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Float Pool Not A Right Fit

Nurses Article   (389 Views | 7 Replies | 988 Words)
by Apple_Gel Apple_Gel (New) New

1 Article; 324 Profile Views; 6 Posts

Should I be a float nurse?

If you read this all, bless you and your patience. I needed to post something for some self-reflection, thoughts? Just venting I suppose ... and to see if anyone had a similar experience, going through a rough patch and thoughts on resigning in the middle of orientation! 

Float Pool Not A Right Fit

Hired As A Float Pool Full-Time

I was hired for the Float Pool Full-time Days 12 hrs/3 shifts and I was super excited about getting this acute care experience under my belt. Previously, I worked in adult foster care for 2 years which had no hands-on experience so I came in as basically a New Grad, (my manager knew) and that I was told I'd be on orientation for 12 weeks and extended if needed. The ratio is 1:5 sometimes 1:6. I was offered another position elsewhere the same time but declined because the orientation was 2 weeks.

Maybe This Wasn't The Right Fit?

I am on week 8 (my 4th day of Tele/MS) and I've been at 3 patients, eagerly trying to get to 4 patients. In a meeting, I was told my progression being too slow, time management and prioritization need work, relying too much on preceptor and so educator+manager basically asked me what I thought. Bringing up if I thought maybe this wasn't the right fit for me multiple times. We went over an improvement plan to get me to 5 PT earlier this month too.

I had one shift with 4 PT, already a a rough curb r/t COVID meeting, students = late start and I missed rounds. The next shift I was back on 3 PT. I feel ready to get to 4PT, and would yes need support at first but I thought being completely independent I will definitely learn. How can I learn working with 4PT if I don't have 4PT? But they discussed with me how they feel I wasn't ready and am at an impasse and want me to independently care for 5PT in 2 weeks, have everything done by 1500 in case I would float to another unit and then asked me to meet again tomorrow for my thoughts/decision. 

Orientation Summary: A Rough Start

Week 1-2: Was a mix of keeping a single preceptor on MS unit A, so I spent it shadowing and learning the system/floor trying to have 1 pt. Preceptor #1 was cancelled so I had to be paired w/ someone different, another day I had to attend 2 class orientations, and then they were unavailable the 3rd week so I was transitioned to MS unit B after requesting for stability.

Week 3-6: I'm on MS unit B w/ Preceptor #2 and started again w/ 1PT and progressed to 3PT while learning this unit. Although in the middle my preceptor also got cancelled twice, floated (I wasn't allowed to go w/), at this point in total I've been under 6 different nurses.

Week 7: Preceptor #2 and I agreed to get me to 4 PT, which was the plan (my manager aware) as I was going to the next unit on Week 9... But the next shift, my manager transferred me to the Tele/MS ahead of time and now preceptor #3 still on 3 PT. The first day I was with someone else too so I've been with 8 nurses by Week 8.

TLDR:  Float pool, 3 units, 3 official preceptors, but d/t cancellations and other events, I've been with 8 different nurses. Manager and educator were made awareIt was a rough start of orientation. A cancellation meant I came in finding out and then having to find someone to orient me. I discussed this but I felt they thought it was an excuse to my progression.

It sounds like I'm complaining, and I signed up for float so this shouldn't be a surprise, but I feel that having some stability in orientation would definitely help increasing my PT load and responsibilities and learn quicker. I really really tried and took what I could from each nurse and implemented it in my learning how to do time management, prioritization, documentation, clinical skills which I haven't done, use a new brain sheet, get there early to look up my possible PTs. I asked questions and I thought I was communicating with my preceptors of what I planned to do and just went to do them but now I wonder if it may have come off as seeking validation or relying too much on them? I feel like I took too much since each nurse had a different flow and my preceptors didn't like I was doing something different so I didn't reach their standards.

I feel with the 12 weeks just being on one unit I can definitely get to caring for 5 PT, I'm at 3PT! I'm almost there!! But I'm also discouraged... I feel like the educator wants to let me go. The manager I feel has been a little more supportive saying they're willing to extend the orientation, but then the educator says I have 2 weeks left and then the manager agrees.

Float pool is not the right fit for me.

I would benefit from the stability of having one unit, one cohort to provide support and learn better (faster? properly?). I'm going to let them know that it'd be more beneficial to them and I if I transitioned to a single unit and if possible to extend orientation to a full 12 weeks (I thought it was that way in the first place?). But I am fully expecting a NO and would then just put my 2 weeks notice of resignation. I doubt I'd work the next 2 weeks, but at least verbally resign and later email officially rather than get fired or terminated down the road to a rocky start. 

I felt I could do it, I worked hard to finish task and my duties, I tried my best, took extra classes.. I feel so sad that I couldn't achieve what was expected of me.. ESPECIALLY at this time of crisis! I should be doing my part! But I'm trying not to get myself too down and pick myself and continue job searching. Thanks again if you've read this all! 

1 Article; 324 Profile Views; 6 Posts

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

14 Followers; 3,685 Posts; 38,171 Profile Views

Here's what I think is the big problem with precepting:  the whole idea of taking 1 patient, then 2, etc.  No one ever seems to get past the first few patients.  You're sinking or swimming with your patients, while your preceptor is busy with hers.  It's too much extra work for the preceptor, and not a lot of consistent coaching and support for the orientee.

My preference was to have my student/orientee take my whole load along with me.  The first day they would only shadow.  I could explain what I was doing and why I was doing it.  The orientee would gradually assume more of the work while I shadowed.  That way I was always right there to answer questions, troubleshoot and catch any time-management issues.  By the end of orientation, the orientee should feel fairly comfortable to handle a full load, because they've already been doing it.

It's a bit far into your orientation, but you might run it past your preceptor.  Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

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421 Posts; 2,017 Profile Views

Quite frankly I think it was irresponsible/crappy of the hospital hiring someone with no hands on experience for a float pool.  You were little more than a new grad when you started and you were on multiple units, some more acute, with multiple preceptors.  They didn't set you up to succeed.  They screwed up.  I would ask if you could move to one unit but I wouldn't have high hopes of that happening.  You might want to consider trying to get a job at another hospital because they don't seem to know how to appropriately hire staff.  Feel free to print this out to give to them when you leave. 

Edit: I'm sorry this happened to you but there are good hospitals with good preceptor programs out there, this hospital just isn't one of them.  Good luck!

Edited by Elaine M

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

1 Follower; 883 Posts; 8,267 Profile Views

I agree with Elaine. This is why float pool hires should have substantial experience. Similar to travel nurses, we are expected to hit the ground running with little orientation and the focus of orientation is often just to get acclimated to the units, not to the actual patient care.

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1 Article; 6 Posts; 324 Profile Views

Thank you for taking the time to respond and everyone who read. It went the way I thought it would and so I resigned. I took some time for much needed TLC and I am back on the search for my next place for employment. Instead of applying randomly, I'm making myself more aware of where and what exactly will be the process before signing myself up. I haven't given up acute care just yet, but I won't dismiss other options. Hoping I find it soon!

On 3/20/2020 at 2:03 AM, TriciaJ said:

Here's what I think is the big problem with precepting:  the whole idea of taking 1 patient, then 2, etc.  No one ever seems to get past the first few patients.  You're sinking or swimming with your patients, while your preceptor is busy with hers.  It's too much extra work for the preceptor, and not a lot of consistent coaching and support for the orientee.

My preference was to have my student/orientee take my whole load along with me.  The first day they would only shadow.  I could explain what I was doing and why I was doing it.  The orientee would gradually assume more of the work while I shadowed.  That way I was always right there to answer questions, troubleshoot and catch any time-management issues.  By the end of orientation, the orientee should feel fairly comfortable to handle a full load, because they've already been doing it.

It's a bit far into your orientation, but you might run it past your preceptor.  Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

I agree that it felt my preceptors had much more work and therefore it wasn't an easy transition for either of us. I will bring this up with my next preceptor and see how that goes. Thank you!

 

On 3/20/2020 at 3:26 AM, Elaine M said:

Quite frankly I think it was irresponsible/crappy of the hospital hiring someone with no hands on experience for a float pool.  You were little more than a new grad when you started and you were on multiple units, some more acute, with multiple preceptors.  They didn't set you up to succeed.  They screwed up.  I would ask if you could move to one unit but I wouldn't have high hopes of that happening.  You might want to consider trying to get a job at another hospital because they don't seem to know how to appropriately hire staff.  Feel free to print this out to give to them when you leave. 

Edit: I'm sorry this happened to you but there are good hospitals with good preceptor programs out there, this hospital just isn't one of them.  Good luck!

Thank you very much.  I will not let this bring me down in my search. Of course, I will still take in consideration the criticism I received so that I can do better.

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52 Posts; 368 Profile Views

Gurlllll, I could never work float pool as a new grad. That is giving me second hand anxiety.

Maybe switch to regular med surg with a solid preceptor who is also used to new grads. 

Wishing you the best of luck!

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thenursementor is a BSN, RN and specializes in Mentorship, Leadership, Pediatrics, Critical Care.

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We've discussed many times whether or not to build a new grad float pool program at my hospital, and I consistently object. It's a great idea in theory - it allows you to see and experience different units/ patients populations/ teams and allows the hospital to flex staffing where needed, but I don't think it logically works!

Unfortunately we don't have the resources to provide new graduate nurses with the orientation process to be successful (at my hospital). I know that some institutions probably have robust programs, but the ones that I have seen in my time never worked the way they should. I've seen many float new grads feel like they weren't capable or that THEY failed, when in reality (as is typical) it's a system/ process issue. Once they get to a new unit and are taught more systematically and with more stability, they flourish.

OP, don't get down on yourself! It is everyone's responsibility to help their new graduates succeed - managers, educators and yourself. It sounds like you did the best you could with what you had. Chalk it up to a learning experience and go find the unit that best fits you! Continue to always self-reflect throughout this learning process, and you'll do amazing at the next place 🙂 

Wishing you all the luck!

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40 Posts; 830 Profile Views

I worked float pool as a seasoned nurse and really struggled.  I have attention deficit disorder and really struggled with the inconsistency of float.

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