The Reality of Floating

As travel nurses, it is likely you will be the first RNs in a unit asked to float.  It is imperative we understand this is part of the travel nurse industry. Let’s discuss how to best handle a floating situation.

Travelers MUST Be Able To Float

This industry is complex and constantly changing and the need for travelers to have the ability to float is paramount in most facilities. It is imperative that an RN be aware of what specialties he or she is capable of floating to and what is within their scope of practice.

Many facilities require travelers to float at some point in their assignment. Typically we see ICU floating to Step Down. For example; an ICU RN is asked to float to MedTele. ICU can also float to PCU and MedSurg. In rare occasions we see ICU floating to ER based on the nurses ability.

When scope of practice comes into question then it is time to evaluate the situation. If an L&D RN is floated to the ICU a problem arises. These two specialties are on different ends of the spectrum and are not acceptable to float to in most cases. Another example is a situation in which MedTele is floating to L&D. Both scenarios are usually out of scope of practice for the nurses involved.

Can I Say No To Floating?

At TaleMed we often receive questions on whether or not a nurse can say “no” to a request to float. We understand this situation can become uncomfortable and tricky to navigate. This usually needs to occur when a nurse knows she cannot carry out the duties of the the requested floating position safely. Meaning, the floating request is out of her scope of practice.

There are some facilities that float nurses more often than others. In some instances travelers have been floated every 4 hours. This is often times the result of a facility with extensive needs in numerous areas. Situations like these can be fantastic learning experiences under pressure but can also be a great deal of work to handle. Be sure to double-check with your recruiter about floating at a facility before accepting any assignment. This can help eliminate any unexpected floating when on assignment. However, there is always the possibility of situations that must be taken as they come.

Overall, travelers must be prepared to float. Facilities have needs and those needs must be met in order to provide the best care to patients. Always keep an open dialogue with your recruiters when floating arises to keep both yourself, your recruiter, and the facility in check.

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