Survive floating as a nurse? It’s possible! You may have heard the term “floating” from nurses one way or another. While this term seems new, it has been used by many nurses in the unit before. So what is it?
The term floating is used for a registered nurse who fills the short-staffed unit. They are also sometimes called float pool nurses and can be seen working in any area of a health care facility.
A floating nurse is the “reassignment of staff from one nursing unit to another, based upon the patient census and acuities.” They are an essential part of the healthcare staff and help to ensure that all areas are adequately staffed.
Hospitals consider this a positive solution for saving money through resource utilization. It continues to be a staffing practice in health care facilities throughout the country. If you happen to be a floating nurse, this episode is for you.
Today we will talk about how to survive floating as a nurse. It’s another day in the office when you walk into your unit, and you look at the assignment sheet and discover you have been assigned to float to another department. How you respond to this news can make or break the assignment.
How to Survive Floating as a Nurse
Not every nurse needs to float but there are many hospital positions that you can enter that allow you to float. Most of the time, floating nurses pay well. It is also a good reason why many nurses join the float pool. It is even better if you are a travel nurse.
Floating is challenging to get used to. Sometimes, a little bit impossible. It is because many nurses are unfamiliar with how things work in different units. The new environment can also be overwhelming. But the good news is that many nurses thrive in this position, no matter where they are.
In some cases, nurses choose to float because they like the idea of helping out units that need nurses the most.
1. Remain Calm
Why are you taking me off my unit? The first thing when you realize you’re floating usually your mood changes but don’t feel like to world is ending. Positivity and confidence are the keys. Go to the floating unit with a positive attitude to be welcoming to the new unit.
It makes such a difference when you ground yourself in positivity. Knowing no matter what happens, this shift will end and I will provide great patient care. This attitude will also set the mood for how your shift will go.
A lot of times floating nurses face unfamiliarity. This unfamiliarity may result in losing their confidence. Don’t forget you studied for over 4 years + to get your degree. Being in the position you’re in today, or the number of years of experience you have under your belt.
Start that positive self-talk with yourself. Remember, as a nurse you know what you have to do to take care of your patients. You’re good enough to be in the position that you’re in. Keeping calm and gathering your thoughts before working can also help.
2. Ask questions/learn the unit preferences
The best way to figure out the unit protocols or fit in is by asking what they do and why. After the huddle, go introduce yourself to the charge nurse. Tell her you’re floating from another floor. If possible, ask if she can show you around the important thing you need to know about the unit.
Remember, don’t hesitate or be afraid to ask questions. You have the whole shift to do that. Ask as many questions as you can so you are familiar with how the unit works.
Where is the medication room?
Do you have access to the pyxis?
Where is the supply room?
Are there standard charting or orders for this unit?
Where is the equipment room?
Where is the nutrition room?
There might be different standing orders or charting protocol
Rhythm strips, pt weights
Specific handoff reports?
Specific medications to be signed off?
Accuchecks in the morning, are you covering the insulin
3. Speak up
No one knows if you don’t know something or if you’re struggling. Like any relationship communication is key. If you’re having a busy shift because you spent a lot of time getting yourself familiar with the unit, speak up. Make your needs known, most of the time everyone is helpful.
When floating from the ICU: you can’t do everything for every patient
This isn’t the ICU, you can’t do everything
Importance of time management
Give recommendations but ultimately its the physician’s call
This is All a Learning Experience
In the younger nursing days, we pray not to get floated. We still to this day prefer to work in our home unit, but we have a positive outlook when it comes down to floating. Being challenged is a good thing, new experiences are what creates growth. Don’t be stuck in your own bubble because you hinder your growth.
You too can survive being a floating nurse, here’s what you need to know 👇
00:00 Intro 00:44 Plugs 01:55 Episode Introduction 03:41 Tip #1: Remain Calm 07:39 Tip #2: Ask Questions 09:13 Things to ask: Where is the medication and nutrition room? 11:03 Things to ask: Where are the supply room and the equipment room? 17:47 Tip #3: Speak up 22:44 Tip #4: This is All a Learning Experience 25:08 Shadowing other nurses to learn 27:34 Sometimes Floating is not always good times
One of the essential things to secure as a travel nurse is your accommodation or housing. Whether you are a seasoned travel nurse or just starting on your first assignment, you must settle in a place that is already furnished, so you don’t have to worry about where to sleep, cook or take a shower after shifts. It would be best to secure a place to stay during the duration of your work, and these house hunting tips for travel nurses are the answer.
House Hunting Tips for Travel Nurses 101
Looking for suitable accommodation, apartment, room, or housing during your assignment as a travel nurse can be stressful. But the question is, would you prefer looking for accommodation and receiving a stipend? Or let the agency take care of it, so you don’t have to worry? Are you bringing your pets along? – indeed, looking for a house or apartment to accommodate all your needs as a travel nurse is challenging. But, don’t worry, these tips can help you with that.
Tip #1. Beware of “Too Good to be True” Offers
There are plenty of places to look for housing as a travel nurse, but you must be wary of where you are looking. One of the most common places to look for is Craigslist. No doubt about it, there are many good sources of for-rent units on this website, and there are also bad ones. How can you distinguish the difference? If the offer is too good, too cheap, and almost impossible to believe in, then you might skip that one because it could be a scam. A good source will always have positive feedback and reasonable prices. If you find one that offers you cheap accommodation in a well-off location, then there is a chance that you are being baited for a scam.
Tip #2. Look at ALL options.
You have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to housing and accommodation. However, it will also depend on your preference. It would be best if you checked out all your options first before deciding which one to pursue.
Option A is staying at hotels. Plenty of hotels or motels offer long-term stays for 30 days, perfect for travel nurses like you. Low night rates and tax breaks are also provided if you book an extended stay. If this is the option you would like to take, be sure to call the hotel manager ahead to make arrangements.
Option B, on the other hand, is staying on Airbnb locations. These are usually popular choices for many travel nurses and travelers alike. Not only do you get to pick the spot of the Airbnb, but you can also view the kind of bedrooms you will be using. As someone who travels for work, you may need one bedroom (if you are working alone) or something small for your convenience. You can also choose to live close to the facility you are working, or downtown where you can enjoy the sites and do exciting things after your shift.
Whatever option you choose, make sure that the accommodation you pick suits all your needs.
Tip #3. Find a Roommate or Work with One.
Another good tip for house hunting as a travel nurse is finding a roommate with whom you can share the rent and save expenses. It could be a fellow travel nurse you are assigned with or a traveler staying in the accommodation for long-terms .
When choosing a location for work, check if you have relatives or friends living nearby. While having accommodation is excellent, you can also live with family or friends living near the facility you are working as a travel nurse. Of course, IF and only IF you are allowed to live with them. If not, choosing to have a place of your own is always a good idea. Besides, you don’t want to disturb anyone, especially if you are assigned on night shifts.
Tip #4. Do Some Research Before Accepting a Job Offer.
As a travel nurse, you are often looking forward to your next assignment. However, it would be best if you also do your research before accepting any job .
First, understand what benefits you can get if the agency finds the accommodation for you. Many travel nurses utilize this option when it comes to housing needs. One of the benefits of this is that agencies can find you a suitable place to stay, especially if the work location does not have a lot of options to choose from. It also saves you time and energy looking for a place to stay. Using the ones provided by your agency is more practical.
You must also understand what furnished means when it comes to finding a place to stay. When we say that the home is “furnished,” it means that it already has the amenities you need for the duration of your stay. This type of accommodation is helpful for travel nurses who do not like to bring furniture or housing necessities when traveling. Of course, every location to go to is different, and when they say furnished, the things included could be a dresser, dining table, couch, or chairs. Keep in mind that washers/dryers, microwaves, iron, and others are not always included. It would be best to visit the place or talk to the manager about what you would like to be included in your accommodation before you stay there. Otherwise, you will bring some necessities with you.
Tip #5. Pet-friendly Housing is a Must.
Some travel nurses love to travel with their dogs or cats. If you have a pet and would like to bring them along, be sure to remember this house hunting tip for travel nurses – check if the accommodation allows pets.
If you want your agency to find you a place to stay, be upfront about bringing your pet/s with you. It would make your life easier, but if you are looking for a place to stay, calling and personally asking if pets are allowed in your housing is a must.
These House Hunting Tips for Travel Nurses are Practical
Finding a suitable place to stay during your assignment as a travel nurse can be stressful, but if you want to save yourself from this predicament, it would be best to use your agency and let them find one for you. Of course, extra stipends are helpful, but be practical if you are stressed about looking for accommodations.
Being a travel nurse has its advantages. But while it sounds fun, the perks of travel nursing have their ups and downs. If you love traveling and nursing, becoming a travel nurse is the best job for you! But what is a travel nurse, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of working as one?
As a travel nurse, you will be meeting a lot of people and going to different places. You will also work with other travel nurses and even meet some of the best healthcare workers along the way. Here’s what you need to know about this job.
What is a Travel Nurse?
There has been a nationwide shortage of nurses ever since the pandemic hit the world. Travel nursing is an appealing career option for nurses who wish to work and travel simultaneously. Typically, travel nurses are registered nurses with at least a year of clinical experience, working on short-term assignments for 8 to 13 weeks.
Travel nurses are usually in contract with agencies. The agencies are the ones responsible for assigning nurses to different facilities for work. Working hours also vary for travel nurses depending on the contract; some require 36 hours per week while others are flexible.
Some hospitals may require a BSN to qualify, but if you have an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, you are also fit to become a travel nurse as long as you pass the NCLEX exams. 
Perks of Travel Nursing: The Pros
Being a travel nurse is an exciting position! If you love traveling and do not want to be stuck in one place for work, then this is the job for you.
It is an adventure
Boredom is not an option for travel nursing. You get to see the entire country because this job will take you throughout 50 states. You can pick places where you can mix work and recreation too. For example, if you love hiking, trekking, and similar activities, you can choose to work in states like Colorado, Washington, Utah, and many others.
Personal and professional flexibility
Besides the adventure, you will also enjoy the flexibility of this work. There is a sense of freedom in this line of profession. You get to choose where you work, the hours you put in, and go to places where you can visit friends and family. Since you are working with recruitment agencies, you have access to see which schedule works best for you and choose the right salary and benefits to go with it.
Nurses working in this field are well-compensated. A travel nurse can earn $35-$56 per hour, depending on which part of the country they are working in. There is also compensation for travel nurses that are working overtime as well as other incentives.
You’ll meet different kinds of people and learn new skills
One of the best perks of travel nursing is that you get to meet different kinds of people. You will also work with healthcare professionals in various states in the country, so you get the opportunity to learn from them. Keep in mind that each health care facility you come across has different health care practices. It is your job to work in every position and explore the parts of nursing that you would love to do.
Avoiding hospital politics and burnout
Unlike other nurses who choose to work in a permanent setting, travel nurses won’t have to deal with hospital politics that go around a hospital setting. Being a nurse is stressful, including being uncooperative, and tension among staff can burn you out quickly. If you don’t wish to settle in this kind of setup, being a travel nurse is the revival you need in your career.
You get to help those who need it most
As a nurse, you have a vital role in the health care system, and your job impacts the lives of your patients. Becoming a travel nurse allows you to work in areas where health care is not easily accessible and extend help to those who desperately need it. You will be in the front lines of care where you can see the fruits of your labor.
Perks of Travel Nursing: The Cons
There are good sides to travel nursing and bad ones too. To weigh in if travel nursing is the right job for you, identifying the disadvantages of it will help you decide whether to pursue this career or not.
As a travel nurse, you must have a license to work. You must pass the NCLEX exams and obtain a license to practice. Most of the time, different states in the country require various requirements for a travel nurse to work. If you wish to work as a travel nurse, you must plan before accepting the job. In case you don’t have a license yet, you must apply for one on your own.
Additionally, if you want to work in hospital areas like Operating Room, ICU, and others, other requirements are also needed to qualify for the position. It is best to inquire about these requirements in advance to avoid cramming at the last minute.
Although there are plenty of jobs for travel nurses across the country, one of the downsides of this job is that the pay varies. Each time you sign a contract, agencies will provide you with an allowance, transportation, and even an apartment to stay in during the duration of your contract. However, some will not provide you with everything. You must always have a budget plan while under a contract with a nurse recruiter.
Traveling is tiring
Some people genuinely enjoy the thought of traveling, but if you are traveling for work all time, this could also burn you out. Keep in mind that you are not just going to sit in a bus or airplane for traveling. You must also consider the amount of luggage to bring, your itinerary, insurance, time adjustments, and unfamiliar weather.
Time zones are also a killer; if you wish to work as a travel nurse in other countries. Not only that, but you must also adjust to the health care practices of the facility you will be working in for the next couple of weeks or months.
Adapting to a new living space is also stressful; if you are used to living comfortably in your home, traveling for work gives you a sense of unfamiliarity. It’s one of those perks of travel nursing that isn’t so nice to deal with.
Traveling for work is fun, gets you out of boredom, and you get to see new people. However, there’s a sense of loneliness when you are new to the workplace. You don’t get to be friends with people right away, and you find yourself doing the same routine with the hopes of ending the contract right away.
You also battle homesickness, especially if you are working in a different country. Even if you are a nurse with no dependents, being away from home for extended periods can be trying.
Can’t gain career advancement
There’s always that possibility of not gaining a level up in your nursing career. Compared to staff nurses who work in one area, travel nurses do not have the opportunity to move up with the ranks and become senior staff members. And unlike senior staff nurses, travel nurses are often called to places when agencies request them to go.
In short, travel nurses cannot pick their schedule and work fewer on weekends compared to other nurses with more advanced ranks.
Is Travel Nursing for You?
If you love traveling and have the spirit for new adventures as a nurse, then travel nursing is the best job for you! The perks of travel nursing are great, don’t be afraid to grab the opportunity. Make sure to research before accepting a job offer. Weighing the pros and cons of travel nursing can help in your decisions as well. Remember, the chance of gaining new experiences and learning about yourself in the process are all part of this adventure, don’t miss out on it!