Top 5 Myths About Float Nursing

float nursingBy Erin Wallace

Most nurses dread float nursing. With float nursing, RNs are taken out of their usual routine and expected to work on an unfamiliar floor with unfamiliar patients. 

But the truth is, float nursing is a great way to gain valuable experience in new areas and provides an opportunity to work with new people.

Below we debunk the five most common myths regarding float nursing.

5 Float Nursing Myths Debunked

1. Float nursing is stressful
For many RNs who are used to working on the same floor each day or night, float nursing can stressful since there's a lack of familiarity with the new unit's processes and protocol and it disrupts their usual routine.
However, under the right circumstances, float nursing can be empowering — float nurses can establish themselves as team players, willing to jump in whenever necessary, and float nursing allows you to develop new nursing skills you might not have had before.

2. Float nursing is detrimental to your career
Many people believe that having float nursing on your resume means it'll be harder for you to get a job because it seems less stable than a traditional, permanent nursing job.
On the contrary — "float nurse" on a resume makes you appealing to hiring managers because it means you have a high level of clinical skill and speaks to personal attributes such as flexibility, dependability and adaptability.
3. Your float nursing salary may be less
The general perception about float nursing is that they're paid less because they're considered temporary “fill-in” positions to meet minimum staffing needs of hospitals, but it's actually not the case.
According to Becker's Hospital Review, roughly 17 percent of hospitals and health systems pay float pool RNs in a higher pay grade or rate than staff RNs, and about 14 percent pay float pool RNs in a separate pay differential.

4. Float nursing pushes you beyond your limits
As long as you're being vigilant about the assignments you're accepting, you should never be placed in a float nursing assignment that's well beyond your competency level and could place a patient in jeopardy. 
Remember that only you — not a supervisor or manager — can determine whether you can safely perform the tasks required on any unit you're floated to.

5. In float nursing, you can't ask too many questions
Many float nurses may feel nervous about asking for help or asking too many questions about protocol and procedures. Push those fears aside and ask as many questions as you need to — don't try to go it alone and wade through the shift. 
It's not worth a personal injury, medical error or other mistake that could put a patient's life at risk — use it as an opportunity to learn new skills from someone in a different specialty.



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