How can we provide optimal care for all critical care units without having nurses work outside their comfort zones?

Floating a nurse outside his or her specialty area is a major cause of anxiety that decreases job satisfaction and morale.1 Most nurses, when hearing the word “float,” become apprehensive. They anticipate that they are going to have to work outside their comfort and safety zone, in an environment of uncertainty that is external to their area of expertise.1 Floating is a short-term solution to a long-term problem and is a practice that is loathed by many nurses.1 Floating is perceived as disruptive.2 

Floating off regular units is considered a negative change.3 Floating of staff implies that nurses work as generalists, yet in today’s environment, care is highly specialized.4 Nurses must use their expertise and skills to make certain that the care demands of patients...

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