Supplemental and Floating Staff

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1. Supplemental and floating staff is when a staff member goes to another department to assist with the staffing issue. Proper nurse staffing is important because it ensures “good patient outcomes, safety, and satisfaction” (Bitanga, 2021). Being short staffed in a crucial department such as ER or ICU, can highly affect the recovery process for the patient. As a nurse works in a variety of departments, it gives them “the experience of working with diverse patient population and other specialties, see how other units function and chance to meet and work with other nurses while building knowledge and skills” (Bitanga, 2021). It may be stressful on a nurse to work in a department other than their own, but it gives them the opportunity to become well-rounded in their patient experience and skills.

Although floating staff can have its advantages, there are many disadvantages as well. Working in a department that is unfamiliar with the nurse can leave them feeling “anxiety, stress, overwhelming, scary, draining, dissatisfaction, disruptive, and feeling of frustration” (Bitanga, 2021) What causes a nurse to have this abundance of feelings is that they do not know what to expect. Nurses do not know everything, so when working outside their specialty, they do not know what to expect.

I believe the advantages and disadvantages of floating staff would vary depending on specific units. For example, an ICU nurse will be very uncomfortable with a labor and delivery unit but might be comfortable on a medsurg floor. Some departments can intertwine with one another, but others have a different set of rules and priorities. I believe it is up to the leadership of the unit to find floating staff that would not be highly out of their comfort zone. In the end, floating staff will affect a patient’s recovery process, and it is essential that the nurse is fit for the job.