Can you always get shifts in ICU?Register Today!
- by Rocknurse Apr 15, '05I am thinking of joining an agecy instead of working full time, but as an ICU nurse obviously I'd rather stay within my specialty. I really can't see myself working on a floor or in a care home. What's the likelihood of me working the bulk of my shifts in ICU? Do you work in other units or do you stick to your guns? I'm frightened to take the plunge in case I find myself in an endless round of medical floors and care homes. I think I'd rather leave nursing altogether than do that.
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- Apr 15, '05 by DixieleeI currently work ER, but for years I was an ICU nurse as well. I have never had a problem getting shifts in either. You may have to sign up with several agencies to get enough work, but YOU can dictate where you work. You can be upfront and tell them you only work ICU. Since they are using you because they have a need, you will not generally get cancelled (never in the ER because the census is always roughly the same). You may have to work more week ends and off shifts to make enough money, and you may not get benefits. BUT, I have found the freedom, flexibility and control is worth all of the above. I have been a nurse 31 years but have not worked fulltime for a hospital since 1993. I was a single parent for many of those years and never had a problem providing for my family.
Make the nursing shortage work for you instead of against you. You may consider some local travel contracts as well. That way you get the benefit of not being cancelled and still get a pretty good salary. You can write whatever you want into your contract. Good luck, stay flexible and keep your chin up!
- Apr 15, '05 by RocknurseThank you so much Dixielee...that was what I was hoping to hear. I work the night shift so I am sure they have a need for me, but I would prefer not to work weekends at all as I play in a band and most of our shows are on the weekend. I really couldn't bear working on the floor but I don't mind ICU, CCU, OR or ER. I think joining more than one agency is an excellent idea. From what I gather I will be earning twice as much as I am now, and so can work less hours to make the same money.
What about references? I want to sign up with an agency now, before I leave my current job. Will they require a reference from my boss or can I give other references? I thought I'd try a few shifts before I jump off the deep end.
- Apr 15, '05 by DixieleeI assume they would check references, but you might mention to them you would rather them not contact your current employer for fear of reprisal. Before you apply though, make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Make copies of your license (altho they will want to see the original), any certifications, i.e CCRN, ACLS, CPR, etc. Also, you will need copies of immunization records. I think everyone requires proof of hepatitis, MMR, TB etc. now.
Some agencies do have benefits for agency. I worked for Intellistaf as a local traveler and they do have benefits, however meager. They at least have a catastrophic health care plan for minimal money. It isn't great, but it will keep you from going broke. They also give occasional bonuses, vacation pay after a while, etc.
You may consider traveling as well. If you need to stay close to home, you still may be able to find a contract within a reasonable commute. The nice thing about traveling is that the agency pays your housing, benefits, travel allowance and a great salary!
- Apr 15, '05 by hollysterI have never heard of anyone being cancelled for a unit shift. I worked 48 to 60 hours a week because we never had enough staff. I left that unit because of the mandatory OT.
- Apr 15, '05 by suzanne4You should have no problem at all............especially with night shifts.
Some hospitals now use only specific agencies, so find out which agencies are doing most of the staffing at where you wish to work....and sign up with them.
As stated above, sign up with several agencies.
And if you are on the East Coast, remember that summer vacations will be coming up soon, so you almost always see more agency used. And if you really like the facility, and they like you, they may let you advance schedule for the shifts that you want for the month........
(p.s. I have worked agency for most of my nursing career and have never had a problem finding work.)