Frustrated with my agency- any advice?

  1. I have worked agency for about 4 months and am not sure how to best handle this situation.

    When I first started with my agency, I was offered more hours than I could handle every week. They knew I preferred to keep one weekend day open to spend time with my husband and always respected that. They offered me shifts that were reasonable (not all over the place timewise) and I took most of them. I always had 36-40 hours a week.

    Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, I got a call from a fairly new scheduler asking me to go to work in Telemetry. My first response was no, I have no experience at all in Telemetry and would like to keep my license. I also stated firmly that I had worked the previous day and had plans in place for that day and really did not want to change them. He persisted and offered me another two dollars an hour if "that would make it worth my time". I again said no, and let him know that my decision was not based on what the shift would pay, but on the fact that I had things to do that were my first priority. He sounded pretty ticked when he finally hung up.

    Since then, I have been cancelled for about half my pre-scheduled shifts. I have let them know that I cannot afford to work 16 hours a week and need to replace these cancelled hours. They have called me at 4:15 am asking if I wanted to go to work right then, I was offered shifts starting at 0600 the day after I had worked 3-11, and at 0800 this morning I was woken by this same guy calling to ask me to work a 12-hour day shift today. I said that was fine but as I live 50 minutes away from the hospital and had not had a shower yet I could be there in 1 1/2 hours. He said he would check with the hospital to see if this was OK and call me back. He never did. I have also gone on record as a "no show, no call" for a shift I had no idea I was scheduled for. That shift, incidentally, was scheduled by this same guy. Fortunately the facility believed that it was an agency error and I am still welcome there.

    I have since completed the paperwork with Starmed and plan to work with them as well. It was my plan to be registered with two agencies, Starmed being my backup. I haven't yet said anything to my first agency about this.

    It seems a bit too coincidental to me that right when I irritate this one guy by turning down a shift he was apparently desperate to fill, I suddenly have a hard time getting hours. And when I do get offered hours, they are offers I do not feel I can accept. I won't go work Telemetry with no training, I won't work on Surgical with 7 patients when I've had less than 5 hours of sleep, and they know I live a ways outside of town and how long it takes me to get there. These were never issues before now.

    I am not sure how to address this, or even if I should. I know that if I suggest that this guy is cutting my hours as a way to retaliate against me not taking that Sunday shift, they will say, "But we called you for this and this and you turned them down." I also know that when I work is my choice, not theirs, and that preserving my license and my ability to make favorable impressions when I go work is my responsibility. If another option exists, I usually choose to be non-confrontational and I have thought of just quietly moving over to Starmed and working primarily through them. Although with the hours I'm being offered now, that isn't even totally my choice to make.

    I do not have any relevant experiece to guide me on this, and any input would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks, y'all.

    Christen
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   Nurse Hag
    Hi, I also am having less hours available. When I say I am unavailable then that is the day they call me for several shifts. Lately they have also started calling me about other shifts at 1030 when I just got off at 0730. I told my boss that this had to change or I would make a change. He begged me to stay, I told him they where on probation with me. I usually work 40 hours a week and never cancel so they love me. But I also applied at starmed this week so I have options. I do have some concerns about starmed as they are closing offices, and having finacial problems. In our area several of our bigger clients have tried to go agency free all at the same time that has really hurt our hours. Good Luck and keep standing up for yourself. And always remember THEY DO NOT MAKE MONEY IF WE DO NOT WORK!!!!!!!
  4. by   BadBird
    I think you are smart to sign on with another agency, remember you tell the agency when you will work, where and what days, they don't tell you. Perhaps you and this person did not hit it off, is there anyone else in the office you could talk to? I doubt the agency wants to lose a good nurse, if you don't work then they don't get paid either. I have a strict do not call before 2pm on my agencies screen as I work nights, they are very good about it. I usually call and book a week in advance and a few times they have called and asked me to work extra but they are always pleaseant. I would not tolerate being pushed into a shift I do not want and if you let the agency manager know you are unhappy I think they will try to rectify the situation as nurses are more difficult to find than placement recruiters.
  5. by   graysonret
    Time to move to a different agency...preferably one that has a good reputation. I've worked agency for years and if one won't cooperate with me, I'll drop them and find another.
  6. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by graysonret
    Time to move to a different agency...preferably one that has a good reputation. I've worked agency for years and if one won't cooperate with me, I'll drop them and find another.
    Totally agree with this post! Also agree you need to have several agencies ...and I would let them all know I will take the first shifts called, and the one that dosen't get cancelled all the tme. Causing you to have your dependability questions, would be the last straw for me!
  7. by   Shiraz
    All agencies are different in some way.

    My first one hired me without even seeing my face. I mailled the forms in and they sent me a name tag. It was like working for a tele-marketor. They also claimed you as an independant contractor so you had to claim your own taxes and provide your own insurance...yuck!!

    The second one gave me a shift or two a week and wanted to send me to "outer mongolia" whenever they could.

    The one I work for now is like working for your friends. It's local and I go there often to personally drop off time sheets and pick up my checks. They welcome you with open arms and provide me with hours that are good for me. My husband and I went to the office today and they had a surprise luncheon (payday) to show appreciation to their nursing staff. Its so refreshing.

    By all means...Find an agency thats right for you!!
  8. by   ChristenLPN
    Thanks, y'all for the advice. I did talk to my agency- I got home the other day to find a message asking me to work. I was out all day, with my cell phone and a change of clothes, but no one called my cell phone to let me know a shift was available. This is the 3rd time this has happened. So I called to let them know that had I gotten this information SIX HOURS ago, I would have jumped at the chance to go to work. Unfortunately I got that one drip that I don't like. He made all kinds of excuses and got very defensive. Two of his excuses were downright untrue. There is one recruiter in charge there that has always been good to me; I was told he was unavailable when I called, and that wasn't true either.

    Just to complicate things, the nursing director at the hospital I've been going to doesn't want to change my paperwork over to Starmed, though I cannot imagine why this would make any difference to him. (He has DNR'd several nurses that butted heads with him.) I have since talked with The Guy in Charge at my agency and let him know what was going on. So I am still with them for this one hosptial only, but anywhere else I go to work will be through Starmed.

    Thanks again for letting me know that I wasn't just being paranoid!
  9. by   eddy
    Not that I disagree with anyone's particular responses, but I prefer "loyalty". I let them know if I'm mad about something and likewise they (agency) do the same. I don't threaten them with the "I'll just go somewhere else" stuff, because I don't feel I need to say/do that to maintain/demand the high level of respect I get from my agency. I am a firm believer in the fact that we take care of each other, and I feel things can usually be worked out by opening up the communications a bit better. We both understand our mutual value to each other. That's important.
  10. by   Brita01
    I work in Louisiana, and in this area many of the agencies are starting to use questionable techniques when it comes to scheduling. They book you at two hospitals at the same time, or they book you somewhere without telling you. In the latter case, they will call you up and offer you everything under the sun to go and work that shift. And when you refuse, they get highly upset because they have to call the hospital back and cancel you. But something else that I found out, when they cancel you, they tell the hospital that YOU cancelled. This makes you look bad to the hospital. I know a nurse that got a DNR from a hospital because "she" cancelled with them so much, and she had never even scheduled herself for the shifts that they say she cancelled. This nurse worked for Starmed, by the way, and they went out of business here this month.

    I went to apply with a multi-hospital pool last year because I wasn't getting enough hours through my agency. And when I went in, they recognized my name because I had worked for some of their hospitals in the past through my agency. The first question they asked me when I walked in was, how come I had cancelled my shift with one of their hospitals that past weekend? I looked at them in amazement and replied, "I hadn't scheduled myself to work ANYWHERE last weekend." So, my agency had gone behind my back, scheduled me, and then cancelled in my name.

    This longer than intended post is just to say, whatever agency you go with, make sure they don't use any of the above techniques. Because hospitals will tire of them and start refusing to use their nurses.
  11. by   eddy
    Been there, done that too. If they pull this, you DO need to move on. But rip them apart first. That is SOOOOOO unethical!!!!
  12. by   mattsmom81
    Thanks for the tip, Brita...I will keep my ears up. Had no idea agencies would be so unethical.

    I agree if lines of communication are kept open we can work most things out...but in Christen's case, sounds like she's got a recruitor with a 'tude...
  13. by   teeituptom
    give it up and go straight staff
  14. by   mattsmom81
    Originally posted by teeituptom
    give it up and go straight staff
    Now why in the world would we want to do THAT??

    Been there done that no thanks.:roll

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