Floating — 5.6 of your contract requires that nurses who are asked to float be properly trained and oriented. One might ask, “So this is a crisis, isn’t any nurse better than no nurse?” The answer may be no. Your obligations under the nurse practice act to practice to the standard of care are not waived during this crisis. Whether or not a dangerous floating condition exists will be different for everyone so some of these links may be helpful as you make decisions about your practice:
If I decide I must refuse a dangerous assignment, what should I do? You may have to make a decision about accepting an assignment involving abnormally dangerous conditions that pose an imminent risk to your safety and health, and could potentially cause serious injury or death. If you are a WSNA member and you accept an abnormally dangerous assignment, fill out an ADO to document that you are accepting an assignment despite objection.
If you have already accepted the assignment, your professional license may be at risk if you fail to continue that assignment, unless you have handed off the assignment and have been relieved of responsibility for the patient. If you decide to refuse the assignment, you should remain at the workplace and offer to perform other work that does not pose an imminent risk to your safety and health (e.g., an assignment for which you are provided proper safety equipment and training).
A decision to refuse an assignment could result in disciplinary action taken against you by the employer. Under collective bargaining agreements between employers and WSNA, there must be “just cause” for any discipline. If you are represented by WSNA for collective bargaining, we would defend you if you are subjected to unjust discipline, but resolution of any such discipline would likely be delayed and the outcome may be uncertain as a result of the current national and state emergency declarations.
Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Representative Sara Frey at email@example.com.