Floating from postpartum


If you work on postpartum (mother/baby), do you get floated? If so, where? I feel like you shouldn't be floated to L&D because that's an entirely different environment where so many complications can occur and you NEED to know what you're doing... you need the L&D training. And NICU... babies are hooked up to everything like tube feedings, ventilators, etc. You need to know how to handle those as well. And antepartum, the baby is still inside. You have to know how to assess the fetus. On postpartum, you're assessing the baby that is already outside of the womb... you're trained in that area already. I feel that all of the women's service floors are different and being floated to different ones without having an orientation/training is not right.

So my general question is... when floating from postpartum, where do you float? Other women's service areas or regular med/surg floors?


68 Posts

Specializes in NICU, previously Mother baby.

When I worked in Mother baby we floated to L&D to be baby nurse and/or take care of moms in recovery (pretty much the same job as you would do on a mother baby floor just a little sooner after delivery). We also floated to the gyn floor (taking bladder repairs, hysters) in which we had 3-6 days of training in when we were hired. Lastly, we floated to the NICU (how I found my love for the unit) if we chose to. A lot of the nurses refused to float there, or if they did they would only rove and not take a group of patients. They showed me how to work the monitors and feeding pumps, so I just took feeder/growers (no IVs, no respiratory support). There were only 2-3 of us that would float to the NICU. Floating to L&D and gyn was not optional.

We are a women's hospital so we don't have a true med/surge floor. We do not float to the ICU, ER, PACU, OR, or antepartum.

I wouldn't do anything that I felt put my license at risk, but I felt trained and capable of taking care of mothers/babies in recovery, gyn patients, and the feeder growers in NICU. If I ever had a question there were plenty of people to ask.

BSNbeauty, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,939 Posts

Last week, I floated from Mother baby to the NICU, without any training and it was a nightmare!!!!! I felt that I did not provide good, quality care and the nurse NICU nurses were too busy to offer any assistance. I was furious, to say the least. I discussed my concerns with my NM and demanded 2 full shifts in the NICU before being floated there again. She was very understanding and granted me my 2 days of NICU orientation. In the NICU we are not able to care for any babies on continous fluids, vents and etc. We basically take growers and feeders and my have to gavage feed.

We are also supposed to float to L/D and take stable antepartum and postpartum patients. L/D scares me as well because we have to do continous FHM. I dread the day, I'll have to float to L/D.


171 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

Thank you everyone for your input. It's all very interesting to hear how it goes in your hospital. I wonder what it will be like at mine!


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

I would imagine it varies from hospital to hospital, but I know where I've been doing clinicals, nurses sometimes will float between GI surgery, mother baby, med/surg... Yeah.


194 Posts

Floating to L&D I think is an important thing to do for pp.nurses, to remember and see the whole process. You won't be a labor or delivery nurse, you might help assist in a delivery but not be responsible for anything you aren't trained on. When I float to L&D I assess babies, give baby delivery meds, give baths, check bellies, help with feedings, give bed baths, all stuff I am well versed on.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

Our maternal-child units don't float to L/D. We float between NBN and NICU. When we get floats from NBN to NICU we only give them feeders and kids that have hep locks for antibiotics. And we always have a resource person for them. When we float to NBN they expect us to admit, discharge and they never come to check on us...it is like we are exhaled to the nursery!


175 Posts

We do not float. We are an extremely busy unit so floating has never been necessary. Our unit does take stable antepaetums though and that's never been an issue.


8 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

We have to float to either med-surg or ICU and are on immediate call back. I don't like floating as I feel like a fish out of water, I don't know where anything is and I'm expected to perform like a med-surg nurse. It also isn't fair to the other unit, they are usually counting on you and when you get called back they are stuck. To me it's a no win situation. I'd rather use PTO than float.


171 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

Ah I see. Well, I found out that we don't float at all. Whew.