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Floating: The Ins and Outs of Quality Care


Many travel nurses understand that when they begin an assignment, being placed on the list of “next up to float” is generally a standard expectation. The key to high quality patient care by a nurse who has floated to a specific area is ensuring that he or she has experience providing that level of care. For example, a common misconception is that an ICU nurse can float to Telemetry or Med Surg. If they can take care of a critical patient certainly Tele or Med/Surg is no big deal!

However, ICU nursing focuses on total patient care and the anticipation of problems before they occur. The ICU nurse simultaneously assesses multiple organ systems and can often predict a situation that is about to happen. The Telemetry nurse provides care for more patients and many of the duties can be task oriented while the nurse is still on high alert for issues to occur. The Med/Surg nurse can have many patients throughout the day and must be a master of task orientation and time management. The nurse may have several admits and discharges throughout the day and be able to navigate the documentation system well to ensure it all goes smoothly.

You can see how the ICU nurse might get bogged down on a Telemetry unit focusing on the multiple organ systems and anticipating problems with multiple patients – many more than the nurse is used to. And if the telemetry nurse doesn’t have the time management skills or experience that it takes to stay organized for many Med/Surg patients that are coming and going throughout the shift, they can sink pretty quickly with the documentation.

There are several things you can do to ensure the high quality of care when your supplemental employees float:

  1. First and foremost, they should have clinical experience in the area they are floating to.
  2. Secondly, provide orientation to the unit they are floating to. Make sure the nurse knows who the resources are on the unit and where the essential supplies are kept.
  3. Finally, be transparent about the floating requirements to both FocusOne Solutions and the supplemental employee you are interviewing. If the conversation begins with the Operations Consultant when the need for a position is realized, it allows FocusOne to find the quality candidates with experience in the areas they will be working. The communication about expectations can ensure high quality care for your patients.

Stacy Laue, BSN
Director of Clinical Services

 Stacy brings over 20 years of healthcare experience to her role at FocusOne Solutions. With her clinical background as an ICU Nurse, along with her role as a leader in a large healthcare organization, she brings particular insight to the internal processes at FOS. Her primary focus is quality and she has implemented programs and new pathways to ensure the quality of the candidates that are placed by FocusOne. Stacy has a passion for patient care in the ever changing landscape of healthcare today. She has quickly become a resource for clients for best practices in managing their travel staff.

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