What other profession floats?

  1. What other profession besides nurses float?

    Janitors- their job-I couldn't do without them, is fairly standardized.
    Teachers- even teachers have substitutes.
    Secretaries- well, they can't kill anyone with their poor shorthand technique.

    Those are the only few that I can think of at the moment. Feel free to add more if you can think of them.

    But really, why do we float nurses? Those people that literally have a patients life in their hands for every minute of the shift that they work.

    Why don't doctors float? Sorry, DR. OBGYN, Dr. Psych called in sick, you have to cover his patients for him today? Or dietary, hey, put down that apple juice and go look at UA's for the day. Sorry but we have a sick call to cover. It is your duty to cover.

    The whole rampage began today. We have a step down unit, that like the rest of the country is becoming more acute daily. Unfortunately, they have lost over half of their staff but yet still try to maintain full capacity. Even though, our unit is one unit, it is composed of telemetry and step down. The only place that we are floated is telemetry, step down and ICU. Well, you might say that is ok?. Well, I have over 100 float hours in 2 months. I am the "it" girl over there. We can't take so and so because of... or that they flip and freak out too easily. Mind you that in all the float hours, there has been no education or orientation provided to any staff that floats. One time occurance, hey anyone may be able to get through a shift. But continually floating unexperienced staff is just plain dangerous. I knew that I was to float this am, which would have been ok, except I had a new grad. I wasn't going to float with a new grad. To take away from his orientation and set up for a potentially dangerous situation. "well, other nurses and new grads have done it, It worked before, why not now". I refused.

    Why do we continually become martyrs when our license is in serious danger?

    Tell the doctors, stop admitting patients, or you can float to the understaffed areas!

    Do you really want to have someone working on you or your loved one in a critical care setting that may or may not be a "float". How many more mistakes are made when people float, not to mention those fatal? Those are mistakes that I don't want to make or find out about.

    Please feel free to enlighten me or share your stories of floating.

    Stepping off soap box and waving to crowd.
  2. Visit moonshadeau profile page

    About moonshadeau, ADN, BSN, MSN, APN, NP, CNS

    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 639; Likes: 70
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience


    Originally posted by moonshadeau
    Why don't doctors float? Sorry, DR. OBGYN, Dr. Psych called in sick, you have to cover his patients for him today? Or dietary, hey, put down that apple juice and go look at UA's for the day. Sorry but we have a sick call to cover. It is your duty to cover.
    WOW! What interesting light has been shed on this topic with this statement! I'm gonna copy this and hang it up around work! Text only, names omitted of course.

  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I believe the concept of " floating" stems from nursings' much earlier days when we were much less specialized and expected to handle many different situations. Nurses really "had to do it all" in the "old days". In my grandmother's day; (she graduated a diploma program circa 1922), no one questioned their patient assignments or doctor's orders! (perish that thought)..However we are in new times....thus....

    I am with you, in this day of super-specialization and the legal issues that arise, it is stupid and dangerous to float nurses out their area of comfort and capability into unfamiliar territory. Really, now, I only work in places that don't require me to float. I am not interested in endangering patients and hanging my license over the bonfire in this way. Being an OB nurse, I do this enough w/o floating elsewhere!

    Good points, moonshadeau...**waving back atcha**
  5. by   fergus51
    I am SOOOOOOO with you on that. I work L&D, and only worked med surg for a few months as a new grad, but now, a few years later, they expect me to float to the medical wards and take a patient assignment. I just refuse. I will float and do tasks ONLY. Or they can send me home, thank you very much. I have no idea what idiot would want me looking after an MI or TIA or AAA patient! Hello? Is there a uterus involved? No...? Then I am not going to be their nurse!
  6. by   fedupnurse
    If you only knew how many times I have raised this issue with the suits! Our hospital is like a giant float pool. Some managers purposely short staff their units so their staff won't get floated. We have a 24 bed ICU and are a regional referral center and they will pull from us until we have a 1:3 ratio. They also think nothing of floating inexperienced staff to us when no one will do OT. SO then we not only have 3 each but have to look out for the float nurse and those patients as well. It is like this at most hospitals in my area. So staff with 5 or years less experience say, why the hell should I stay getting 22 bucks an hour when I can go work Agency for 15 more an hour and only get floated to 2 other units! The suits just don't get it. Floating and refusal of vacation time are, bar none, the 2 most important issues regarding staff morale. The CNE here hasn't done bedside nursing in a thousand years and doesn't think it is an issue.
    I always ask people (supervisors, etc.) would you go to a plumber if you had chest pain. Would you call a doctor if your cable TV was broken, would you see a gynocologist if you had skin cancer? Until we educate the public about what we do as bedside nurses and how specialized the care is, things won't change. I agree with closing beds but here we need an act of Congress before that happens!!
  7. by   l.rae
    One of several reasons l like ER....we never float. Unbelievable!! to float an OB nurse to MedSurg?????....what morons!.........LR
  8. by   NurseDennie
    Well, the UP side to NOT having the public informed about how specialized nursing really is:

    Getting stopped for speeding and having the trooper, upon finding out you're a nurse, does NOT give you a ticket because he figures some day you may (In his words): "Have to dig a bullet out of my a$$"

    I truly am just joking. There's no good side to it really, but this really did happen.


  9. by   shrpgrl
    Our manager consistently overstaffs so she can "help out" the house. She never has to float so why should she care. I hate floating because many times the regular floor nurses are too busy to help you. Also they can float us anywhere without orientation when it suits them. My specialty is Rehab and I am a fish out of water on ICU or Oncology. Sometimed when we float we are sent to a different floor every 4 hours, that is 3 or 4 different floors if I get mandated over. We have lost several nurses over this.
  10. by   mark_LD_RN
    LET's SEE:
    1) the marines
    2) Navy
    3 ) and all other maritime employes

  11. by   nimbex
    my husband, a manufacturing engineer responded to my horrific night of floating by saying;

    In manufacturing, a call out from one of the assembly line workers is pure hell, an available employee is pulled from somewhere and placed there with minimal training (sound familiar)

    Then productivity goes down, the "substitute" slown down the whole process for everyone.

    Then quality control complains because the end products have poor quality, many parts are thrown out.

    One call in for him results in poor productivity, increased cost and poor product outcome.....


    Manufacturing gets it.... why not the suits if the bottom line is the almighty $$$.... "It's not cost effective to close beds"
    It's time to take a second look
  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Floating sucks. It is one of the many reasons that I left my former place of employment and moved to another city. In my old job, we PICU nurses are viewed as the ultimate float nurses, since we have the "broadest scope of practice" of all nurses. It means that we could care for anyone from birth to 100+, with any type of problem. We float nurses to NICU, ER (both adult and peds), recovery, med/surg, S/MICU, oncology, gyne, antepartum... you name it and one of us has probably been there.

    Our unit had unwritten rules about floating:
    1)The CRN does not float (whether there in the official CRN role OR on overtime).
    2)New staff do not float until they have been finished orientation for 90 days.
    3)Float pool or casual staff who pick up shifts in the unit float first, but must be included in the "float list" so that if they have picked up two shifts in a row, they only float once.
    4)Regular staff take turns floating; any secondment lasting at least four hours is counted as a float.
    5)Regardless of the "rules" the decision as to who will float is ultimately left to the CRN, based on activity in the unit, staff available and other criteria (such as how much (s)he likes a person).

    Weekends are a particular problem staffing-wise in many facilities. The admin assistant for the unit typically spends most of Friday on the phone beefing up staffing for the weekend, and often NOT for the unit, but so that we would have floats available. I routinely floated on my weekend days in my rotation, usually for the whole 12 hours. My first act on arriving for work would be to ask the CRN where I was going for the day. Other units in the facility, such as NICU, S/MICU and the ERs do not allow their staff to float, with NICU being the exception... if the nurse is being sent to PICU or IMCN. A number of times when I floated, I was given a patient assignment, only to be pulled back to the unit later due to "unforeseen" events. The very nature of an intensive care unit is the potential for disaster. I find it unbelievable that an intensive care unit should be the first place floats are pulled from (and the last to receive them!); why is it a crime to have an unassigned nurse?

    While I miss my former coworkers terribly I am anxious to get started in my new job. My new unit manager has told me several times that PICU nurses here do not float. Several of my soon-to-be-coworkers have told me much the same. I'm sure looking forward to that!:roll
  13. by   booboo
    I once told the staffing person on the other end of the phone: THis is what it feels like. ABC Hospital across the river needs a staffing person today. You're going over there. Don't worry, they will show you where the bathrooms are..." Needless to say, that and a few heated comments got me into trouble, as usual.
    I also asked for a formal orientation in the ER before I would float. I was told NO. However, they haven't asked me to float there yet! And if they do, I will ask for a formal orientation again. And I will ask for their response in writing. I have had enough, can you tell???
  14. by   Alley Cat
    Man, oh man do these tales sound familiar!!!!! The main problem I've found in floating is that 1. the areas you get floated to are usually full of people who are as burnt out as the rest of us, 2. the areas that chronically need float help can't keep regular help to begin with, 3. managers who don't have to do patient care are the ones who are the least sympathetic to staff members' concerns about floating. Even having "sister" areas didn't help morale at our facility--there was constant bickering over "I did a full shift and so-and-so only did 4 hours"....."How come we go over there for a full shift but their staff always gets pulled back after 4 hours or less?"....on and on and on and on.....

    So the solution? Administration has cut staff, increased the number of patients a nurse is supposed to care for, and told every department no overtime pay unless you've worked 40 hours that week (and don't call anybody in that has because we don't have the financial resources to pay overtime.) Financial consultants have been called in, and people with seniority are getting laid off. They also have cancelled all contracts with travelers (in nursing), and personnel who are prn status are frequently getting called off. Nursing shortage? I quite frankly think it's been artificially created by business people running the hospitals who can't see anything but the dollars being spent, instead of what staff really does. The sad thing is, when winter hits and we really get slammed, there's going to be BIG problems thanks to people quitting, relocating, etc etc etc :angryfire

Must Read Topics