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What is the liability to RNs required to work outside the obstetrics, L&D and nursing specialties areas where they typically work?

Tuesday July 29, 2014
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Dear Donna,

Our hospital is floating our obstetrics, labor and delivery and nursery nurses to work as nurses on other floors. What is the liability to RNs who work outside this specialty area as a staff nurse? Do other hospitals do this? I find no good evidence of floating LD nurses to Med/Surg or ICU/PCU.

Does Not Want to Float

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Does Not Want to Float,

Floating, in general, is a common practice in hospitals and there are situations and employers where specialized nurses are asked to float to other areas. But there are liabilities for both parties, the nurse and the employer. You may find this response by Nancy Brent, RN, nurse attorney,
helpful: (http://News.Nurse.com/Article/20131211/ALL0/131209007#.U9d2Omd0yM8).

I would suggest that you first check with your state chapter and national office of a related specialty association such as the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org) about how common the practice is in your state and if there have ever been any related problems.

They may also have resources and advice for you to stop the practice of L&D nurses floating to other specialties in your facility. You should also talk to your supervisor, as a group ideally, about your concerns. If necessary, you may want to consult a nurse attorney for additional advice and support.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.