Seriously thinking of doing agency work. Pros and cons? - page 2

I'm a LPN with an extensive background in LTC and currently employed in a wound healing clinic. I'm at the point in my career and life that I would like to work when I choose as I am tired and in... Read More

  1. by   NedRN
    Quote from rhellner57
    I work for Medical Solutions. I like the closeness I feel with them and my recruiter and feel that they have my best interest at heart.
    Quote from NedRN
    If you feel like your agency has your best interests at heart, you do not have a good business relationship.
    Quote from V-Neck T-Shirt
    What do you mean?
    OK, here are the facts of life no one seems to be telling travelers: Your recruiter works for the agency, not you. Their loyalty is to the agency, not you. They also work on commission, which of course encourages maximizing profits from travelers. To the extent that the agency and recruiter have a culture that encourages traveler retention, they may do right by you under some circumstances. Do read your contract and see if you can find any hint that they are looking out for your best interests. Nope, the contract protects their interests, not yours.

    If you feel close to your recruiter and start treating them like a friend, it will end badly. You won't be able to negotiate professionally and will lose income. You will spill details about your personal life and professional life that can not possibly help you.

    It is fine to have a cordial and friendly relationship and communication, but don't ever mistake an agency or recruiter for a friend. They are not. They are looking out for their business interests first, and that includes making you feel like they are your friend. Is AT&T your friend? Do they have your back? Nor does any other company you do business with.
  2. by   V-Neck T-Shirt
    Thanks for the clarification, Ned.
  3. by   delphine22
    Keep in mind that the hospital pays the agency nearly twice what the agency is paying you (and what the hospital would pay a staff nurse). Facilities that employ a lot of agency nurses by definition can't hire/keep staff nurses. Do what you will with that information. The hospital I work at through an agency is a pretty crappy place to work; if they weren't paying me so much, I wouldn't be there. But I smile and do the best patient care I can and cash my paycheck at the end of the week. If it were super awesome, they could get nurses to work there for less and wouldn't need me.
  4. by   delphine22
    Quote from NedRN
    They also work on commission, which of course encourages maximizing profits from travelers.
    Yes yes yes!! They are billing you out for much more than they are paying you. Use this to your advantage if they are in a bind and really need you. When my recruiter calls and says "please please please" I say "bonus bonus bonus." And I won't work an extra unscheduled shift without one.

    One time a group of us from the agency were orienting at a long-term acute-care hospital, and we were being paid "orientation pay," which is $20/hr. (We usually make at least $35 here in FL for agency work.) One person who was new to the agency asked if it were possible for him to get extra time for orientation (not a very reasonable request, as we were lucky to be getting any at all). The educator very politely told him they couldn't afford to do any more orientation time, as the agency was billing us out as regular nurses. WELL, when we found THAT out, she said, "OK, now it's time for the second half of the day, in which you will be orienting on the floor. Maybe you can take a pt or two." We all stated right then and there that if we weren't going to be paid to work as nurses, we weren't going to lay a finger on a person or chart a word, we would just follow and observe. And the agency was just pocketing the difference!
  5. by   BahoRN
    Over all, are you happy with your agency? Have you worked for others prior to this one? Which agency do you recommend as I'm in Florida too and am considering agency work.
  6. by   rhellner57
    I work for Medical Solutions and love the way that they take care of me. I have worked for others but usually find them good for a contract or two then they tend to forget that I am out there working for them, or they merge with a larger company and I become a number. I do not like larger impersonal companies. In Florida are several based in Boca Raton area but can't remember exactly which ones
  7. by   delphine22
    Quote from BahoRN
    Over all, are you happy with your agency? Have you worked for others prior to this one? Which agency do you recommend as I'm in Florida too and am considering agency work.
    I am with Medical Staffing Network. They staff all over the state. My local office is a little clueless -- one of the secretaries keeps insisting on calling me at 11 am on a day after I've worked night shift, to tell me something stupid that she already emailed me anyway. But I think I have them trained up right now. ;-)
  8. by   rhellner57
    take one contract at a time. If you like your recruiter and the company ,it benefits all of you. I enjoy traveling and my theory is; if I like where I am at and you offer an extension, ok if not I can leave without all the hoopla. Same goes for the companies I have worked with - I can take a second contract or search for someone that I feels is a better fit for me
  9. by   hondaa
    BahoRN don't work for Parallon whatever you do....
  10. by   stevengarbs
    I second the motion to these! Parallon doesn't quietly understand the importance proper work management.
  11. by   FinallyRNStatus
    Quote from BSNbeDONE
    As an agency nurse, you WILL get the worst of the worst patients on the floor. Be prepared! The beauty is the pay and you get to pick the days that you are subjected to unfair assignments. As a guest in a facility, it would reflect poorly on your agency if you complained about the assignment that you received.
    I've heard this many times and getting heavy patient assignments sounds like the norm at agencies. However I have to wonder, at what point is this ok when it is the patients that are effected and your license is on the line with an assignment, that may at times, be more than the nurse can safely handle? For this reason I would hesitate to work for an agency despite its perks. I suppose some agencies are better then others in this regard, which is where researching the place thoroughly beforehand would be beneficial.

    When I think of agency positions, I'm taken back to recollect the (horror) stories a former nursing instructor shared with me when she worked at an agency for a outpatient post-op rehab center. She described crazy shifts where she had 11 patients that were mostly complete care needing assistance to reposition or walk to the bathroom. She of course received the hardest patients "that none of the the other nurses wanted" and was expected to provide all their care and none of the nurses assisted her if she needed help. They had this attitude like you're getting paid more then me I'm not helping you. She was a really great instructor and no doubt a fabulous nurse but I can't imagine ever putting myself under such dreadful conditions, for any amount of pay. Under those circumstances, it's only a matter of time before something awful happens to one of the patients because the nurse was stretched too thin and it was an "expected" heavy assignment for an agency nurse to take. I WOULD be that nurse to say enough is enough, this practice is going to get someone injured or killed. Not on my watch and not on my license!!! Ok end of rant!

    Hopefully not all agency positions are that bad!

  12. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    Everyone seems to be talking about travelling.
    I work for a temp agency and schedule by the week and/or month. I used to fill in on staff positions at various hospitals. It's true that some facilities 'dump' on the 'rent-a-nurses'. With my agency I'd agree to one or two shifts, and whether or not I did more shifts or decided 'don't EVER send me back THERE!' was contingent on how I felt after completing my Look-See shifts. At that time I worked at 4 different hospitals, depending on need. What made it ok was if one shift was horrible, the next one might not be.
    I can't say I was always warmly embraced by facility staff, but once they had me working with them a few times and saw I held up my end of the bargain and didn't grouse, it got so they would say "Oh, thank goodness it's YOU."
    One thing to be aware of:
    Needs of facilities do rise and fall, as does the census for PDN cases within the agency, and if things are in the slump stage, it can mess with your bill-paying.
  13. by   Alicia777
    I had a really good experience as a med/surg agency nurse in between jobs. Most everyone was very welcoming and I felt like I fit right in-without having to be subjected to whatever politics were going on in their workplace. Plus being able to self-schedule and receiving a great hourly rate was awesome. Actually, I ended up using the charge nurse as a professional reference for the permanent position I ended up taking.
    On the downside is being cancelled less than 2 hours before the shift and possibly the "heavier patients" comment although I never remember being all that stressed out.

    My agency was Medical Staffing Network..