please-- basic agency questions

  1. 0
    I have been working agency for about 4 months and still don't quite understand what is standard practice... I have a few basic questions...

    I work per diem at an agency- no benefits at all, is this normal? (I was not very selective when I started working with them, as they were the only one I could find in this area where I had just moved)

    1. Should "per diem" agency employees make more than full time agency employees?

    2. Should an agency nurse make more than a hospital per diem staff ? Let's say the hospital per diem make - oh I don't know, $35/hr, and I make $32/ hr. Apx how much more should I make than a hospital employee? At least 1, 2, 5, dollars? I am not trying to be greedy- But I DO get cancelled a heck of a lot more than they do!

    3. I realize that the whole point of agency is to fill a need at a hospital. If I were"booked" for a shift ,then became ill and had to call off, how much hassle should I expect from the agency? Especially if I called off at least 5 hours ahead of the start of shift?

    4. Should I be paid for orientation ( amount of time spent there) at a hospital even if they decided they didn't want me ? During my orientation and tour, the HR was showing their unit. She said they had 3 -4-5 patients and no secretary to input orders. I asked how many patients does the aide care for-- I was told they had no aides and no secretary. I expressed surprise that the RNs were expected to take care of 4-5 PCU patients with no aide and no secretary, ( I swear, it was not with a "tone" or attitude.) They later called my agency and said I had a negative attitude!!! Just as well,, I didn't want to work in such a place who completely disregards patient safety.

    I understand it may come down to whatever the RN wants to negotiate with the agency , I am just trying to get feel for what is "normal."

    Thank you
    Sunny
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  4. 0
    So no one knows the answer to any of these questions? Not even one ? Maybe I should post one question at a time so it is easier to read?:typing
  5. 0
    Quote from sunidol
    I have been working agency for about 4 months and still don't quite understand what is standard practice... I have a few basic questions...

    I work per diem at an agency- no benefits at all, is this normal? (I was not very selective when I started working with them, as they were the only one I could find in this area where I had just moved)

    1. Should "per diem" agency employees make more than full time agency employees?

    2. Should an agency nurse make more than a hospital per diem staff ? Let's say the hospital per diem make - oh I don't know, $35/hr, and I make $32/ hr. Apx how much more should I make than a hospital employee? At least 1, 2, 5, dollars? I am not trying to be greedy- But I DO get cancelled a heck of a lot more than they do!

    3. I realize that the whole point of agency is to fill a need at a hospital. If I were"booked" for a shift ,then became ill and had to call off, how much hassle should I expect from the agency? Especially if I called off at least 5 hours ahead of the start of shift?

    4. Should I be paid for orientation ( amount of time spent there) at a hospital even if they decided they didn't want me ? During my orientation and tour, the HR was showing their unit. She said they had 3 -4-5 patients and no secretary to input orders. I asked how many patients does the aide care for-- I was told they had no aides and no secretary. I expressed surprise that the RNs were expected to take care of 4-5 PCU patients with no aide and no secretary, ( I swear, it was not with a "tone" or attitude.) They later called my agency and said I had a negative attitude!!! Just as well,, I didn't want to work in such a place who completely disregards patient safety.

    I understand it may come down to whatever the RN wants to negotiate with the agency , I am just trying to get feel for what is "normal."

    Thank you
    Sunny
    It is rare to find an agency that pays benefits. That is why you are generally getting a higher rate of pay, to make up for lack of benefits.

    There really is no difference between a PRN/FT agency person. Agencies don't hire people "full time" like a hospital and guarantee them hours. Unless you get into contracts. Thus, everyone makes the same amount of money. It is each individual's choice whether to schedule full time work through the agency or to only work once in a while. It is completely different from the hospital.

    The rate of pay you receive may or may not be more than what the hospital's PRN/float pool staff receive. The agency bargains with the facility to get paid a contracted amount. The agency then decides how much it must take out of that amount to pay the business costs and make a profit - what is left over is the staff's pay. I have opted on several occasions to work hospital based PRN float pool for a higher rate of pay and less chance of cancellation. It is MUCH less expensive to work PRN staff than agency staff. Agency staff ALWAYs gets cancelled first.

    When you cancel with the agency, it is the same as if you are calling in sick to the floor. Many hospitals require that the agency find someone to replace the person if you were pre-scheduled at a facility. If they cannot replace the person, the agency will often lose their contract at the hospital. So yes, if you cancel for b.s. reasons or do it frequently, or a lot of nurses are cancelling - you are going to get in trouble. I have seen agencies terminate nurses for excessive cancelling. Just because it is agency does not mean that you do not have a requirement to keep up your end of the bargain if you agree to pre-schedule and not just have them call and ask at the spur of the moment if you will work.

    When you work agency, you should expect crummy working conditions compared to if you had a "real" job at a great place. If they weren't having a problem with short-staffing - they would not be using you. You are a fill in. You are there to help them because they are having a problem. If you expect that they will only be short one person and you are that person, and the facility has no other problems......you will get DNR'd from the facilities for a bad attitude. They don't need you to tell them that things suck - they usually know it or they wouldn't hire agency.

    Many hospitals are no longer paying for orientation. They leave it up to the agency to pay the nurse. Sometimes the agency pays minimum wage, other times you get no compensation for orientation. If you want to work, you make the decision to orient with/without pay.

    Agencies are in business to make money. Bottom line. Most agency nurses either do it for the higher pay or for the ability to have more "flexible" scheduling, or to not have to work at the same place day in and day out. You may have to sacrifice a lot to become an agency nurse. Not everyone is cut out for it.
  6. 0
    heres my experience with my current agency
    1. i got to orient in the middle of boonie land..one rn to 26 adolescent patients and 10 bucks/ hr for orientation for a 2 hour commute away from me.

    2. yesterday, i got to be the only rn x 30 patients ie infants/toddler/adolescent for in patient dcfs babies not including out patient and walk in mother/babies for a straight 35/hr salary no benefit agency salary that was lower then what i was working in the old hosp i was working for before i quit...and that does not include charge rn benefits/ and health/medical benefits from the old hospital.
    medical techs were giving immunization and doing blood draw to newborn and adolescent for in/out patient clients and us getting cursed and almost being eaten out by mother if we cant get the blood draw on first try.

    this was in the middle of gang banger/ killing fields area /highest crime rate in my city......GOD HAVE MERCY...

    3. tomorrow, i get paid starvation wage to "orient" for 4 hours and shadow another agency rn in hosp to learn computer...

    4. the boss of my agency has insurance background/husband is a financial guy and some 18 year old bimbo working as staff coordinator and liason for hosp and agency rn staff...none of them has medical background...and her job is to call and book rns and give the rn an overview of our job responsibilities in facility where they will be sending us..

    rn 1989..do u recommend nso insurance while working with agency? i was sweating bullets yesterday bec the night medical tech or whaterver they are called are passing and giving child/infant immunization and giving shots and meds....wow...there was me..2 lpns..one med aide for 30 infants/toddlers/adolescents in patient group home not including 15 walk in mother/babies out patient for blood draw, immunization, etc....the staff are mean and hostile bec they have preconceived ideas that agency rns make tons of moolah....how i wish i knew what i let myself in for before resigning my old job...

    thanks rn 1989..i will be signing up for inhouse registry for time being while looking around for a full time job. i did not know that other agency facilities has contract with hosp that prohibits that agency nurse from taking a full time job in the facility they are contracted for agency work..
    i know that the old hosp i worked for pays agency 75/hr and the big cheese from the agency give the agency rn 40/hr or 35/hr or whatever they want to the rn....
    rn 1989 was right ...it is strictly business and nobody gives a HOOT to the agencyrn...we are pretty much on our own
    thanks for your kind advice rn 1989
  7. 1
    Absolutely get insurance, even if you have a regular full time job. The hospitals will not protect you.
    Aviationurse likes this.


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