Friday, June 21, 2013

Float On

If you work in an inpatient setting, you've probably floated to another unit when census was low on your unit. In some hospitals, nurses float frequently; in others, it's fairly rare. Some RNs really dread floating. I've learned that here on the west coast, some hospitals have an hourly premium for floating to another unit: you make a few dollars more an hour for working on another unit. That wasn't the case at my Indianapolis hospital. 

In Indy, I worked day shift, so if I had to do the split shift float, I floated to another unit for the last 4 hours of my shift, from 3p-7p. In a way that seems easier, in that you're not scrambling at the beginning of your shift to pass meds and assess everybody and chart within four hours. 3p-7p isn't usually the busiest time in a day shift, while 7p-11p is usually the busiest time in a night shift. And so now that I'm a travel nurse working nights and I'm the first to float, I do frequently float to another unit from 7p-11p, and then back to my home unit from 11p-7a. It's a chaotic way to start my shift, and it's a pain in some ways, but at least it makes the shift go fast. And it's increased my flexibility and my ability to streamline my charting.

If you're intimidated by floating, being a travel nurse will cure you of that for sure. And if you like seeing a variety of units in addition to a variety of cities, then that's another reason to take the leap and try a travel job. 

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