Well I did it! I quit my regular job to go to agency. - page 2
I hope I have made the right decision. But I could not take the BS anymore. So here I go. I think it will be great having the days off that I need or want without a problem. Any... Read More
Sep 19, '02Hag I am thinking about doing the same thing but only one shift per week since I already work full time elsewhere but I have not worked acute care since 92. Do you think it would be much different? Do they help you with the equipment that has changed since I last worked acute care?
Sep 19, '02Most hospitals will show you equipment if you need help.and make you aware of the paperwork for your shift, others will actually provide you with orientation. The first few shifts are always a little stressful at a new hospital because you don't know where things are, but you muddle through and the next time is easier.
Oct 1, '02How large a city are you in? Lots of hospitals?
It helps to get a contract. Then, you get agency pay and work at the same hospital just like a employee.
Watch your meds and Iv's when you first go to a hospital. New tubings, meds, etc. .....it is easy to err at a new place.
You will love agency. My one best suggestion....never forget..the agency works for you. You are in charge now.
Oct 8, '02I have worked for an agency over past 6 mo. LOVE the "no politics" aspect. Needed to find a "real job" tho due to cancelations in my rural area, but I will always retain my agency job for the challenges it offers.
Oct 8, '02Good advice and hints from everybody.
I also wanted to add that from my experience, having been in several states and cities, the name or corporate affiliation of any particular agency seems to matter little. It all comes down to the staff in the office. I have worked for a really good agency then moved, having them transfer my paper work to their office in the city I was moving to, only to find out that this new office was terrible. I have had experiences where it happenned the other way too.
As far as cancellations that Kansas FNP was talking about... been there too. I am currently in the Topeka area myself. I am signed up with 4 agencies here in town. One seems to be the dominating agency (lots of firm hours, usually highest pay and taking facilities from others left and right), the others seem to be trying to hold on to what they have left, and you seem to get cancelled more than you work with them. Pay rates vary enormously here. Orientation also varies a ton. Some places do orientation before working an actual shift. You get about 1/2 pay for orientation, but at least you are prepared for that scarey first shift. Other places it's "here's your stuff, here's your patient list, there's the nurse station, have fun."
Watch out for non-compete agreements. You'll always have to sign an agreement not to go work for the facility you go to through the agency (typically 60-120 days), but some (especially here) try to sneak agreements that disallow you from working for other agencies into their application packets! Yikes! Don't sign those, and in my case they skipped right over them, so out of site out of mind.
Don't buy into giant sign on bonuses. They have strings attached, and you'll probably retire before you accumulate enough hours for the bonus. Go for places that offer higher pay, insurance and 401k. Other little perks like uniform programs and the like are "neat" but no big deal in my eyes.
If you let your agency know where you want to go, they will work hard to get into that facility for you. If they don't, then they aren't that great in my eyes.
To keep busy in this area, you need to be somewhat flexible in what units and shifts you are willing to work. Diversity is key. One day I'm working ER the next LTC the next medsurg. I like variety, some don't.
Best of luck!
Oct 12, '02I quit my "real" job over a year and a half ago to work agency and I am NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER going back to a regular nursing job. I can work when I want, the days I want, don't have worry do I get off for my kids's birthdays, for Christmas Day, a dr's appt. Get better pay. I've never taken any of the benefits at any of the jobs I've worked because most places health benefits SUCK so bad, I am amzed at how health care facilities have such awful insurance that is SO expensive, so that wasn't a problem. \
Working agency has made my life so much less stressful. The first calendar year I worked for agency I was cancelled 5 days in a period from April to December. This calendar year I have been cancelled three days. Two of the days I was cancelled in the first year were in a week I had signed up for bookoo overtime, I didn't get the OT but I wasn't short of money either. This year two of the days were holidays, they didn't want to pay me double time to work them! Cancellations have not been a real big deal, I have had just a few short checks, but extra days off with no one at home are GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 13, '02Karo I have been out of acute care since 92 and in home health and TLC since then. I only want to work PRN and none of the hospitals here will hire me so I am considering going agency. I think I would be fine but would only need brief overview. I have never used pixus or computerized documentation so I would need that. Did you have current technology skills? I have plenty of med surg skills so I am not worried about that...
Oct 13, '02I have worked for an agency for about 1 1/2 years. I love it. I contract hours through the agency. I generally get contracted for 40 hours a week. Contracted hours are nice because you won't get called off or cancelled. The facility has to pay the agency for the contracted hours so if they have to pay they will not call you off. I think the best part of agency nursing is not having to deal with the political BS at most facilities. No mandatory overtime, no mandatory inservices scheduled at times that are tough for you to get to.
I would suggest agency nursing to everyone. Right now the only way for us to be paid what we are worth is to go to an agency that pays the big bucks.
Good Luck with your agency nursing
Oct 13, '02if i may, try to registered with at least two agencies, if your area is small- medium in size and if you want more than just the weekends unless you contract, or if you are called off.
agency may be what you are looking for.
i do wish you all the best. keep us posted.
Oct 13, '02I still was wondering if the technology has changed so much I would be to far behind.\\
Oct 26, '02Thanks for sharing your experiences and giving sound advise, fellow nurses. I plan to join a travel agency in Jan, 2003 to combine nursing with travel, (I get bored easily, want to see the world). Got some more good tips??Thanks again.