My Specialty

Float Pool Charge Nurse

Leading and supporting nurses in different units across the hospital

Nurse Ashley Beloat standing in front of MLK Hospital

Ashley Beloat, RN
Night Shift Relief Charge Nurse
Med-Surg/Telemetry Float Pool
MLK Community Healthcare Los Angeles

Tell us about the arc of your nursing career.

After nursing school, I worked in progressive care and then on a stroke unit, and an oncologist I worked with had me come to his clinic a few days a week to help with accessing ports and doing labs.

I then moved to a different city and worked on the cardiac unit of a trauma hospital. The oncology unit was next door, so I handled both types of patients at the same time. It was a great experience. Whenever they needed to float someone, it was usually me, so I’d also sometimes float to neurosurgery.

When I moved to California, I got a job in the float pool since I felt equipped to do that. I now run around from the ED to the ICU to take care of stepdown patients as well as floating to our med-surg/telemetry floors.

I really enjoy the fast pace and high-adrenaline situations. Most of the time, I also work as a relief charge nurse, and I enjoy being there for my nurses. Supporting them in high-stress moments makes me feel really useful.

MLKCH has a strong a presence in the community. We have the hospital and multiple clinics for primary care and follow-up.

What else do you like about being in a leadership role?

I work night shift, which is a situation where the hospitalists don’t have the full knowledge of the patients that the day team does. So, whenever I’m charge for the night, I try to think critically about everyone’s patients and catch things before they become a complication for both the patient and the nurse.

I like being a voice and an advocate for my nurses, working closely with the hospitalists and coordinating with the charge nurses on other units to make sure my nurses get what they need.

It helps that I float to so many units as charge and know everyone. The hospitalists know my name by now, since I talk to them throughout the night.

It’s very gratifying to be the one who can go to the bedside, address patients’ concerns, help them feel heard, and find ways to get their needs met. I also truly enjoy teaching my nurses.

How does working as a float nurse affect your relationships with patients?

Since I float to so many units, I’ll sometimes see patients in the ED and then upstairs once they’re admitted, which I really like. Patients are relieved when they see a familiar face, which is nice for both them and me. I like developing those relationships.

Some of our patients have never been to the doctor, and some are getting diagnoses they are just learning about, although their conditions may be quite advanced. It’s a patient population that requires a lot of empathy and that definitely benefits from teaching. Every second with a patient is valuable in helping them to manage their symptoms.

The thing I appreciate about the float pool culture at MLK, is that you’re never alone. We check on each other frequently — especially me, since I’m a real helicopter parent when I’m serving as charge.

What skills do you most make use of?

My role gives my critical thinking skills a real workout. If I have five nurses working, and some of them may go through as many as eight patients in a night, that’s a lot of nurses and patients I’m overseeing.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can look at the patient and, without even seeing their chart, recognize that, for example, they’re a heart failure patient, so we’re going to be watching closely for fluid overload, give Lasix, watch for potassium depletion, and so on.

I’m also increasingly comfortable reaching out to the doctors proactively — for example, requesting a change of orders, or asking them to take a closer look at something so we can head a potential issue off at the pass.

We have some amazing new grads, and I love teaching them about what we need to watch for and how to do the little extra things that can help make the patient comfortable, like getting them a hot pack or an extra pillow. It may take more time, but it means a lot. Leadership, teaching, critical thinking — these are the skills I love exercising the most.

Has someone mentored you in a way that really mattered?

At my first nursing job, there was a rapid response nurse who would circulate around the hospital and look in on patients who weren’t doing so well. He had such a heart for teaching, and he would take the time to sit and talk. It was lovely for an experienced nurse to show me that respect when I was so new, helping me grow without my even realizing it was happening. He left a lasting impression on me, and that’s the kind of leader I aspire to be.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years in terms of your nursing career?

I used to picture myself with a master’s degree, but so much of my career has been following the road to where I’m needed most, so I truly don’t know where I’ll be in a decade. I could enjoy being a relief charge nurse for years, but I might also enjoy the chance to be a full-time leader or manager — either of those possibilities could be great.

KEITH CARLSON, RN, BSN, NC-BC, has worked as a nurse since 1996 and offers expert professional coaching at

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