Specialties NICU


When NICU nurses are floated, what units are they floated to? In my hospital, we don't have a pediatric floor or unit. ICU nurses only float to ICU's and floor nurses only float to floors. I'm curious where the NICU nurses are floated to in hospitals like mine.

We go to the Newborn Nursery. There have been rumors of cross training to L&D, but they don't want to come to our unit!


202 Posts

Our float areas include staying within our "sister" units of the Maternal-Child Department. (Our hospital is a 650 bed hospital with a 26 bed Level III NICU.)

Most of us float to the Transition Nursery which is mainly staffed by the Mother-Baby nursing staff. Sometimes we'd find ourselves in the Well Baby Nursery of the Mother-Baby Unit. These are our two main places to float to.

Those with experience in post-partum can go to the Mother-Baby Unit and care for moms and their babies.

We are encouraged to try to cross train in L&D since we often find ourselves there anyway attending high risk deliveries. We began by doing vital signs, gofer work, and would progress to watching over stable undelivered patients while a L&D nurse practically held our hand. It is also a good way to get to know the L&D nurses on a more personal level which is helpful for increasing teamwork between the units.

Our GYN floor, which takes care of mostly women with hysterectomies, D&Cs, ectopic pregnancies, breast surgeries, and other female-related complaints was another place we can go if we have some experience there... this is extremely rare for us though.

Although many NICU nurses are uncomfortable with caring for adults, I've noticed that we do much better generally with adults than the adult nurses do with working with our babies. Hardly anyone wants to come to the NICU. Usually its the nurses from the Mother-Baby Unit who already really enjoy and feel pretty comfortable with healthy babies. We give them some easy growers and feeders when they come to help us out. The monitors often make them uncomfortable since they don't have babies on monitors in the Mother-Baby Unit nursery...

Although floating can be unnerving and something we don't really want to do, it's still a good idea to do it once in a while. It shows you are flexible and willing to help out your manager and other departments when there is a need. It also gives you a chance to meet other nurses and to learn more about other units. It can be helpful in the future since we never know what the future holds. It's always nice to have a first-hand look at other nursing areas in case a NICU job isn't available to you sometime in the future. Just being able to say you floated to another department can be a plus. Managers appreciate flexible nurses with positive attitudes and often remember this at yearly evaluation time. Just be careful not to be the first one they call when they need to find someone to float away from the NICU. That can happen easily and you can get abused that way. After all, we work in the NICU because we love it there and if our unit is required to float, then everyone should take their turn fairly.

Sorry this got so long. Hope I answered your question.


272 Posts

Good post Anaclaire.

We only float to the well-baby nursery and are mostly assigned to the admit nursery.

WBN nurses float to Maternity and most are cross-trained to NICU. We, too, give them the easiest babies even if it means getting bumped off of our primary just as they're getting ready to go home... (sigh...)

Too bad that we aren't given such consideration when we float. I have great difficulty keeping track of 8-12 babies and all of their labwork, chem-strips, etc. Also am very uncomfortable with calling the pediatricians whom I don't know from Adam - spoiled I guess by having Neos that are like family available 24/7. :D

L&D doesn't float ANYWHERE, anytime, anyhow, and specializes in bringing babies to admit in bunches. :rolleyes:


137 Posts

Unfortunately, we (NICU nurses) at my hospital float to the Pediatric ICU, Pedicatric IMC or General Peds floor. check out my thread " NICU to the PICU :("

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU.

L/D is a closed unit in our hospital. We go to Normal nursery, detained nursery, peds floors and PICU. We don't do moms on the floor and we take young kids or babies.

We keep a float book....it goes by dates, so it is very fair. Usually the person with the higher senority gets to pick where they want to go first. We have some people that love peds, some love the PICU (personally, that is where I prefer to go), so don't care.

We don't float on holidays, we don't float over 8 hours. We only float once a day and only to one unit. If they need you in the PICU for 4 hours and then someone in the nursery for the next 4, then the next person on the list goes and you come back to the unit.


71 Posts

Thank Goodness, we are a closed unit...it's been that way for about 10 years. If we are slow, we can go and work somewhere else, but it is our option!

Before we would go anywhere, and since the NICU was a ICU we would go to adult ICU's...even transplant....now how unsafe is that!!! (that's were I was sent the last time I ever floated).

On occation I will work in the level 2 and our sister hospital...but we have been so very busy...it hasn't been an issue and I ussually enjoy the extra time off if I can get it!

I is so wonderful not to have to worry about floating anymore!!! We have also been doing our own schedualing...also wonderful!


71 Posts

I work at a Children's Hospital, so with that said... The ICU nurses float only to other ICU's and the floor nurses only float to other floors. So as a NICU nurse, I can get floated to PICU or CTICU. It's kinda scary, because even though I work in an ICU, the CTICU is completely different that NICU. Truthfully, I'd rather float up to the floor any day.

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