Our Med-Surg Unit was requested to float an MS nurse to Postpartum... I thought to myself, "no big deal." The nurse who was requested to float apparently thought differently and pitched a fit. I could see if she were being asked to work L&D or Newborn Nursery... but, Postpartum????
Anyway...I agree with you, Sleepy, about assessment skills, etc... being a key point. I also agree that no one should be forced into working a department where they feel completely ill prepared to work. But I also think that, with a bit of reorganizing of assignments, such as Gail mentioned (where the MS experienced nurse handles those patients and the OB nurse handles those of her own specialty) that floating need'nt be a traumatizing event. It's certainly not the BEST situation, by far.... (I was going to add a "but"...then decided against it).
The old Nurse to Patient Ratios just don't cut the mustard any longer... the people we care for are more complicated and the demands placed on Nursing to cater to the patient AND family create additional work constraints that require better staffing.... Period.
Good luck to you, Gail....