Check your nurse practice act. If you accept an unsafe assignment, and patients are harmed, you could lose your license (let alone your mind and heart!) I was warned in nursing school that if it boils down to it, better to lose a job than lose a life. If it's REALLY unsafe, then (at least in my state) you are obligated to not accept that assignment. True, it could cost you your job. It is NOT abandonment if you arrive, see the assignment as unsafe, never get report, and immediately notify your supervisor that you are not accepting the assignment. In the eyes of the board of nursing, anyway, legally, that is the way it is viewed. Your hospital may see if differently.
There are laws about floating to a unit you are not oriented to, as well. For example, I would never accept an assignment in ER or ICU, or L&D or Peds. I will float to other medical/surgical/tele type floors, as I am comfortable there. But try checking w/ your board of nursing & see what your nursing practice act says about it.
This is regarding "patient abandonment" from the BRN of California:
and on floating: