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How does your unit determine who floats?

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Specializes in ICU & Emergency Department. Has 2 years experience.

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I started on this unit first week of March. I got 4 weeks of orientation and because I was new they didn’t float me initially. They decided at my 3 month mark I was okay to float. 

So I got float yesterday and was told today I’m next to float again. I asked how I just floated yesterday. I was told it goes off float hours for the year and I now only have 12, thus am the lowest. So basically I’m going to continue to float until I effectively make up 6 months worth of floating when I didn’t even work here or was eligible to float. 

Every other hospital I’ve known goes off who hasn’t floated in the longest. How does your hospital do it?

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

That sounds like an odd system to use. We have a binder and your name goes in whenever you float, that puts you at the bottom of the list. The system you mention would penalize people just for being new employees. Weird. 

NewEnglandRN16

Has 3 years experience.

We go by per diem first, then by a rotating list. Also you can’t float until 6 months of orientation. But we are union so it’s easier to follow the system since it’s in the contract. 

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

2 hours ago, JBMmom said:

That sounds like an odd system to use... The system you mention would penalize people just for being new employees. 

Yeah.

It's as if they're letting the new employee drown and allowing the putrefaction which produces gases make them float!

When I worked at the State Hospital back in the early '90's, they had a similar method of determining mandated overtime. When I was new there, I was constantly mandated.

Being relatively young, having just built a house, and having a mortgage to pay off, I didn't mind much. In the span of something like a few months, I went from the top of the list of being mandated to the bottom.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

Are you able to volunteer if the float is to an area you like/know? I always volunteered if I figured I could do okay in the area, to avoid having to go to some areas I disliked. Plus I learned to know some staff on that floor so it was more enjoyable,

1 hour ago, Davey Do said:

Yeah.

It's as if they're letting the new employee drown and allowing the putrefaction which produces gases make them float!

 

You have such a way with words, Dave! 😍

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I'm per diem, and so always the first to float. I floated for about three years straight. Every. Time. I. Worked.

When I finally got back to my home unit, everything had changed- even the locks. And my annual evaluation was interesting, because the manager of my unit didn't recognize my name and wasn't sure who I was.

At my last few hospitals, people usually took turns or the most suitable person was sent. I've never heard of the system you're describing. It sounds kind of sucky.

 

 

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

PRNs are first to float then it goes by a list. That is a very odd system. It sounds like you will be floating for a while. 

They're taking advantage of you. Ask to see the written policy that says that. If they can't provide it, call HR and ask them for the float policy. No one will be able to provide it to you because it doesn't exist. They'll continue to do it as long as you allow them to do it unchecked. Put an end to it now or just get comfortable floating.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

We al float down here Georgie!

 

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Hannahbanana, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB. Has 51 years experience.

There was an ongoing whine based on the perception that teacher’s pets didn’t float as much as others, so we decided to use actual data.
We kept a list of all staffers and wrote the dates they floated next to them. It was easy to scan and see who floated the fewest numbers of times. If there was a tie, oldest float date went. 
We also let people volunteer to float, so you could build up a big bank of floated dates if you wanted to. End of fuss. 

gere7404, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency Services, Cardiac Step-Down. Has 5 years experience.

We don’t float out of the ER. 
 

floors keep track of the dates of when everyone floated last and float whoever has the longest time since they last floated. Certain nurses with long enough service time have it in their contract where they don’t have to float.

We have a "float tracker" sheet in the charge RN binder. We list the dates we're pulled and to which unit. You're up to float if everyone else on the schedule has floated more recently than you. You have the option to volunteer to be pulled (I for example, agreed to back to our COVID unit so I could keep my patients). There are some restrictions to who can float- you can't be pulled to ICU if you're not cross-trained, for example. We also don't float pregnant nurses or those with immunocompromised family members to the COVID unit. The system you guys use seems to be a tad unorthodox. 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

When I worked in the hospital, I worked L/D and mother-baby units.

At one hospital where I worked, it was written down who floated where and for how many hours and tracked. The one with the fewest float hours was up next. This was a non-union hospital. "perdiems" were not picked on all the time and this was good because we tended to keep them around.

In other hospitals, I worked in "closed" units. We did not float nor did anyone float to us. But we had a nurse on call who could be brought in in case all heck broke loose. It was a union shop.

BiscuitStripes, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU & Emergency Department. Has 2 years experience.

14 hours ago, NurseBlaq said:

They're taking advantage of you. Ask to see the written policy that says that. If they can't provide it, call HR and ask them for the float policy. No one will be able to provide it to you because it doesn't exist. They'll continue to do it as long as you allow them to do it unchecked. Put an end to it now or just get comfortable floating.

I emailed my manager, who said she would look into it.  

7 minutes ago, SmilingBluEyes said:

When I worked in the hospital, I worked L/D and mother-baby units.

At one hospital where I worked, it was written down who floated where and for how many hours and tracked. The one with the fewest float hours was up next. This was a non-union hospital. "perdiems" were not picked on all the time and this was good because we tended to keep them around.

In other hospitals, I worked in "closed" units. We did not float nor did anyone float to us. But we had a nurse on call who could be brought in in case all heck broke loose. It was a union shop.

So that sounds pretty much like how we do it. Although we don't have any closed units, I've heard of people being floated to L&D with no training to be a "nurse helper", not entirely sure what that entails. 

On 6/6/2021 at 1:53 PM, londonflo said:

Are you able to volunteer if the float is to an area you like/know? I always volunteered if I figured I could do okay in the area, to avoid having to go to some areas I disliked. Plus I learned to know some staff on that floor so it was more enjoyable,

Not that I'm aware of. 

Edited by BiscuitStripes

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

"So that sounds pretty much like how we do it. Although we don't have any closed units, I've heard of people being floated to L&D with no training to be a "nurse helper", not entirely sure what that entails. "

 

Usually if anyone floated to us, they took vital signs on stable mothers. They rarely did anything with newborns. No one did any care of laboring moms. We would have the floating nurse take vital signs/medicate for pain, do peri care etc of post partum moms and the nurses in L/D, mother-baby did all vital signs and newborn cares.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

On 6/6/2021 at 12:06 PM, BiscuitStripes said:

I started on this unit first week of March. I got 4 weeks of orientation and because I was new they didn’t float me initially. They decided at my 3 month mark I was okay to float. 

So I got float yesterday and was told today I’m next to float again. I asked how I just floated yesterday. I was told it goes off float hours for the year and I now only have 12, thus am the lowest. So basically I’m going to continue to float until I effectively make up 6 months worth of floating when I didn’t even work here or was eligible to float. 

Every other hospital I’ve known goes off who hasn’t floated in the longest. How does your hospital do it?

Are you in Boston perchance?  When I worked in Boston, the charge nurse from the previous shift picked someone who wasn’t one of her friends to float.  I floated a lot until I complained and insisted upon taking turns.  Of course that didn’t make me any MORE popular.

When I worked in Spokane, we did it the same way your floor does it.  Except if you worked OT, you got points for floating.  So the nurse that worked a ton of OT to pay off her loans never floated . . . And the nurses who got called in because the unit was desperately short DID float.  That one got addressed, too.  If you were called in and asked to do OT, you got float points.  If you volunteered for the OT you didn’t.  

Most places take turns.  Those with the most ancient float date are the next to float.  Unless the charge nurse is a new grad just off orientation and doesn’t know about the float list, then whoever he likes the least is the next to float.  

TKL

Specializes in ICU, OB/Pediatrics, Education. Has 9 years experience.

The first unit I worked for used the I've been here for x number of years approach, not approved by management or the nursing office, but oh well. When I went from FT to casual status, I also tended to be pulled every time I was working; it kind of felt like I didn't have a home unit... I was in all ICU's, PCU and sometimes med/surg; it gave me a lot of experience. 

The unit I work for now uses a binder, we all take turns. No one likes to be pulled so it helps to keep things fair. I tend to volunteer to float, if it is to a unit I'm comfortable with-I'm able to bump myself on the list easily with this approach. 

I'm also of the mindset that a nurse who is new to the floor needs time to stabilize and become comfortable. It seems a bit unfair to ask a new employee to float so quickly but such are the ways of each unit's expectations.