Just the basics.

Floater: Q&A

I’m sure all of my readers know what I do for a living; I’m a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department. I believe I did a post about being a Physician Assistant previously, going into detal about the profession, requirements and what exactly we do.

This post is a little different.

As a “floater” for my company, I travel to many different Emergency Departments as well as Urgent Cares in the Western Pennsylvania area. I think my total right now is up to around 15 different sites.

Throughout my past year with my company, I have been asked multiple times, by multiple people, the following questions, so I figured I would also answer them on here.

Do you like being a floater?
This is the number one question I get all the time. Usually it’s the first question I get. “Do you like traveling around?” I absolutely love being a floater. If I didn’t love it, I would change my position and look for a full-time, because I am not a person to stick around at a job I don’t like.

Being a floater, I get paid a little bit more, I get re-imbursed for my mileage (which for me means I never pay out of pocket for my gas), and I get re-imbursed if I have to spend the night in a hotel at a far site.

Floating around has also given me so much experience. Each ED is different, as far as their acuity goes, their doctors, their patients, and their whole set up. Working at Magee has opened my eyes totally to Women’s Health and helped me to feel more comfortable around pregnant women.

Depending on the ED I am at, I get to choose what kind of patient’s I want to see. Sometimes I’m stuck in “Fast Track” and seeing the easy stuff. Sometimes I pick up whatever I want, including abdominal pains and chest pains. I try to gain experience from each patient and learn as much as possible.

What is your favorite place to go?

Honestly, there is only one facility I absolutely despise and I will not put that out over the blog-o-sphere.

I absolutely love UPMC McKeesport, UPMC East, and St. Clair. The staff at these facilities is unmached to any other side. They are always curtious, helpful, and friendly to me as a floater.

How long will you stay a floater?

I honestly have no idea. There are extenders in my company who have been floaters for 15 years. There are some who cannot handle it and quit after 4 months. So far I love it, and am not ready to “settle in” anywhere.

Where would you go full time if you could?

I don’t know. Like I said, I really love UPMC Mckeesport and East, as well as St. Clair, but at this point I can’t imagine staying in one place forever. There’s too much drama involved at full-time places, and too much of the same redundency staying in one place. Traveling switches things up. I could piss someone off one day at this ED, and not be back there for 2 months. By that time, the person who I pissed off doesn’t even remember and we get along great.

I also don’t have much going on in my life right now (with kids) that I would need to stay in one place. Some sites are 1 hour away, some are 15 minutes away. Some sites are easier than others, some are harder. Even with kids, I don’t know that I want to ever be held down to one facility.

My schedule rocks in that I only work 3 or 4 days a week and then have 2 or 3 days off. I also have more flexibility with requesting time off. I even have the ability to pick up as many shifts as I want since I’m credentialed at 5 million places if we need some extra cash.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Those are the most common questions that I receive about being a floater. Now you have some insight into my job aspects as a floater.

If anyone else has any questions about being a PA or my job at all, don’t hesitate to ask!


4 thoughts on “Floater: Q&A”

  1. This is really interesting to read about. I actually think I would like it a lot too because there is no one place that holds you down if that makes sense. If you are having a personality conflict, it isn’t like you see that person every day and plus being around different types of people and environments all the time is just so cool.

  2. Sounds very interesting. I don’t think that type of job scheduling would be for me. Not that I wouldn’t mind having a few days off, work a few days, have a few more days off but I am really loving my schedule of 10-6 because I can sleep in later than I used to at my previous job. I imagine depending on where you work determines how late you can sleep. Plus I think you work some pretty long hours sometimes and again, I like my sleep lol. But I am glad it works for you and your life!

  3. This was such a cool post! I loved learning about what you do and that you enjoy being a floater! Maybe one day you will be my PA if I have to go to the doctor! I’d probably see you at UPMC East ;). I’m not going to lie, I’m dying to know which location you despise :p

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