Quote from Noryn
I personally think that mandatory overtime and floating could be avoided 95 percent of the time if you run the unit/hospital correctly. If you take care of your employees and show them appreciation most of the time they will reciprocate by coming in extra and helping out.
I agree completely. It's a pretty simple thing but lots of managers never grasp it. Don't play mind games, don't get off on power trips, back up your staff, give them their requested shifts and time off if at all possible, treat them fairly, let them know what's going on, etc. And yes, occasionally giving a hand, filling in, and so forth- you'll find that your staff will, for the most part, do what is needed.
Also, treat the staff who float into your unit well and fairly. Don't write them up for every nitpicky little thing. Don't dump all the patients nobody else wants on them- especially not all in the same shift! Unless they've been to your unit frequently and can function just as well as your regular staff, don't give them the first admission or the postop rolling in the door two minutes after report ends. Don't treat them like idiots if they don't remember what "routine" vitals are on your floor or don't know where everything is. Don't assign them to work with the staff member least likely to help them out. If at all possible, give them a lighter patient load or lots of help. Don't just say that you appreciate their being there, show that! If someone is ordering out food, include the float nurse.
I've done float pool in the past. Some floors were great- so appreciative, and showed it; others treated you like a bother if you asked a question, dumped every complex or difficult or isolation patient on you, etc. You don't want to go back there!!