On Being Floated

I was recently floated again for one day to another unit in our hospital. I hate being floated!depressednurse

One of the main reasons why I dislike working in another unit is the change of environment. Although I was oriented a bit at the beginning of the shift, I was still unsure where to find things. It would take me almost a minute just to find what I was looking for, when in my own ward, I could have found it in seconds.

Another thing, my ID won’t allow me to get into the medication and store rooms (these rooms needed ID bar codes for you to get in). So I had to ask the other  staff nurses to lend me their IDs each time I have to go to these rooms. The staff were nice though, and they tried not to show their annoyance 🙂

The new faces I worked with was another pressure. Although they were quite nice and friendly to me, I still didn’t know their character, so I had to be careful speaking to them. I was not in my comfort zone and I was not sure whether my comments would be acceptable or not.

The cases that were given to me were the light ones, according to the staff. But being unfamiliar with all the terminologies, and medications, I often had to look up meanings and drug indications before I get into the patient’s room. That took time, of course.

stetThe difference in routines was also a factor. When I would start checking the computer system for fresh orders and morning medications in my own unit at the start of the shift, they would start differently in another unit. When I would get a partner to do vital signs for all the patients in our unit, they would have another style in another unit.

I know that there also some good points that can be gained on being floated (getting to meet new people, widening your experience and knowledge in another field), but I still believe that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. First of all, patient safety should be a major concern. When a nurse is unfamiliar of his/her workplace, mistakes are most likely. Second, The stress on the part of the nurse is just too much.

I knew that my floating has helped answer the unit’s shortage of nurses. But I also knew that some nurses who were off on that day in that unit would love to work overtime if offered. Floating a nurse is a cost-cutting measure of a hospital, to avoid paying overtimes to the nurses who work on that unit. But how much would it cost the hospital if a medical error occur? Maybe more.

I know nurses who like being floated, but that is if they are paid overtime. That means they are paid for the extra effort and extra risks involved.

Well, I can only talk so much here. I know that it’s a hospital system that’s difficult to bend.


7 Responses to “On Being Floated”

  1. April 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    well, it’s just good that this does not happen quite often for me, coz i dont like working in another unit, except ER. of course, i would be very much at lost working in a different set up and i would not compromise patient safety for money.


  2. 2 sophie
    April 12, 2009 at 2:19 am

    I personally hate being floated too. I know it’s a help for a hospital who needs additional staff in certain areas, but I guess this should be used as a last resort because the impact on the nurse and his/her kind of health care given to the patient is affected. I believe that hospital issues should be addressed keeping in mind patient welfare and nurse concern a priority.


  3. 3 digitalcatharsis
    April 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    thanks marcus and sophie for sharing your insights!


  4. June 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    It’s really hard to be in an environment where you were not oriented to. I honestly don’t know what to do or how to act without my CI behind my back, and we all were so afraid to move when we are already in staffing.


  5. 5 kat
    June 27, 2011 at 3:00 am

    yeah, mahirap talaga if di ka sanay sa isang lugar….although matutunana mo din naman later on…


  6. June 27, 2011 at 3:35 am

    mahirap sa simula pero flexible ka naman, im sure madali mong nakagamayan ang lahat. besides, unto these certain inconvieneinces, positivity outweighs the cons. good morning ^_^


  7. June 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    good thing you are flexible and you patient Sir 🙂


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Health posts here are the author's opinion and should not be taken as professional advice. It is still best to consult your physician. Posts in this site protect patient confidentiality, so if you have any concerns regarding any of the nursing posts, please send me a message and I will be happy to address them.

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