Many of you probably already know this if you follow my blog, but I am a Float Nurse! What’s that you, may ask? Basically, I float to any and every adult unit in my hospital (with the exception of ICU and anything baby)! I call in at 6:30am every morning and ask the house coordinator what my assignment is that day. Crazy, right? I don’t think fun time floating is for everyone, but I LOVE IT! It’s like playing the lottery every morning! Sometimes I get to go to a floor that I love, and well….sometimes the ones I don’t! Regardless, I love floating and always make the best of what unit I am on! It’s exciting and I wouldn’t change it for anything!!
One of WORST feelings in the world is coming into work as a newer nurse, and finding out that you are being floated away from your home unit! As a new nurse, you are just getting comfortable and finally feeling good about coming into work on your HOME floor. Then that day comes where you look on the assignment sheet and you’ve been…Dun DUN dunnnnn….FLOATED! “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” Your heart starts to race a little, and you have to take that long walk over to that “other unit” and you have no idea what to expect. New faces, new patients, new EVERYTHING!
First of all, DON’T be scared to float to another unit. Remember, you are competent nurse. You know how to handle emergency. The human body is the same on all floors! Nothing is changing except the demographic and the unit specialty. You just have to set yourself up for success! If you ever feel your assignment is unsafe or not appropriate for you as a flat nurse, speak up. You never want to be sorry that you waits. I have some simple helpful tips that will help you survive being floated to a different unit!
Ask For a Tip Sheet and Ask Questions
- Ask the unit if the they have a “Tip Sheet.” At my hospital, they provide all float nurses with a “Unit Tip Sheet.” It basically explains whats expected on that specific unit with charting, rounding, policy, etc. Every floor is a little different in their flow. Just be sure to ask the Charge Nurse if there is anything specific that you may need to know about that unit. They should be more than happy to help! Always use them as a resource and never hesitate to ask questions!
Introduce Yourself First and Befriend Your Hall Buddy
2. Introduce yourself to the other nurses on your hall! Tell them where your from and just be friendly! Sometimes you can be intimidated by people you don’t know. Just take that first step and say, “ Hi, I’m Kelsey! I just wanted to let you know that I work on the 6th floor! I am a little out of my comfort zone today and have not floated before! If you need any help, please feel free to ask me, I’ll do the best I can to help!” They’ll most likely tell you to do the same, and now you’ve broken the ice!
Alway Offer Help and Take Ownership On That Unit
3. Kind of running off of this last point, always offer help! Even if it’s not your unit, you can still be a helping hand! Treat it as if you were on your own! Nursing is a team effort! That floor will notice something different about you and really respect that you’ve floated to their unit and taken ownership of working on THEIR floor. Not separating yourself is KEY! You’re not a “6th Floor Nurse”, your A nurse! You can be a helpful and awesome nurse no matter the where you go! Show them that! I bet their leadership will take notice and personally thank you (or share with your leadership)! It will make you feel great as well!
Come With a Smile and Good Attitude!
4. Come with a good attitude! I get that floating can be frustrating and throw your routine off, but Nobody wants a bad attitude! Typically, the receiving floor is SUPER happy that you have floated there! You took a burden off of them! Don’t show up like you are ticked off at the world. Tell yourself you are going to have a good day. A lot of times you will be floated to the units that are usually short. These units, in my experience, tend to have nurses who have been spread thin for quite some time. As a result, their attitudes are not always the best. Remain positive, and just kill them with kindness. It’s the best way to handle that situation.
Last thing, For all of you nurses reading this: BE KIND TO YOUR FLOAT NURSES! It can be overwhelming, scary, draining, and frustrating being floated to a unit you don’t belong to! Be thankful that they are there to help you guys! Show them around. Ask them if they need help! Befriend them! We’re all in this together! It will make for a better shift for all!!!
Your Heart Is Mine,