Don’t Bite the Hand that Helps You

teeth bitingWhy is it in some areas, when you are floated there or come in as an agency nurse, you are automatically given the worst assignment on the unit.

This assignment may come as an overload of 8 patients when you are an ICU nurse only used to caring for 2.

Your assignment may be multiple GI Bleed patient and all that entails.

Your assignment may be present to you as “We are only going to give you 3 patients tonight” which translates to “You will be getting the first three admits of the evening.”

These are the units that usually have a small core of long timers that are very tight, a high turnover and can’t figure out why they are always working short-handed.

When someone floats to your unit or an agency nurse comes to work with you, they should be looked to as a gift, because that is what they are.

Unnoticed gifts

Think what your day would be like if these “gifts” were not present to help you.

Admittedly, sometimes the help that is sent to you is not always the best fit for the situation, but the day would probably still be worse if they were not present and it is not the nurses fault that they were put in the position so don’t hold it against them.

Most of my experience has been in an ICU setting and that is the setting I am in now.

I worked in my present ICU for about 4-5 months as an agency nurse before coming on to the hospital full-time.

The Agency I was working for had many choices for facilities to work at but the closest hospital, my present hospital, rarely used agency.

So I was left to drive 45-60 minutes to hospitals and when I got there was given an assignment and told to have a nice night.

I got little in the way of introductions or a tour of the facility.

One night I got a call to go to my present facility close to my house and grabbed it.

I was immediately welcomed by everyone in the unit including respiratory and EVS and was asked if I could work the next night also, so I did.

Then I was looking at their needs and began booking myself 2 weeks at a time which was great for the agency and the hospital and I began securing a position for myself.

Once I was sure that it was the right choice, I began talking to the appropriate people.

As an Agency Nurse/Floater, you have responsibilities

When you come into the unit to work, try to make connections with your co-workers.

Getting there early and asking for a short tour helps a lot of times if it is a new facility.

When you are on a unit, treat it as your unit and pitch in and help the others on the unit.

We occasionally get agency nurses that get in their corner, take care of there 2 patients and never lift a finger to assist anyone else…even during codes.

We ask the Supervisors not to let them come back and they usually listen.

The bottom line is that the Floater/Agency nurses need to take ownership just like they belong to the unit which they are assigned and the recieving nurses need to accept them as one of their own.

It is a great system if the nurses allow it to work the way it is suppose to and don’t abuse each other.

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