The truth about agencies??

  1. I'm an LPN looking into agency work & have looked at some posts on this site. I'm finding so many conflicting stories. One says an agency is great & the next says they're awful. The only thing I'm finding in common is the importance of a good recruiter. I'm in the Pittsburgh area & considering Onward Healthcare. Anyone in this area able to recommend a good, reputable agency and/or recruiter?? Thanks!
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    About nurse828

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 9


  3. by   caliotter3
    When people post their experiences with various agencies they are talking about their own experiences. For one person, a certain agency may be great and for another person that same agency may be the pits. You have to realize this when you are reading these posts. The only way to find out, is to read as many opinions as possible, get a good idea of which agency seems to treat their employees the best, then try that agency out for yourself and see how it goes. Good luck with finding an agency that gives you what you need and treats you well.
  4. by   oldladyRN
    You are absolutely right, Calliotter3. I live in Austin, Tx. and we have a couple of agencies here that are really, really top-notch, and some that are just so-so. Get out your Sunday newspaper (God, I'm old) or check the internet and see what agencies are in your area. Some agencies are willing to give you their rates over the telephone, and some are not. You want to look for good rates and friendly and professional office staff. You can tell a lot about the way a place will treat you and respect you by how professional they are on the telephone and when you meet with them in the office.

    Don't be hesitant to go ahead and register with two or three agencies. Set up a time to go to the office for all of their testing, and take EVERYTHING with you (shot records, licenses, certifications) so that they can copy it. You'll do some written tests and be there a couple of hours.

    I wish you the best of luck. You can e-mail me and I'll tell you who the best agencies are here in Austin, because I know that one in particular has offices in several different US states.
  5. by   akelly161RN
    I am also from Pittsburgh. I work as an agency nurse in Pediatrics. I personally think that the "key" to working agency is to get a contract. I have to work three days a week for a particular institution and they are unable to cancel me. The three days works for me because I have a young child at home. My contract is for a three month period and then reevaluated at the end of each three months. I think that Stat, K-force and maxim are pretty good agency's in the pgh area.

    Hope this Helps!
  6. by   1964nurse
    As a LPN in SE Wisconsin area, I had worked as an agency nurse for 6 years, mainly with 1 well known agency, supplementing with smaller local agencies. The well known agency pay rate was $29-$32 an hour depending on what shift and weekend. They scheduled me at some really nice places to get adjusted to, (clean, well organized, adequate staff and low pt ratio(less than 28) then after a couple of months would throw in some dumpy places that I wouldn't even send my dog. (Dirty, unorganized, CNA's that walk off the unit and walk to the corner store whenever they want, and 34 residents on a unit that include 4 Tube feeders and 6 diabetics and screaming family members that want to know why nobody has done anything for their loved one whose been not acting right since 2 days ago.
    The advice that I have to give is:
    1. Find out about the facility before you get there. How many beds? units? What unit you'll be working? even though this could change upon arrival.
    2 Once arriving, find out who are the diabetics, the tube feeders, hyper/hypo glycemia protocols, and who is on 24 hour charting and if there any calls out to any MDs or others. Prioritize these.
    3. Before signing up for an weeks of work at a new facility, ask that you'd like to try it first.
    4. Be prepared to put alot of miles on your vehicle depending on your area.
    The well known agency I worked for had a tendency to book you for the month (supposedly sending you to this or that particular facility) then when the day comes and you call in at noon to verify your assignment, they'd say (8 out of 10 times), "Oh they cancelled you, but abc facility called and they'll take you.
    It took me awhile to figure it out, but they didn't have me scheduled at the facility for a month, they wanted my days so I wouldn't book with another agency, what they did that day is have someone in the office calling all these places, asking if they were short and needed a nurse that day.
    The smaller, local agencys that I worked with were a few dollars less an hour, went to more local facilities and no benefits or perks.

    Bottom line for me was, I enjoyed agency nursing for the time I did it. I have some very fond experiences. Agency nursing was sporadic- when it was busy there couldn't be enough of me. But when it was slow- it was really slow. (Best to be with more than one agency) You don't have much say at a facility- you are a pool nurse. If they don't like you, you won't be back. And above all else, work with the staff, especially your CNA's, they truly will make or break you. Especially when dispensing medications. Who is Mr. John Smith?
    Agency nursing helped me put my kids through a religious grade school which I could have never afforded even working 40 hours a week.
    Best of Luck to you in your decision