PRN Agency Nursing

  1. Am considering working for agencys doing prn work and keeping my present job. What I would like to know is if anybody can explain how exactly it works,the fine print of things, what I need to watch out for. My specialty area is L&D. I will be looking to work in areas close to home, w/i 1hr to 1 1/5hr. Any advise will be appreciated:
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   BadBird
    I suggest you call agencies in your area and ask what is available. I was working full time when I started with an agency and I worked 1 shift a month for about a year before I decided to go full time with the agency. Check the Sunday paper for agencies, there are several. Usually you fill out a questionaire, take a med test and test in your area of knowledge, watch a OSHA film and company policy film. You may need proof of physical and tb testing also.

    Good luck
  4. by   nightingale
    Debbie:

    I recommend Agency Nursing to all my colleagues. It is not for everyone fulltime (usually no benefits, guarantee of work with PRN scheduling). I am doing this type of assignments full time.

    It is excellent to adjunct with another job. I found it built up my confidence in working other facilities. I explored new areas of nursing I (probably) never would have tried otherwise. I now have my ACLS (thanks to my Agency) and am confident in Cardiac Care (I hated cardiac emphasis in school).

    Agencies vary, I had two that I worked with for 9 monthes. I am down to one right now. This agency is a large nationally afiliated group. I am exploring two other agencies at this time to see if I should switch. My agency has no commitment to me nor I them for a contract. Again, it is PRN. Once I schedule, of course, I meet my commitment. I NEVER call off. I am dependable and always give excellent care etc...

    You may find some hospitals/faciliites will schedule excess personell. I was regulary called off from one (of these type of facilities) and "floated to other facilities". I simply stopped scheduling at these facilities and now rarely get called off from the hospital I schedule at regularly (now).

    Good Luck to you!

    B.
  5. by   Anna4745
    I am glad to respond to this question, and hope to be of help to you. I have twenty years of experience in critical care nursing, but have been working agency along with my "regular" job for about 15 years. The best information is through networking. Ask the nurses that you currently work with if any of them work agency, or have friends who do. I would suggest that you do this during a lunch break, when you are not technically "on the clock" for your present employer, or at a site other than the hospital, just to protect yourself. Unfortunately, there are people who would be only too happy to share the information that "you are talking at work about working for an agency, and on company time".
    If this doesn't pan out, then call at least 3 agencies in your area. Ask what type and how many hours of orientation you will receive, and what the requirement for employment are (ie, current CPR, pharmacology test, etc). Most likely, the agency have similar requirement to your employing hospital.
    In terms of orientation, you must examine yourself. How comfortable are you with your ability? Are you a new grad or experienced? I would not recommend agency for anyone with less that one year of experience in the assigned area.
    In this area, about 8 -12 hours is the standard for orientation. Basically, you are paired with someone who has a patient assignment. You may have a "partial assignemt" for one shift. You will be shown the emergency equipment, medication room, supply room, where the procedure manuals are located, and how to fill out the required paperwork, nurses notes, medical record, etc and any required computer competenices such as how to enter lab work. If you are assigned to a decent area, they will not expect you to learn everything in one day. You should ASK and IDENTIFY a RESOURCE person on DAY ONE.
    If you are comfortable in your clinical area, and have some recent experience, you should do fine. GOOD LUCK!
  6. by   123lisa
    I never thought I would work agency but was talked into it and have loved it ever since. Just remember you are a guest in the facility and you must be flexible. I good sense of humor is also a must. Call around to find out wich agencies have contracts with facilities that have L&D and if that unit ever uses agency personel.
    Go for it and good luck!
    Lisa
  7. by   frios
    I myself have always worked agency. It used to be that nurses did not work agency b/c of the lack of benefits but things have changed and they are now offering benefits such as health insurance, 401K, etc. If you are looking for security then go agency but take a contract that will guarantee you your hours. With agency you have the flexability to chose when you want to work and what shift you want to work. You also don't get involved in the common hospital politics. You go in do your job and get out and don't have to sit through boring staff meetings. Usually working agency pays more. So you get the best of both worlds, the high pay and the benefits. I hope this has helped you a little.

    Good luck!!
  8. by   LadyNASDAQ
    I don't like to be cancelled so going off of staff and doing full time agency was not for me, full time. I like to count on the money every 2 weeks.

    I do however work on a prn basis with an agency which I like to invest in the stock market. I've been working for prn agencies for years and what to watch out for is the same as working at any job. You have to be careful about your med sheets vs. the current orders. You have to be aloof when there is a Nurse or Nurses complaining about their Charge Nurse, Nurse Manager, Administration and the hospital itself. You don't form opinions and you do not ever get involved with these complainers. To do so would neve be in your best interest, trust me.

    I also feel that you need to know where the Hospital policy book is kept and take a look at it if you have questions about something. Always remember that clarifying the Dr.'s orders is the only way to go. If you're uncomfortable with it, it isn't a good order.

    The Nursing Supervisor is always your best ally. Never feel that you can't call and ask to speak to her.

    I always look to help out the staff people. Something as simple as helping to pull up a patient will make friends fast and start things up on the right foot. A smile helps, too.

    Last thing... don't discuss salary with anyone. This is really bad to do. It will make instant enemies real fast.

  9. by   SavageWist
    i have been so very lucky working agency. look for agencies that have been around awhile, not some fly by night operation. i have been a nurse 2.5 years with 18 months of agency. i would have it no other way. the polictics in facalities was the number one reason i tried agency. now i pick where and when i want to work. i have spent the past 5 months at the same facility through my agency. the facility likes my work and i like them. i am not required to attend all the meetings and when my 8 hours are up i am out of there. several times no one showed up to relieve me and i just call the facility DNS and they come in or offer to pay what ever it will take for me to work the shift, and then it is only for double time. who wants to work 16 hour shifts? i dont but double time helps. the company i am with has offices in many different states and also a traveling department. my benefits include health, a & d, dental, vision, and 401k. pull a few shifts and see what you think. it isnt for everyone but it was for me. just try or you will never know. thanks for listening.
  10. by   MarnnaRN
    Savagewist, do you mind telling which agency you work for? I do pretty much the same, and it takes a lot for me to work a 16 hour shift, but, I have to say, double time sounds pretty good, considering it would be close to $60 an hour.
  11. by   Teshiee
    Agency work is great! Not only do you call your own shots a lot of things you can do for a tax write off . I have been working agency since I was a LVN. Since you are a L&D nurse I am sure you will be in demand. Many agencies do have benefits all they require you maintain certain amount of working hours to remain eligible.

    I work NICU, right now they are busy! I am flexible I maintain a nice attitude. As far as the regular staff I don't understand why they resent agency nurses so much. It is not like they can't be agency nurses as well. We have the pleasure of making choices if you want to starve then do so. But don't hate agency nurses who take charge of their own lifestyle.

    The money is great. I make between 32-38$ and hour depending what facility I go to. I don't take money for granted I budget my money very well so when it does get slow I am not stressed or hard up working shifts or areas I don't like to work in. You will like it very much I wish you luck in finding the right agencie(s) for yourself.
  12. by   4XNURSE
    Debbie,

    I agree with the nurses here. I've worked agency/registry for 12+ years. Some of that time has been fulltime. Some of it was part time.

    My first agency work was 1 shift a month. I wanted a little extra money to make a payment on my new boat. (I named it "EXTRA SHIFT") That one shift made the boat payment, and I've been doing it since.

    There are some agencies out there that will stick it to you. Choose carefully. Make sure the company is financially sound. There is no way to describe to you how awful it feels to have your paycheck bounce.

    There are a lot of really good companies out there too.

    Good luck!

    ken
  13. by   nursemicke
    I enjoyed agency work. It gave me a chance to try different areas. I worked doctor's offices, private care in hospital, rehab facilities, med regime and filling pill boxes weekly for retirement facility. Did not want hospital work. I could accept or decline any job. At one agency I just faxed in my time sheet and got paid by mail. Never had to go to the office. The office staff was nice. I felt appreciated every where I worked except one MD office. Refused to work that office again and that was OK with the office.
    Last edit by nursemicke on Feb 27, '02

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PRN Agency Nursing