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Force to change unit in the middle of shift

Nurses   (4,767 Views 46 Comments)
by Anon143 Anon143 (Member)

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CCU BSN RN has 7 years experience and works as a Staff RN.

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Yes, they can do it mid-shift. The only way you have a way out of it is refusing to take patients you're not trained to. Like if a med/surg nurse got floated to the ICU and was expected to take ICU patients, not just help out or take care of floor-boarders. We have some rules, too, like if an ICU nurse gets floated to telemetry or med/surg we can technically refuse to take more than 4 patients. But that's a hospital policy. You should read your facility's policy so you know if there are any restrictions. Likely it essentially says they can do what they want.

I've been sent to 3 units in 12 hours on multiple occasions. And I'm not a float nurse. Hasn't happened often, once every few years, but they certainly can do it if they want to/need to.

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Ddestiny has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a ICU RN.

13 Likes; 6,874 Visitors; 248 Posts

When I worked the floor, we'd do 12 hour shifts and staffing was reassessed every 4 hours. It was not unheard of for nurses to float to a different unit every 4 hours.

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1,638 Likes; 4 Followers; 16,957 Visitors; 2,515 Posts

Can legal actions be taken?

Legal action? You mean against the facility? By you? You must be kidding.

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7 Likes; 8,479 Visitors; 672 Posts

I have sent nurses to other floors at various times during the shift as long as they have the skills for that floor. Are they mad at me yes but I have no choice in the matter, nursing must be covered. I have been assigned to other floors as well, I have no heartburn about it, I let my patients know another nurse Ms XYZ will be coming by as I am needed on another floor, I get report in the new floor and start over as if I was just coming on shift and if I do not get things done the next nurse can pick up where I left off. Just my feeling about it.

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and works as a Psychiatric sheep...er, nurse.

37 Likes; 2 Followers; 2 Articles; 58,847 Visitors; 7,836 Posts

Yes, it can happen.

Legal action won't get you anywhere, alas. Unless you're lucky enough to have it specifically written into a contract that you are never ever ever to float to another unit.

Neither will reporting them to the BON. Because if your employer floats you to a unit that you are unfamiliar with and you don't feel comfortable with taking on patients there, the BON puts it on YOU to refuse what you feel is an unsafe assignment. The BON doesn't care if you'll be fired as a result of refusing.

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66 Likes; 1 Follower; 24,156 Visitors; 2,243 Posts

I used to work as a float nurse. There were more than a few shifts where I would visit a new floor every four hours (three floors in a 12 hour shift). I realize that, being in a float role, I had signed up for that kind of thing. It wasn't always "fun" but I mostly didn't mind doing it. I think it helped me grow, too. Flexibility and adaptability are good skills in nursing - and in life.

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66 Likes; 1 Follower; 24,156 Visitors; 2,243 Posts

Well, if you're essentially doing more than a shift's work (double amount of charting, etc.) I'd be sure to not break my back to finish at my usual time and then insist on overtime. Denial of OT would be a legal issue...

You shouldn't need to do double the amount of charting. Half of your charting will be on one patient, and half on the other...but total amount shouldn't be double.

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience and works as a Complex Care Manager.

37 Likes; 67,238 Visitors; 7,344 Posts

Basically, the question in the OP is "can you be floated mid-shift?" and of course the answer is a resounding "yes!"

I have been floated from 7am-3pm of a 7am-7pm shift and floated back to my home unit for 3pm-7pm. I have been scheduled for a 7am-11pm double and floated to sit for 7am-3pm and then brought back to work on the floor of the unit I was originally scheduled to work for 3pm-11pm when I was an aide. It hasn't happened to me but certainly there have been nurses who reported to a 7pm-7am overnight shift and got floated to another unit at 11pm. I don't see why anyone would think this can't happen. It is common practice.

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hawaiicarl has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Charge Nurse.

41 Likes; 6,676 Visitors; 285 Posts

Sucks, yup. The only time I ever got out of it they tried to send me to a unit I had never even walked through the doors, and I said I had never been oriented. Then I asked isn't it policy that all employees are oriented to a unit before working on it? Then I asked which one of you made this decision so that when I document it for liability purposes I know who's name to put. How do you spell your first and last name? Oh, you changed your mind?

Other than that, good luck, it's called warm body syndrome (an amusing phrase to google), Admin feels that a warm body can function effectively enough to keep patients safer than ... no body.

Cheers

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6 Visitors; 3 Posts

I have seen it done several times mid-shift, but as CCU BSN RN mentioned, you can always refuse an assignment if you deem it unsafe.

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xoemmylouox has 13 years experience and works as a Nurse.

4 Likes; 1 Follower; 38,211 Visitors; 3,141 Posts

This is fairly common in most facilities (acute and LTC). It make not be what everyone loves, but it is a way of addressing changing staff needs.

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Alex_RN has 3 years experience and works as a RN.

11 Likes; 3,470 Visitors; 305 Posts

Sure, happens in my very large hospital all the time. They do try to be reasonable about it but it happens.

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