how does agency nursing work?

  1. 0
    ive been a hospital nurse for 8 years but now that i have a 2 year old plus im pregnant i have decided on applying in a staffing agencies so i can choose my schedules. i applied to one of a nursing agencies here in jax florida and have submitted all requirements for a month now but have not given any assigments yet. they have called me this am to work as a school nurse for tom and friday but has declined as they have not given any notice at all so i could get a baby sitter for my daughter. these are my questions :

    * i have given them my available time already but how come they are calling me and asking me if i can work in certain days that i have not indicated that i am available.

    * does an agency give you any notice at all like a week from now that they have assigments for me so i could prepare my daughter to have a baby sitter?..


    *do they offer any oreintation at all?..

    * i have indicated on my application papers that im willing to work 8 hours shifts m-w-f..do you think this the reason that they cannot get me any assigments at all as my available hours are difficult?

    im soo new to this that im quite lost and is about to lose hope and wondering if id rather apply for a temp position directly to a hospital?..what do you guys think? any advice would be greatly appreciated..
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Quote from inwyte
    ive been a hospital nurse for 8 years but now that i have a 2 year old plus im pregnant i have decided on applying in a staffing agencies so i can choose my schedules. i applied to one of a nursing agencies here in jax florida and have submitted all requirements for a month now but have not given any assigments yet. they have called me this am to work as a school nurse for tom and friday but has declined as they have not given any notice at all so i could get a baby sitter for my daughter. these are my questions :

    * i have given them my available time already but how come they are calling me and asking me if i can work in certain days that i have not indicated that i am available.

    * does an agency give you any notice at all like a week from now that they have assigments for me so i could prepare my daughter to have a baby sitter?..


    *do they offer any oreintation at all?..

    * i have indicated on my application papers that im willing to work 8 hours shifts m-w-f..do you think this the reason that they cannot get me any assigments at all as my available hours are difficult?

    im soo new to this that im quite lost and is about to lose hope and wondering if id rather apply for a temp position directly to a hospital?..what do you guys think? any advice would be greatly appreciated..
    The few agencies I have dealt with offer little or no advance notice about your work schedule. There have been times I have been called at 0800 and told to be there by 0900! Being given 24-48 hours noticed seems like heaven to me, but like I said, I have been in the "jump and run" situation in the past.
  6. 0
    Hiya I'm not sure about the agencies in the US.. but here in Scotland it is VERY rare that i know a day ahead of time of getting a shift.
    Its more likely to be the "hit and run" approach. Get called at 3:30 pm to be there ASAP till the end of shift. Or for a 12 hr night shift getting called at 9pm isn't rare either. Its the chance we take for getting payed the better money.
    I still like the flexibility of agency nursing but sometimes it is frustrating.
    I never get any orientation to the unit other than a breif tour of where things are and what the paperwork is like..
    Now i've been doing it for 16 months i tend to end up going to the same wards so its easier.
    Kaylesh
  7. 0
    Depends on the agency that you were with. Many times I knew in advacne what I would be working........... And always at least one to two days before. If I was sceduled for one facility, and they cancelled, the agency would always place me someplace else. In the past ten years, never had a problem working when I wanted to work, etc.

    If you have been a "hospital-based" nurse for the past 8 years, what type of orientation were they going to give you for working as a school nurse.

    Do you have any experience as a school nurse? Have you worked in pediatrics in the past? Remember that just because an agency will place you, they are looking out for their interests first, not yours.
  8. 0
    Quote from suzanne4
    Depends on the agency that you were with. Many times I knew in advacne what I would be working........... And always at least one to two days before. If I was sceduled for one facility, and they cancelled, the agency would always place me someplace else. In the past ten years, never had a problem working when I wanted to work, etc.

    If you have been a "hospital-based" nurse for the past 8 years, what type of orientation were they going to give you for working as a school nurse.

    Do you have any experience as a school nurse? Have you worked in pediatrics in the past? Remember that just because an agency will place you, they are looking out for their interests first, not yours.
    I definitely have to agree with Suzanne about that. I know I would hate to be placed in an area that I was not familiar with. Most (but not all) of my experience is with pediatrics, so I would not feel real comfortable on a rehab unit. You know what I mean?
  9. 0
    Here are a few things that I have learned about agency nursing in the 13 months I have been with InteliStaf:

    1) Day shifts typically get cancelled more than other shifts. Day shift is the shift that most people want, so you are competing with more people for that spot. I have been much more successful in working evening shifts without getting cancelled.

    2) The shifts seem to come in cycles for certain specialties. It can be quite cyclical. I find it is much easier to pick up shifts during certain times of the year and month. Some cycles are more preditable than others. For example: In October, it seems to be a little harder to get the desired shifts at the best facilites. My guess is because the hospital staff's kids are back in school and fewer people are on vacation. If there are extra shifts, the hospital's staff are picking them up to pay off the huge bill they chalked up on their credit cards during their summer vacations.

    3) One of the reasons they may be calling you when you are not available is to find out if you really aren't. I think one of they key successes to working with any agency is communication. Get to know the people who staff you, and let them get to know you. The better they understand what you are looking for, the easier it is for them to staff you. Build a good relationship with your staffer. The more positive interaction you have with that person, the more apt you are to be called over another RN working with that agency. I am sure that no one will admit to "playing favorites," but who would you call first if a shift came open? Would you first call a nurse who you rarely have any interaction with or have had them call up yelling at you for a scheduling problem? Or would you call the nurse who calls in a couple times a week, and that you have formed a good working relationship with?

    Also, If you become available, let them know. I know a few people who give their agency their availability once a month, and just sit there and wait for their agency to call. This has proven generally unsuccessful and results in the RN getting frustrated. If you become proactive and spend 5 minutes every couple of days calling your agency, I think you find you will be working more. A 10 minute weekly investment could greatly pay off.

    4) Try working weekends, or at least one day on the weekend. Most people want to work Monday - Friday, day shifts. Here again, you are in competition with more people for that shift. Not only is it easier to pick up shifts on the weekend, most hospitals have a shift differential for the weekends.

    5) Make sure to call your agency regulary, especially about 2 weeks before the start of a new month. This seems to be when the hospitals are putting together the schedule for the upcoming month. I have been more sucessful in getting booked for a few weeks or the eintire month during this time.

    I hope this helps. If you have a good relationship with your agency and their staffers, and you can be a little flexible, then working with an agency can become a very rewarding experience.

  10. 0
    Some facilities will prebook shifts. Often these shifts are more likely to be cancelled though. Some facilities will wait until the last minute, hoping that one of their own staff will suck it up and take the shift.

    Many agencies may call you on a day that you haven't given as available because a shift has come up and they need to find someone to fill it.

    orientation may times may consist of coming in 1-4 hourse before you are scheduled to work to be shown the unit and the paperwork. It can also be a full day attending part of hospital orientation and filling out all of the appropriate JCAHO paperwork.
    I find my availability may vary on how much I need the money.
  11. 0
    I'm new to agency nursing as well. I'm sitting here after beeing cancelled for today. I was called and cancelled yesterday, but the hospital had a call in, so they called me to come work. It took a while to get my first shift. I've registered with at least 3 agencies and can't seem to get past orientation. They have my availability. With one agency, they told me I could work the weekend following my facility orientation. I went through a lot of trouble arranging for a babysitter, only to find out that the facility does not allow "floor" orientation on the weekends.
    I thought the agency approach would be good for me since I have a 2-year old and in grad school. So far, I've found out that the income is unreliable and the shift unpredictable. I know I'm rambling, but I am very frustrated at this point.
  12. 0
    Well, I sit here after being cancelled again on yesterday. Last week I was also cancelled for the days they "begged" me to work. Last week (Friday), I gave my availability. They said it was cleared with the hospital. I go in Monday morning and the staffing assistant asked what I was doing there, that I was NOT on the schedule. As a matter of fact, I was not on the schedule at all for the week. Fortunately for me they had a call-in so I had the chance to work.
    I'm not saying that all agencies are like this; I'm just sharing my experiences. It would be different if this was a second job, but this is my main source of income for the moment. On next Monday I will be in orientation for a perm position at a local hospital. Career-wise, I'm moving backwards a little, but maybe this will be the step to propel me forward. Pray for me.
    Demetria
  13. 0
    Find another agency.


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