different things and meet a sorts of people.

Started out on a med-surg unit. even then i got pulled to staff other areas of the hospital. So yes, it's good to get the basics down. I for one enjoyed it, i always learned something from the different areas I worked on. It gave me the oppurtunity to figure out what i wanted to (finally focus on) specialize in-rehab.Good luck.


Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

Personally, I think you'll be totally lost. New grads with home bases already look lost as it is. You won't know who your resources are as a float nurse. Good luck.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU.

I agree, yes you would be lost. No hospital should hire new grads for that position. Don't do it even if they let you, you could be headed for disaster.