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Hi there Cloudysue, I just recently signed on with an agency in my hometown. I did so because there have been no jobs posted anywhere and hospitals and clinics are hire freezed since July. Most agencies require having 1 yr of experience, to which I personally don't see what difference 11 mo vs 1 yr experience makes. To answer your question, I think most of us know that a nursing agency usually pays a few dollars more hourly rate than the usual pay rate for LPN's at most of the facilities in your city. For example, I have worked in a hospital, some LTC's and most recently until July at a psychiatric hospital. The LTC facilities paid me anywhere from 19-20 pr hr. The current agency I'm with pays 23 pr hr regardless of what type of facility you are sent to . The med surg floor I used to work on at a very large highly rated hospital system paid me the least. So if you're lucky enough to be sent to a hospital they are contracted with, at least you'd be paid a better rate than if you were staff there. And of course it could all be relative to your home town area and what the local rates are vs the agencies in town. By the way, I live in Louisiana, and although agency nursing isn't what I would like to be doing, at least the pay rate is reasonable.
I finally got a permanent job that pays $21 (assisted living). I wasn't even getting one shift a week from my primary and had just signed on with a secondary when I got this job. The secondary one (Integrated) supposedly has most of the LTC accounts in the area and they did call me a couple days in a row to offer me shifts; still, it's a lot slower than it was before the economy tanked. I definitely would not count on it for full-time hours these days. There's really no "normal" for any agency in any area. It also depends on your availability and flexibility...if you can work at the drop of a hat, any shift, obviously you'll get more work.