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By November 15, 2016 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take a multi-hospital float position?

Ask a Travel Nurse

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take a multi-hospital float position?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hello! I’m an RN in Boston and looking into my first Travel Nurse experience. I’ve already applied to a company and started the process. My top location pick was Austin, Texas as I’ve heard great things about the city. I also have a friend there — which is a huge plus as I’d like to know at least one person! Long story short: A position opened up and I was submitted for it. Only after the phone interview did I find out it is a float position between four different facilities in the area. I would be called from day to day before each shift telling me where to go. I don’t want to miss a good opportunity but I also feel like this is a bit much for my first experience as a Travel Nurse. I’m afraid it would make it hard for me to make friends and get my feet under me if I am going to a new floor and hospital every shift. What are your thoughts as an experienced travel RN? Thanks!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Hello Meghan. My thoughts … well, I actually thought of several awful things (being hit by a bus was included), that I would rather have happen to me than the scenario of which you wrote.

I hope I didn’t overstate too much, but I have never taken a float assignment knowingly. I did have the unfortunate experience working at a hospital in San Francisco that was contracted to be based in a certain unit, but only found out about my float responsibilities, the first shift out of orientation. This was also the only travel assignment on which I ever seriously thought about “walking” on my contract for safety issues.

I would have to know your specific situation to know if I could rightly advise you NOT to take this. Something like, “you’ve been waiting for six months just to get a phone call,” and even then, I might still find reasons to advise you to decline.

Yes, there are pluses to the assignment of which you spoke. But there are also some quite large disadvantages, most of which you seem to be aware. I also don’t like not having a home unit. It is very hard to get to know people and become a trusted member of the team. Even though I had a good buddy of mine that was working close to San Francisco, he was the only person with whom I would hang out during my entire assignment. Since he worked a regular 9 to 5, we’d pretty much only get to hang on the weekends I had off. It was a pretty lonely assignment.

From what you described, you are essentially working as a registry Traveler, possibly never staying in the same place on consecutive nights. You wouldn’t have much patient continuity, even when you do work your shifts in a row.

This is a HARD assignment. Due to that, it’s not a great intro into Travel Nursing. We can’t all hit Maui on our first outing, but going someplace fun is something I feel necessary for nurses to fall in love with the idea of travel. For the most part, I enjoy my job as a nurse and relish any assignment where I am found counting the hours to my next day off.

If you have not had much luck in fielding offers, you may need to look at your second or third preferred location or try signing up with more travel companies to open you up to more opportunities.

I’m sorry that I may not have added much to this as far as the downside, because again, you seem aware of many of these aspects. However, you have to trust one basic instinct with Travel Nursing — your intuition. The fact that you are doubting this tells me you have your reservations. I don’t feel like I would be too far out of line telling you to trust your gut on this one.

I hope this helps.


Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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