One of the things I love most about nursing is that there is always variety. Nurses can work in multiple settings and specialties. As you are considering what kind of nursing job you want, what shift you want to work, or what specialty you want to pursue, another position to think about is being a float nurse. Before we look into the benefits of being a float nurse, let’s discover what being a float nurse is.
What is a float nurse?
In nursing, “floating” refers to moving from one unit to another. In some cases, nurses who are permanently assigned to a specific unit may be asked to float to another unit because of staffing needs. However, some facilities establish a float pool. In these facilities, nurses are hired specifically to float from unit to unit as staff needs require. In this blog, being part of a float pool is the kind of position I will be discussing.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s explore what I think are some of the top benefits of being a float nurse.
Float nurses are utilized on an as-needed or PRN basis in many cases. This makes these positions great for nurses looking for a lot of flexibility. In my experience (each facility is different), float nurses are able to specify dates of availability for scheduling purposes. This gives nurses more control over their scheduled work days and shifts. It is important to note, that minimum requirements still generally need to be met. Being in the float pool doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have to work weekends or holidays but it can make it easier for you to take a specific day off or schedule vacation time. Flexibility is just one of the benefits of being a float nurse.
Another one of the fantastic benefits of being a float nurse is that you will gather a variety of clinical experiences. Float nurses have the opportunity to work in multiple specialty areas and treat different kinds of patients each day. This helps to develop clinical assessment skills as well as sharpen skills in communication and teamwork. Float nurses work with a variety of colleagues and grow relationships with fellow staff members all over the facility. If you are a person that likes each day to be different, then this will surely make your list of benefits of being a float nurse.
Every hospital has different pay structures for nurses. However, it is not uncommon to see float pool nurses make a higher hourly wage than their permanently assigned counterparts. This can be for many reasons. Some reasons include: uncertainty of the nursing assignment for each day, the added impact of that stress on the individual nurse, and the possible lack of guaranteed hours. Another consideration when it comes to compensation is that some float pool positions are not eligible for benefits like paid vacation and health insurance. If you don’t need benefits or guaranteed full-time hours, the benefits of being a float nurse with higher hourly compensation can be quite appealing. It is certainly something to consider if you find yourself thinking about taking one of these float nurse positions.
There are so many opportunities awaiting you as a nurse. Whether you have been a nurse for years and are looking for a change or you have just passed your NCLEX-RN and are exploring your options, the benefits of being a float nurse could make a float nurse position a great fit for you!