How to write an essay on Floating In Nursing

How to write an essay on Floating In Nursing

What is floating?

Floating is a form of resource sharing in healthcare settings to cater to staffing shortages.  It entails when a nurse is being sent to work on another unit where the patient’s needs are different from those the nurse encountered in their home unit.  Most nursing department managers keep float books to track nurses’ schedules to float (O’Connor & Dugan, 2017).   Working as a float nurse can trigger frustration, stress, and anxiety. Additionally, working in an unfamiliar environment can interfere with the quality of care being administered to the patient.  Floating may be within the scope of practice but not within their acquired skill set.  However, floating has various advantages to the healthcare setting. Firstly it is a cost-effective way for coping with a fluctuating patient census.  In some cases, floating is appropriate compared to calling in nurses who may work at an overtime rate or using urgency staffing that may make the organization spend more.

Impact Of Floating On Quality Of Patient Care And Patient Safety

Floating may interfere with patient safety either positively or negatively.  When floating is not done correctly, it may increase the risk of medical errors. It may lead to certain mistakes that may affect care outcomes (O’Connor & Dugan, 2017). These nurses may lack unit-specific knowledge or even address the patient’s concerns effectively hence threatening the safety of the care. Additionally, the nurse may not recognize whether there is a decline in the patient’s condition. If they present themselves to the new unit, they will not understand the status of the patients before being transferred there. This may further lead to the deterioration of the patient’s condition.  Floating may impact the motivation and morale of the nurses. It can also lead to nursing burnout. According to studies, nursing burnout is commonly related to the high rate of medication errors in the healthcare setting. Medication errors affect the well-being of the patient causing poor healthcare outcomes.

Floating affects the quality of healthcare services in the healthcare setting.  When the nurses are not properly oriented to the new unit they are working in, they may not provide appropriate care to the patients. Lack of orientation may lead to the nurses’ inability to locate various healthcare supplies and equipment, which may delay the care. Delay in providing healthcare may cause the patient’s condition to worsen.  Secondly, a lack of familiarity with the unit and the patient may make the nurse unable to answer or address the patient’s concerns leading to dissatisfaction with care.  Elements such as burnout, anxiety, and frustration may also interfere with the quality of care provided. In some cases, nurses do not understand certain tasks that have been allocated to them, leading to poor quality.

Professionalism During Nursing Floating

Regardless of the setting, nurses must maintain clinical competence and be accountable for their nursing actions and judgment.  The profession requires nurses to make a willingness and commitment to update their skills to provide competent care regardless of the setting within the scope of nursing (Betts & BC, 2018).   Nurses must understand that a lack of knowledge does not excuse them from responsibility and accountability for the patient’s safety and welfare. Additionally, nurses are required to make a professional judgment when they are determining their competence.

There are various strategies a nurse can utilize to make sure they are professional in floating. The first strategy is that the nurse needs to assess their skill level and competency before accepting to work to another unit. These will enable them to know what interventions they are skilled in and what they are not (Tetik et al., 2021). This will prevent the nurse from being taken to a unit where she is not competent in doing any nursing procedures specific to the department. Secondly, the nurse should not accept to perform any task that is not within their scope of practice. This will reduce the threat to patient safety and boost the outcome of care.  It will also prevent the emergence of ethical and legal issues from the department that could affect the ability of the nurse to work in the future. Thirdly the nurse needs to review the unit’s procedures and policies to gain the necessary knowledge to perform specific nursing interventions.  The nurse can confer with the nurses working in the setting to familiarize themselves with the schedule that occurs in the setting.  The fourth strategy is to inform the manager who is reassigning them that the assignment they are being given is beyond their competency level. The nurse needs to exercise their right to protest of assignment without the fear of reprisal.

Role Of Nursing Leaders And Managers In Effective Floating

Nursing leaders and managers have differing roles in effective floating and preventing floating from interfering with the quality and safety of healthcare services. Managers are responsible for floating. There are various strategies managers can utilize to ensure effective floating of nurses. Firstly managers should validate the skills and competency to accomplish the needs of diverse patient populations of the new unit. This will guarantee the floating of the nurses to the areas they can comfortably work in hence improving the quality of care and reducing the safety concerns.  Secondly, the managers need to make informed choices when assigning patients to the new floated nurse. This should be based on their experience, competence, skills, and qualifications. The manager can also make the necessary adjustments when the skills and knowledge required to perform certain tasks are outside of an individual’s skillsets. This will ensure that the nurse only tackles those tasks they are comfortable or skilled to do. Thirdly the managers should not assign nursing tasks that are not within the nurse’s scope of practice. This will prevent the emergence of legal and ethical implications in the healthcare setting.

Leaders have the responsibility of ensuring the floated nurse is conversant with the new working environment. They can streamline the nurse to the mission and the objectives of the organization.  Nurse leaders can do the following: first, they need to orient the new nurse into the working environment (Tetik et al., 2021). Orientation helps the nurse to familiarize themselves with the working environment, the patients, and the resources available in the setting. The nurse will understand the type of patients they will be dealing with, including their health status and well-being. It will also enable the nurses to know where the supplies are; hence, they will not waste a lot of time looking for medical supplies. Secondly, the leader has a role of ensuring proper organization of the setting and proper workflow.

In some cases, floating may cause frustrations and a lack of organization in the setting. The leader can do this by allocating the staff different tasks so that each member understands their role in the specific unit.  Finally, the leader can motivate or boost the morale of the floated nurse to increase their output. When the floated nurse feels supported by other healthcare providers, they are likely to be motivated to perform their roles in the healthcare setting.

Additional aspects of managers and leaders to demonstrate professionalism.

To ensure professionalism, nursing leaders should initiate various aspects to ensure professionalism.  Putting the patient first. In whatever thing they are doing, the patient should always be the priority. All the decisions made should be focused on improving the quality and the safety of patient care.  The second aspect is proper communication.  The nurses and managers need to utilize effective communication strategies, which is key in boosting interprofessional collaboration. Proper communication will also enable them to address the concerns and the needs of the nurses and the patients.  The managers and the leaders need to be able to mentor and collaborate with other nurses.  They should be able to mentor the floated nurse to boost their morale and ensure they are acting according to the norms of the unit.  The other aspects they should initiate include leadership, conflict resolution, adaptability, critical thinking, and allowing the employees to grow and develop in a supportive environment.

Leadership style

The leadership style effective in managing floating in nursing is the transformational leadership style.  The style requires the leader or manager to motivate their employees to take ownership of their roles and perform beyond expectations (Iqbal et al., 2020).  During floating, leaders and managers can inspire and motivate the nurses to enable them to find ways to achieve the common goals and objectives of your organization.  They can motivate the floated nurse into the groups, raise their morale, and raise their well-being. The style’s main focus is to provide the new employees with a platform to perform their tasks effectively.  Transformational leadership allows the leaders to solve challenges and work to change the system to improve the quality of services provided.


Betts, D. N. P., & BC, T. T. (2018). Transitioning Experienced General Care Float Pool Nurses to a Critical Care Float Pool.

Iqbal, K., Fatima, T., & Naveed, M. (2020). The impact of transformational leadership on nurses’ organizational commitment: A multiple mediation model. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology, and Education10(1), 262-275.

O’Connor, K., & Dugan, J. L. (2017). Addressing floating and patient safety. Nursing202047(2), 57-58.

Teti̇k, T. Y., Baykal, Ü., & Göktepe, N. (2021). Nurse Managers’ views on why nurses leave their jobs: A qualitative study. Collegian.

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