The quick answer is that not all assignments require you to float -- but most do. In most locations when census numbers drop, travelers and staff will float to units that have needs. You will be floated to units in which your specific skills can be best utilized.
Keep in mind that the facility is paying you a premium rate for your services. For you to sit idle at premium pay would make no sense. You also want to get your hours while on this assignment. So, floating is an option when census numbers drop.
In some locations, facilities, units, etc., travelers are the first to float, while in other locations travelers are in the rotation with the core staff. As nurses, we know we will be called upon to provide care wherever the need exists. Being a traveler does not provide you an exemption from this duty.
All of this is covered in detail with you by your recruiter and in your offer letter. Please take time to ask the questions you need answered so you can make the right decision for you about a specific assignment.
If at any time you feel that you are being floated to a unit that you are not skilled to perform in safely, please notify the Nursing Supervisor at your assigned location. If the issue cannot be resolved, you may call the Cross Country Clinical Manager on call at 800-347-2264. He/she is available to assist you with any concerns you may have, clinically or professionally. The Clinical Manager is available to both you and the client 24/7/365 to assist with any and all issues.
I look forward to more questions from our nurses. Our goal is to make you successful. Please submit your questions here. Remember: no question is out of order - send them all my way!
Always remember the words of Florence Nightingale: “I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.”