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Float Pool for New Grad?

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a new grad Nurse, I am want to work in ICU but my process for float nurse and Medical surgical nurse is going on for 2 different hospitals. The one with med surg position is a bigger hospital with more benefits. My question is which of these two positions will lead me to ICU unit quickly and easily??

Dear Wants ICU,

Congratulations on graduating, and on having 2 job offers!

Float nursing can be risky and is controversial for a new grad. Keep in mind that most hospitals require nurses to have 1-2 yrs experience to qualify for the float pool. Look closely at the overall working conditions of the hospital making this offer. Is there high turnover? What is the length of the orientation, and how will you be supported?

Imagine being floated to a unit where you know no one. The nurses on the floor will expect you to hit the ground running as a float nurse. You will not be supported like you would be on your home unit, say MedSurg. You can easily get in over your head.

As a new grad nurse, you benefit by belonging to a nursing unit. You form lasting relationships with your co-workers and you need those relationships to succeed.

The hospital offering you the MedSurg position is a bigger hospital with more benefits. Larger hospitals typically have more resources, and you are wise to consider benefits. Benefits are an important piece of your overall compensation package.

Building a good foundation is what will best prepare you for ICU. As you make this very important choice, think about where you'll be best supported during your first year.

Best wishes in your decision.

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

whether it be new grad ICU, ED, or med-surg, I would stick with a home base and forego float pool. You need to develop a skillset SOMEWHERE.

JadedCPN specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

I have only seen ONE new grad residency specifically for float pool that lasted a full year, and that is the only one I would even consider giving a new grad the green light to go to. My friends who did that one said it was ridiculously hard even with the year residency because you’re lacking those basic nursing foundations.

I started float pool after being a nurse for 8 years, and even that was an adjustment. Sure you’ll hear occasional stories about people who started right out of school, but the overwhelming majority will tell you to get a solid foundation first on a floor before you make the switch to float...for your patients, but especially for yourself.


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