Addressing the Needs of Staff Nurses
Itʼs not just hospitals where nurses are most likely to float. Nurses in home health, clinics, and other ambulatory settings may also need to help cover other nurseʼs responsibilities from time to time.
Perhaps the most difficult part about floating is the administrationʼs attitude about it. Float or go home and “youʼre fired.” On one hand, bullying in the workplace is not tolerated, and yet this same type of attitude prevails when administration has to puff out its chest and force nurses to float. This often leads to more resentment about having to float than is really necessary.
Nursing administration needs to learn to think outside the box and come up with better ways to deal with the ups and downs of the census and staffing. As our mothers taught us, you can gather more with honey than with vinegar.
Sometimes just the very act of saying, “Thank You” to the nurses who have to float can go a long way in making this a less stressful situation. Everyone wants and needs to feel appreciated, and just because the policy says nurses have to float does not excuse anyone from using common courtesies!
Some hospitals form float pools and offer incentives to nurses who will float. This can be very successful except when the situation requires even more nurses to float in a given day or week. If these additional nurses arenʼt given the same perks, resentments can quickly build. It can be hard to leave a float pool once youʼre in and that can become a problem.