Being the float nurse or part of the regular float nurse pool can be perceived positively or negatively. Many hospitals have an entire group of nurses (collectively referred to as the float pool) that take on the difficult task of adapting to a new environment on a daily basis. They’re like travel nurses but operate within their own hospitals or health system. However, if you’re not designated as a float nurse, and instead your hospital just moves nurses around fluidly, regardless of their skillset, it can be rather frustrating.
My Thoughts on Being a Float Nurse
Our census has been low at work recently, and often several nurses have been getting pulled to other floors. I usually volunteer for this task, as usually the area I usually get pulled give me great patients. The nurses are also usually so thankful to have the extra help, that they are extra helpful and friendly as well. It also helps that the nurses I work with don’t have any interest in me personally at all, and have informed me on more than one occasion that they have no desire to communicate with me more than is absolutely required. And of course, they have also, on occasion, told me, or others, that I’m stupid.
So for me, being a float nurse is a blessing rather than a curse. It is very refreshing to go to another floor and have people glad to see me and wanting to talk to me and get to know me on a personal level. Because as much as I’d like to pretend I can just go to work, do my job, and leave my feelings out of it, I just can’t.
More Pay as a Float Nurse
Being a float nurse definitely has its benefits. Nurses actually get paid more when we’re pulled to another department. Nurses who work full time in the float nurse pool often have much higher hourly wages as they function almost like travel or agency nurses within the hospital. The only downfall to me is sometimes you’ll go to a unit that is slammed and have a terrible patient load. Of course, that’s the gamble with any shift, regardless of if you are pulled to another department.
Dealing With Isolation Patients as a Float Nurse
Occasionally I have been pulled and had all isolation patients. I hate the whole process of dealing with isolation precautions. I mean, I get the point and know the protocols surrounding PPE for healthcare professionals, but it’s just so exhausting and there’s still so much room for error. The whole dressing out with gowns and the gloves leave many opportunities for exposure. What about our shoes and the large portion of our pants that isn’t covered? What happens when your butt rubs up against something? Does it really make a difference in infection prevention any more than good hand washing alone?
Being pulled to another floor and being part of the float pool is something I find exciting and enjoyable. It’s always interesting. The longer I spend on another unit, the more I get enjoy working with nurses who don’t make me feel like a waste of space. Getting to know staff in other departments is enjoyable. I love it when the doctors who know my name are glad to see me and greet me warmly. It’s uplifting to work with poeple who are glad I am there and thankful for the work and passion I put into my nursing care.
Great Day as a Float Nurse
Today was a great day. I am thankful for every day I have the ability to get up and go to work. I am thankful to have a job. But today I was thankful to be appreciated as a nurse by other nurses. To have that every now and then is very very nice.
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Enjoy Being a Float Nurse? Consider Travel Nursing
If you enjoy being a float nurse you might want to consider joining the ranks of travel nurses. You can get great resources on travel nursing from The Gypsy Nurse. And make sure you find out what per-deim means before you jump into becoming a full time float or travel nurse.
Check out these great books for more information about travel nursing:
Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2017
The Truth About Travel Nursing: Know More than Your Recruiter as a Travel Healthcare Professional
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5 thoughts on “Float Nurse – Getting Pulled to Other Floors in the Float Nurse Pool”
Just suggested to my boss the other day that if we received a decent float premium two things would happen –
1. There would always be nurses happy to float.
2. Management would work much harder to keep floating to a minimum.
PS – I don’t necessarily mind floating, but they really need to leave me in one place for my entire 12 hour shift. Often pulled after four hours = unsafe.
I think you are right.
We had a float premium for a while and the pulls occurred far less often and the nurses didn’t mind going.
I agree that a 4 hour pull is unsafe. Right when you get your patients settled you have to start right over.
I always HATED to be floated. Yes, the nurses on the unit you’re being floated to may be happy to see you coming, but the reality is a) they’re so bogged down with their own patient assignment, it’s difficult for them to give you the guidance and orientation you really need, and b) there’s no way you can pick up on the routines, patients, doctor preferences, etc., in just a brief orientation if you’ve never worked on that unit before. I always tried to be as helpful as possible and not ask too many questions unless I just to, but it was always a nerve-wracking experience. I’ll never forget one Labor Day – I was driving in my for 3-11p CVICU shift. It occurred to me that our census would be down and someone would have to float, and that it would probably be me since I hadn’t floated in a while (our unit kept a float book and float assignments were based on who hadn’t floated in the longest time). Sure enough, when I got to work, I found out we had to float someone and it was me. But wait!!! It gets better!!! The unit that I was floating to was a recently re-opened medical ICU with minimal permanent staff and several agency nurses. They had no one who could be in charge, so not only did I have to float to a unit where I’d never worked, taking care of patients whose physicians I didn’t know, and with AGENCY nurses (plus one new graduate nurse), I also had to be in charge for the shift! I got on the phone to the nursing supervisor and begged her to find someone else, because of the safety implications involved, but it didn’t happen. I left my head nurse a VM, telling her how inappropriate and unsafe I thought the assignment was. I promised her that as soon as I could find another position, I would leave. Sure enough, I found another non-clinical position within the organization within a week, applied for it, and got it.