Treatment of Agency Staff

  1. This question comes up again and again. So my dear colleagues, let's take a poll and see where we are at with this question on this BB.

    How are you treated? Please feel free to cooment or explain your vote or why you did not vote.

    We learn so much from each other. There is not right or wrong answer here. All of our opinions are very valuable.

    B
    Last edit by nightingale on Jun 17, '02
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  2. Poll: How are you treated as an Agency Nurses?

    • I am treated as well as regular staff.

      43.64% 24
    • There is room for lots of improvement.

      23.64% 13
    • Minimal improvement would help me perform my patient care.

      7.27% 4
    • I am dumped on without mercy!

      16.36% 9
    • I am dumped on and have refused assignments!

      9.09% 5
    • I ahve reported this facility to the Board of Nursing!

      0% 0
    55 Votes
  3. 75 Comments

  4. by   Sleepyeyes
    Gosh, in my experience doing agency only occasionally, it definitely depends on the facility. Had to refuse one assignment--it was a 30-bed vent unit, and I'd never done vents, and wasn't about to learn that way. :chuckle

    In another place, I wasn't told that I was "the" RN for the building, and in the middle of report a CNA ran up to the desk yelling "Fire!" The staff LPN giving me report looked at me and said, "Oh my gawd, what do we do?" -- I sorta felt compelled to take over there; no time to refuse.

    And in yet another facility, I followed another agency nurse who apparently had worked a few shifts there, and was not real popular with the staff. She informed me that she'd just DC'd a Foley on a new admit at 11pm, while I was in report. I wanted to make sure the pt. was voiding before I started my 6 am med pass, and went in to check on her. Guess what? wrong patient's Foley was DC'd. The staff nurses were ready to hang the agency nurse until I discovered, waaaaaay back in the beginning of the month, an order to DC that same Foley. Ergo, agency nurse unwittingly corrected a staff nurse's mistake. DC'd Foley on right patient, thencalled the Doc on the other to see if maybe he wanted Foley reinserted (pt. heavy, fragile skin, hemaplegic, on Lasix, and requesting to keep it), but even half-asleep, he was adamant--leave it out. To make matters worse, after I dealt with all that and got my 6 am meds out on time, the staff nurse screwed up report completely and reported me to my agency as the nurse who DC'd the wrong Foley instead of the one who discovered both mistakes and fixed 'em. I was kind enough to go back the next day and explain the whole thing to medical records. But if I hadn't caught the staff nurses' mistake, they'd have hung that other nurse out to dry. No, thanks, I don't wanna work there ever again....
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jun 17, '02
  5. by   nightingale
    So.. SleepyEyes.. how often have you worked agency?

    Are you basing your vote on those two experiences? Just curious.

    B.
  6. by   Sleepyeyes
    Ummm... actually I was explaining why I didn't vote--no choice for my answer, which would be, in general, I'm treated pretty well, but it definitely depends on the particular facility.
  7. by   nightingale
    Oh, I see. Excuse my assumption. I saw that someone voted and you posted. Guess whoever voted did not post also.

    I appreciate your comments SleepyEyes. I am glad your experiences have been mostly positive.

    B.
  8. by   Brownms46
    I voted, and based my experience on my last assignment! But as far as for the many years that I have been agency, I agree with Sleepyeyes...it depends on the facility. I have been in situations where I was treated as staff...after passing their prove youself tests, I have been treated as a welcome addition, and I have been treated like poop on more occassions than I care to think about! And more than not...I was treated like poop!... I have heard the statements...like agency is lazy...most are sorry nurses who can't handle perm positions, have poor skills...yada ...yada ...yada! I heard these statements since the time I first started as agency....waaaaaay back in 1981!! And believe me I STILL hear and read those same statements today!!

    What I can't understand is...if you need help at the place you're working, and help comes...why treat them badly??? Mind you there are good places, who treat agency very well.....but there are a whole lot of places...I wouldn't go back to ...some of the places I have been...if I was starving....and they were the only place left to work as a nurse. I'm not the only agency nurse that feels this way...and one agency once called me and asked me "What will it take for you to go to this hospital...They're desperate...Name your price"!!! I told my very sweet and naive recruiter...that they didn't have enough money for me to go back!

    Finally I was talked into going back...and give it one more try. Those people had totally changed their attitudes...as I wasn't the only nurse who had put them on a DNR list!!! So the moral of this story....be careful how you treat the agency nurses who come work with you....because one day....they may not come anymore...
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    Yeah, Browns, we get thrown into the same toxic environment that drove the staff nurses away, IMHO.
  10. by   live4today
    I casted my vote for: There's room for a lot of improvement!

    I always loved to work agency since I was a divorced Mom raising three girls, it afforded me the opportunity to work around my children's schedules while trying to be both mom and dad to them.
    On more than one occasion, I have felt abused as an agency nurse, but chalked it up to staff-envy. I did my best to prepare myself mentally for the challenge of working as an agency nurse before reporting for duty, that way I wasn't too disappointed that I was working without assist or a caring staff at some places.

    I've also worked at places where I've been very warmly received, and would always choose those facilities over others, even if it meant more patients to care for, more paperwork to do, etc. The staff DOES make or break an agency nurse's shift.

    Last night I was watching a rerun show on ER where a patient had received the wrong blood...died...staff immediately blamed it on an agency nurse when in fact, the guilty party was their own HN. Go figure! I had to laugh at that one because it happens a lot. Staff are more constant than agency, so it's easier for the agency nurses who come and go so sporadically to be blamed for every little thing gone wrong.

    Even so, I would work agency again, I would become a Traveling Nurse again, and whenever I worked with agency nurses as a staff nurse, I did my best to make each of them feel "at home" on the unit by being as helpful as possible.
  11. by   Brownms46
    EXACTLY.... I just wonder why no one gets a clue. I recently worked with a LTC nurse who had never worked in a hospital ...in the two year since she graduated! She was agency and this was her first time on that floor! The way the staff talked to her...was terrible to say the least! But this is the reason they were so short of nurses...and why 90% of the nurses working on this unit...were agency! Also the reason this unit was desperate enough to allow a nurse with no hospital expereince to be there in the first place. She couldn't draw blood...so I or another agency nurse did it for her. She had a pt in resp distress and didn't know what to do...so agency came to her rescue. if she couldn't find something or didn't know how to do something...we helped her.

    Although this was time consuming...we felt it was better to treat her right....assist her with taking care of her pts....to not let her fall on her face, and therefore allow her pts to suffer in the long run, and possibly be working without her help the next time! I prefer a little help to no help at all! But that is just me..
  12. by   nightingale
    Just curious...Brown and Cheerfulldoer: are you treated badly most of the time?

    B.
  13. by   BadBird
    I cast my vote for treated the same. In some hospitals you are treated well in others all are dumped on, same s--t, different address.
  14. by   Brownms46
    Unfortuantely I would have to say most....!! But you find out quickly which ones are nice...and you get in good with staff....and the staffing office. And soon you don't have to go to the bad ones..

    I once had a hospital staffing office call my agency to see why I wasn't on their schedule. The agency made an excuse that I had taken sometime off...when in reality I was on a contract elsewhere. It's nice to be wanted...and everyone needs to feel welcome. Makes all the difference in the world!

    The thing you have to remember is...some hospitals are understaffed because of the pay...and some are understaffed, because management doesn't care, they're unorganized, and nurse eaters abound! Most times...if the staff is burnt out...and their being made to work MOT...they don't feel respected, or cared about....many times you won't be treated well!

    But if the nurses are working in relatively positive surroundings..but the hospital just can't or thinks it can't compete with the bonuses other hospitals are offering...and just can't keep staff because of it....many times the nurses will be very nice, and try to recruit you. At one of the worst paying hospitals I found the staff to be the most kind. They loved where they worked and woulldn't consider going anywhere else...unless it was for more money. Some make scarafices for better working conditions. Unfortuantely I want to have my cake and eat it too...I want good working conditions and good pay..

    Just greedy I guess..
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Jun 17, '02
  15. by   nightingale
    My experience has been more like BadBirds.... when dumped they dump on everyone.

    I laughed one time when a nurse, who was regular staff, told me she got the worse patients assignments and went on to explain how sure she was of that.

    Perspective is everything.

    B.

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