Nursing: Float Assignments

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About the Course

Target Audience: The intended audience for this one-hour course is nurses hoping to gain insight regarding some of the drawbacks of float nursing, as well as the assessment of competency in float nurses 

Course Overview: As a solution to nurse shortages, nurse call-outs, and unexpected patient censuses, many hospitals have developed floating programs. Even hospitals without a float program or team will often ask their nurses to float to other units. While this can be an effective tool with financial benefits, floating can also cause stress, lead to nurse retention problems, and adversely affect the patient experience. Competence development and assessment is an important component of developing a successful float program. This article will review select considerations regarding float nursing and competency development and assessment.


  • State the effects floating can have on the institution, units, staff, and patients.
  • Discuss the importance of competency assessment and validation.
  • Describe different processes used to ensure that competency is maintained when nurses are floated to units that are not their own.

About the Author

Kristin E. Davies, MSN, RN-BC

Kristin E. Davies is clinical educator and student nurse coordinator at Grand View Hospital, Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

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