Thank you all for the insight. I do agree with most points made, however, being that we are a mid sized company, we are able to maintain a low overhead. This allows us to pay a significant amount more than the national staffing agencies in our area (which suprises a lot of people!). We do offer sick/vacation time and quarterly bonuses. We also offer a discount for medical insurance, uniform discounts, and yearly pay raises. Yet we still have difficulty hiring new staff.
I truly think that the HUGE misconception about agency nursing is that everyone thinks you will be moved around constantly. This cannot be farther from the truth. We have employees at the same location on the same floor for 40+ hours a week every week. This is because we do stand up for our employees. We have strong relationships with our facilities, and we respect both our clients and our employees.
BadBird, while you make it a point to insist that the agency stands up for you, you also make it quite clear that your loyalty follows the agency with the most $$$, and that you are not willing to slip down to the medsurg floor for one shift to help the agency fill the gaps in their schedule. I know it sounds strange, but one missed shift can really give the agency a bad name. No matter how many shifts have been filled beforehand. So no matter how good a nurse is, an inflexible nurse is not much of an asset to our agency. I'm not meaning to put you down, but I have stood up for MANY nurses only to have them leave for a dollar an hour more, or decline a shift when they know I'm in a jam. (Just some insight into the wonderful world of management
) Let it be said that we NEVER expect any nurse to take a shift they do not feel comfortable, or have the experience to do.
As for not understanding nurses, Brownms46, you are correct. Experience has shown me that it's not all about the money, the job, or the flexibility. Priorities are different for each nurse that walks through the door. We do require a different breed of nursing at our agency, one that can not only adapt to new and sometimes strange territory, but also someone who is confident enough in their training to handle the duties of agency nursing.
As for the issue of taking money away from staff nurses, it could not be farther from the truth. The reason why pay has gone up in facilities in our area is directly related to our agency. Facilities have increased pay by 30-40% to keep competitive with our rates. I know for a fact, after speaking with administration, that this is true.
So I will continue to offer incentives, be yelled at by the DON's because my rates are too high and I didn't fill that 11-7 shift that was called off at 10;45. As well as being told that I do not pay enough by a nurse that made more than two staff nurses put together.
And yet, I wouldn't trade this job for anything. Most of the nurses I work with are VERY grateful. I consider myself lucky to be in such a rewarding career. We have fought long and hard to get more respect for our nurses, and I believe we are getting there!
Thank you for the input. It is hard to get such candid input from my staff, probably due to all that "firing" I do (kidding). If anyone has other opinions towards agency, let me know.