agency nurses - page 2

What is the general opinion about nurses who work for an agency?Are there any agencies' that are good nationally?... Read More

  1. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    I have been a nurse for 25 years and throughout my career I have held ancillary positions with supplemental staffing services. My observations about "agencies" are the result of having been involved with them as staff, as an agency administrator and as a nursing administrator. Here are my thoughts for you:
    1. Not every RN is cut out for the rigors of supplemental staffing; Nurses who require a great deal of structure are not good supplemental RNs. One must have a tolerance for ambiguity and be extremely flexible.
    2. There are good and bad agencies. Remember that agencies are there to make a profit and that profit depends upon how much you work. You will make more than hospital nurses (who generally resent this fact), but your hourly wage is only the tip of the iceberg. The agency bills a great deal more than your hourly wage (generally resented by the hospitals). Many agencies hire anyone off the street, though they say they thoroughly check out everyone. Don't believe it. If you submit your paperwork and are called for an assignment that day or the next, be very skeptical. We have agency nurses in my area who should not even be practicing nursing, much less be agency nurses.
    3. If you are undecided about where you would like to permanently base, an agency is a great way to test waters in many facilities. You can learn a lot about a hospital by working some shifts there.
    4. If you are highly independent and desire self-employment, do what I and 23 colleagues have done...become a Professional Practice Group. Why be an employee when you can be self-employed? Cut out the middle man, establish great relationships with hospitals and be truly desired for your skills and expertise. If you want more information, I will be glad to help you. Email me at
    founder@preferredrns.com.

    Best regards,
    Charles

  2. by   EndoRN
    Interesting topic! I've been an RN for 9 1/2 yrs. I just tried agency nursing for the first time this past summer. I hated it!! I went to the agency, got hired that day & gave them a list of days I could work. They gave me maps for three different hospitals. Told me they'd call me two hrs. before the shift was due to start & they would tell me at that time which hospital to show up at. I had never even heard of any of the hospitals! (I just moved to St. Louis....huge city....lots of hospitals!)
    Anyway, so off I go on my first assignment. I don't even know my way around the place, don't even know where they bathrooms, elevators or anything are! I find the floor, get a cell phone, beeper and an assignment!
    I felt like the world's crappiest nurse, the pt. assessments were easy enough. But I didn't know where to chart, etc...couldn't get into the Pyxis (med supplies), or into the computers because I was agency. Couldn't find a regular staff nurse to help me that wasn't at her wit's end. Couldn't find something as simple as a pillow when a pt. asked for it....etc. etc. etc.
    Whew!
    Needless to say, I only made it through three assignments before throwing in the towel. I was afraid for my pts. safety! I felt too disorganized to give decent pt. care.
    Feedback guys!! Did any of you feel this way when you started agency nursing? Or is it me?? I really am an excellent nurse . The money WAS awesome. Should I have stuck it out?
  3. by   Bonnie2000
    Agency nursing xounds like the way to go... Probably difficult in the area of orienting to the unit etc.. but lucrative.. sure we want and need to feel like we are safe, but I would hope "some agencies" allow for some sort of transition to a new hospital (is the ivory tower thought or what)!

    Has anyone heard of home health agency work? Or home health independant contracting? Love home health but the money stinks, so far...

    Bonnie
  4. by   bunky
    Hi Endo! I felt totally overwhelmed and unprepared my first few shifts too, but one thing that I have been able to do is specify that I will only work at this one hospital! I am still new to this, but am catching on to it and am LOVING setting my own schedule! For instance last week I worked Sat. Sun. Mon and was able to be off until the next Sunday. I am making more money in 24 hours than I was in 40 hours at my old job. It is working out beautifully for me. Maybe give it another try but be specific about where you will work.
  5. by   mustangsheba
    Originally posted by samcocoa:
    Hi I am a new nurse. I was wondering if there are any agency that would hire a nurse w/o experience?

    Thanks in advance.
  6. by   mustangsheba
    Originally posted by samcocoa:
    Hi I am a new nurse. I was wondering if there are any agency that would hire a nurse w/o experience?

    Thanks in advance.
    My deer: Don't put yourself in that position. Get some experience first unless they know ahead of time and are will to teach. Facilities do tend to give heavy loads and acuity to agency nurses and that spells trouble. At the very least, it would burn you out early. Good luck!

  7. by   mustangsheba
    Originally posted by Bonnie2000:
    Agency nursing xounds like the way to go... Probably difficult in the area of orienting to the unit etc.. but lucrative.. sure we want and need to feel like we are safe, but I would hope "some agencies" allow for some sort of transition to a new hospital (is the ivory tower thought or what)!

    Has anyone heard of home health agency work? Or home health independant contracting? Love home health but the money stinks, so far...

    Bonnie
    Where do you live? They have agency home health in the state of Washington.
  8. by   mustangsheba
    Originally posted by EndoRN:
    Interesting topic! I've been an RN for 9 1/2 yrs. I just tried agency nursing for the first time this past summer. I hated it!! I went to the agency, got hired that day & gave them a list of days I could work. They gave me maps for three different hospitals. Told me they'd call me two hrs. before the shift was due to start & they would tell me at that time which hospital to show up at. I had never even heard of any of the hospitals! (I just moved to St. Louis....huge city....lots of hospitals!)
    Anyway, so off I go on my first assignment. I don't even know my way around the place, don't even know where they bathrooms, elevators or anything are! I find the floor, get a cell phone, beeper and an assignment!
    I felt like the world's crappiest nurse, the pt. assessments were easy enough. But I didn't know where to chart, etc...couldn't get into the Pyxis (med supplies), or into the computers because I was agency. Couldn't find a regular staff nurse to help me that wasn't at her wit's end. Couldn't find something as simple as a pillow when a pt. asked for it....etc. etc. etc.
    Whew!
    Needless to say, I only made it through three assignments before throwing in the towel. I was afraid for my pts. safety! I felt too disorganized to give decent pt. care.
    Feedback guys!! Did any of you feel this way when you started agency nursing? Or is it me?? I really am an excellent nurse . The money WAS awesome. Should I have stuck it out?
    Oh yes! Have I ever been there! The first time somebody commented on the fact that I didn't know what a Pixis is I told them I thought it was a little elf. It had been a couple of years since I had worked the floor. The most difficult aspect is not knowing where anything is as you found out. When I had worked several times for this particular facility, the word came down from on high that agency nurses were costing too much and that their nurses were to start taking mandatory overtime. I was just starting to find my way around. I know the regular nurses liked me, so that wasn't the problem. If you can go to the same area in the same hospital at least three times, it gets lots easier. I do not take ICU. Agencies are very different. You might want to try a different one.
  9. by   Lespnp
    To be an agency nurse you need to not only have nursing knowledge and skill you also need to be flexible.
    I have been doing agency for three years and when I know I am going to a hospital for the first time I arrive up to two hours early to orient myself. I find out where the bathroom is, supplies, code cart, charts, methods of charting, how to page, important phone numbers (pharm, radiology etc), procedure book and I obtain a temporary code for the pyxis. I only need to do this the first time so by the time the shift starts I can get my assignment and hit the ground running.
  10. by   Iam46yearsold
    wow this is interesting

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