A Nurse’s Nightmare

Everyone who has been reading in this blog site knows that I hate to be floated to other units coz I have written a post about being floated earlier. Last night was another “nightmare in nursing street.”

After reporting  for work in my own unit, I was told that I need to be floated to E.R. I felt so bad hearing that but I had no choice coz everybody was being rotated to be floated where there was lack of staff, and so it was my turn last night. I hurriedly went down to ER to catch up the endorsement there.  The nurses there were quite nice  to welcome me though and that eased my discomfort a bit.

I was assigned two beds at the treatment area. I thought, hey this is going to be okay. Two patients is better than six to seven patients back in my home unit. But then in a few minutes, I suddenly felt the fast-paced atmosphere in ER. My patients stayed in the bed for like 1-2 hours only and was replaced by another patient as soon as the other one left.  I haven’t even finished documenting and discharging the previous ones, I was forced to take another one coz the patient was placed already on the bed waiting for a nurse to attend to him/her. I wasn’t able to count how many patients I had the whole night but it was just too many.

I was used to taking care of male adult surgery patients and this has been my work for the last eight years (seven years in another country). Last night, I had to take female patients – one was even a case of vaginal bleeding! I told the charge nurse about this issue but I was told that patient sex is not a concern in ER and that male ER nurses take female patients with no problems. Ah okay, I forgot that I was an ER nurse-in-an-instant now. I had to pull a female nurse’s arm to help me attend to that patient who was about to have a vaginal exam. In this country where culture is a great concern, I had to be careful with nursing female patients. And I had several of them last night.

And there was a baby patient too! Pediatric nursing was never my cup of tea, and I can’t even cannulate a small baby’s arm! And yes, I had to take care of the poor baby whose parents had to settle with a nurse who has no experience with babies, except his own. My very first unit since I started my nursing career in the Philippines was pediatric ward. I thought that it would be fun dealing with babies and children. But then, realizing that it was sick babies and children I was taking care of, I just couldn’t cope up, that I had to resign and transfer to another hospital (I couldn’t transfer to another unit soon enough). Now, I had to face a sick baby again, and worst – in an emergency setting. How safe can I be to him was a question in my mind while taking care of him.

Add to my frustrations was my inadequate orientation to the work area. The first and last time I was floated in ER, I was in the Resuscitation Area. Now I was in the Treatment area with about 15 beds.  I was given a quick orientation of the outgoing nurse, but of course, that would never be enough. For a short period of time I had to know what the routines of the unit were, figure out where the supplies were, orient myself to the new surrounding, and deal with a different patient load. Not to mention the unfamiliar faces I had to work with.

I had to mention that the nurses who were in the Treatment Area were quite helpful to me. I asked too many questions and requested so many help and they tried to assist me in anyhow. I knew they were so busy themselves but I had no choice but to force somebody to face me and answer my queries. It was a big night last night for ER and there were several major road accidents that the department was dealing with. Getting somebody to teach me how to operate pieces of medical equipment, and how to work with their computer system was a tough thing to do.

It was too frustrating and stressful being floated. Last night was too exhausting – physically, mentally and emotionally. I am still having a major headache while writing this post. I felt writing what my head wants to say could somehow ease my stressed brain cells.

 Although floating is sometimes justified to keep a safe staffing level to the area where the nurse is being floated, I sometimes feel that it could be better if the nurse from the same unit is called in (as overtime or return time). He would know what to do in emergency situations,and the people in the unit would know his capacity as a nurse. Also, I would like to acknowledge that floating gives nurses the opportunity to widen nursing knowledge. But then, it isn’t training, when you get your own live patients, and that people who will be training you will be busy taking care of their own patients. We don’t risk patient safety and satisfaction with the intent of training a nurse.

Although I know that nurse floatation is an issue in most hospitals in many countries, not just here, I feel it is an issue that needs to be looked at. I know that I am not alone who gets this feeling whenever a nurse is floated. Being floated is just too stressful for the nurse. I am just not being negative. I am just thinking out loud.


14 Responses to “A Nurse’s Nightmare”

  1. 1 laarni
    November 30, 2009 at 4:50 am

    hi kuya nelson im one of your avid fan in your digital catharsis web site,whenever you posted something,i read it…I definitely agree with you.I really hope that the management will do something about this predicament of nurses,because as what you have said,we cannot risk patients safety,but ofcors we are nurses we know our nursing skills.adjustment in a different setting where in you are not trained in the nursing field is quite hard and will be needing some time to adapt and adjust on it,but i know you’re one of the best,that’s why i believe in you…laarni


  2. November 30, 2009 at 5:26 am

    thanks laarni for being a regular reader here. being in your unit last night was just too stressful, but given the proper training and orientation there, i might like to work there.


  3. 3 Mai Torrevillas
    December 1, 2009 at 4:06 am

    from FACEBOOK Yesterday at 11:25pm
    kaya mo yan actually the concept of floating is that they wanted the staff to be well rounded in all areas yun nga lang they forgot to think na its very stressful sa staff na concern. i visited your blog ingit ako sa YAS MARINA pero okey lang i got to see pics naman. how do i make my blog site?


  4. December 1, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Thanks, Mai! I just wish that the process of making the staff well-rounded is more planned. There are many domains where you can start your blog site. I use wordpress. You can go to their site http://www.wordpress.com and there are step by step procedures on how u can start your blog. Good luck!


  5. 5 Fruck Ramos
    December 1, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    from FACEBOOK 10 hours ago
    Poor you!
    Read the fine lines of your contract.
    This is an ongoing and will continue to be a thorny issue with nursing. It’s been being practice everywhere, as I always say you have 2 choices with this, either you are in or out of nursing.
    It’s your choice!


  6. December 1, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Nursing may be a bumpy road to take, but… I’m still IN, Kuya Leo! No retreat no surrender! Ako pa! Hehe!


  7. December 2, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Being an ER nurse, I pity the nurses who were placed in our ER as floats because sometimes they had to suffer the humiliation from patients who were expecting a lot from them. I think this is something that most hospitals should be looked into deeper if they want to retain their nurses.


  8. 8 JEMSKI
    December 2, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Well, being floated could be in our contracts but I guess hospitals should have at least some guidelines or policy on how floating should be. That is to protect the nurses, and patients as well, from being carried out with tasks that could harm them because the nurse have inadequate orientation in the area.


  9. 9 digitalcatharsis
    December 31, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Thanks, Marc and Jems for sharing your opinions on the matter!


  10. June 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Yeah..tama..hindi ko na gets nung una..parang shifting din pala sya..
    Ithink they really have to consider at dapat may evaluation per floating para malaman yung capacity ng isang isang to re-assign di ba..
    anyway, job well done to you.


  11. June 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

    now I realized na kaya pala may mga nurse na ang iinit nang ulo lalo na dun sa public hospitals in the ER kasi heavy loaded na sila sa work. Nakikita ko rin na ang daming mga patients at di nila ma asikaso lahat. May natutunan ako sa post mo about being floated as a nurse. thanks for posting! 🙂


    • June 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

      Still, hindi dapat nila ilabas yung galit nila sa mga nurse. They should keep their cool nga eh, tapos sa private na lang nila ilabas galit nila. That’s the professional way kahit saang work or occupation pa.


  12. 13 kat
    June 27, 2011 at 10:51 am

    parang ang bigat ng responsibilidad ng mga nurses pala…kaya siguro yong iba di na magawang mag smile sa patient…hehe


  13. June 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    uu at yung iba ang sungit at pinapagalitan pa ang mga patients


I'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with me here :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

No one person can ever experience all that life has to offer. It is only through sharing - experiences, feelings, insights - that we can hope to grow beyond our own meager lifetime.

Nurses are tough people. But behind great nurses are inspirations to keep them doing what they need to do - TO CARE.

Nurse or non-nurse, please feel free to move around the site. Everybody needs inspirations to be encouraged every now and then.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,329 other followers

***Inspirational quotes are lifted from elsewhere (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram). If there are issues regarding copyright, please let me know and I'll take the post down.

Blog Stats

  • 340,874 hits




November 2009
« Oct   Dec »

Live Traffic Feed

Proud Member :)



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.

%d bloggers like this: