Ethical dilemma: Go agency for the money?

  1. I work on a 16 bed telemetry unit (the only position I've ever had) and lately I have waivered between being loyal to my coworkers and my facility or leaving to do agency work for alot more money. I love nursing and I take my job very seriously. Maybe it is just burnout, but lately I feel like management just wants a warm body in place. I see agency nurses come in with little or no experience (not all, some are great!)and I have to help take care of their patients as well as mine or stand by and watch patients receive substandard care (which I cannot do)AND they are making twice what I do. Some of these nurses and some of our own staff nurses don't even qualify for a warm body. Recently, a position was created in our department for a unit manager. The person who was given the position is one of the most careless nurses on the floor. She talks instead of works, leaving meds not given or not given on time. However, she was the only person who expressed interest in the position. Sometimes I think if I'm going to be unhappy at work, why not be unhappy making twice as much money? Is this an ethical issue in that it increases the cost of health care? After reading the post about salaries I am not as concerned as I was about this issue. I'm not being paid enough to concern myself with issues other than the care I give my patients wherever I work. What thoughts are there out there on working for an agency for more money? Then there is the school of thought that says don't go into nursing for the money?

    [This message has been edited by dwp (edited October 25, 2000).]
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   ceworden
    I have never worked as an agency nurse, however it is good pay. The only fault I had with doing this type of Nursing is that you are put into several differant settings than what you are use to. That is why alot of agency nurses seem "out of place" when they come onto a unit they have never been before. Nursing in itself requires all your skills, however, differant places have differant ways of doing things. Most things are the same but I am sure you are aware that on your unit some things may be done differantly...including charting.
    There seems to also be a bigger problem where you work. I am very concerned re: your unit manager. If she is giving substandard care I would mention it to someone. She is putting the patients lives in danger and since she seems to be in a "administrative position" she could very easily lay blame elsewhere.
    Nursing is not about the amount of money you make, however, if you are unhappy in your surroundings and you feel that agency nursing will give you greater insight by all means go for it. I am the one that states that do not go into Nursing for the money. However, it seems as if there is more at issue here with your situation than money.
    Should you decide to change to agency nursing ask lots of questions before hand. As with any position there are pluses and mineses....Plus----better pay, opportunity to expand your knowledge.
    Minus---unfamilar territory, differant policies.
    Good Luck in your decision and if you do leave your facility make sure that others are aware of your unit manager's attitude.

    MNM---A Step for Our Future, 2001


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    CEWorden, LPN
    Proud to be a Nurse
  4. by   dwp
    I too am proud to be a nurse. Thanks for your reply. I still have misgivings about agency nursing AND for the reasons you mentioned. It is hard to go to another facility where charting is different, and supplies are in a different place. I am going to stay PRN at my facility and try agency nursing on a per diem basis so I won't be locked in for 13 weeks. As far as our unit manager, I am of the belief if you give someone enough rope....However, I will NOT watch someone do these things for long without saying something. We have had nurses who slept on the job, left orders on the chart, etc. I have always brought it to their attention, OR if necessary written an occurrence. We should all work together and I believe that we all make mistakes sometimes but there are some things that are unacceptable. The most important thing is to work for our patients welfare and safety.
  5. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by dwp:
    I work on a 16 bed telemetry unit (the only position I've ever had) and lately I have waivered between being loyal to my coworkers and my facility or leaving to do agency work for alot more money. I love nursing and I take my job very seriously. Maybe it is just burnout, but lately I feel like management just wants a warm body in place. I see agency nurses come in with little or no experience (not all, some are great!)and I have to help take care of their patients as well as mine or stand by and watch patients receive substandard care (which I cannot do)AND they are making twice what I do. Some of these nurses and some of our own staff nurses don't even qualify for a warm body. Recently, a position was created in our department for a unit manager. The person who was given the position is one of the most careless nurses on the floor. She talks instead of works, leaving meds not given or not given on time. However, she was the only person who expressed interest in the position. Sometimes I think if I'm going to be unhappy at work, why not be unhappy making twice as much money? Is this an ethical issue in that it increases the cost of health care? After reading the post about salaries I am not as concerned as I was about this issue. I'm not being paid enough to concern myself with issues other than the care I give my patients wherever I work. What thoughts are there out there on working for an agency for more money? Then there is the school of thought that says don't go into nursing for the money?

    [This message has been edited by dwp (edited October 25, 2000).]
    Every setting presents a unique set of challenges-but you have to do what is best for yourself...Most agencies will work with you and try to send you to the same facilities if that is what you prefer.I missed the camaraderie -for me that is an important part of my job,that and respecting my co-workers.At this time in my life being happy and proud of my facility and the care we give is most important..And if you don't feel that way were you are now you owe it to yourself to find a situation in which you do.You care very much-don't let yourself get discouraged and bitter-that will lead you to a fast burn out...Good luck(I also believe that loyalty to a job does not mean much in nursing these days-just looking at your new unit manager every day will probably stress you out)

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