I'm sick to my eyeballs of incompetent agency nurses. - page 9

:angryfire I am sick and tired of having to work with incompetent agency nurses. Ones that have no clue what to do but take the shift anyway because it's money. I'm sick of having to teach... Read More

  1. by   thorRN
    To the original poster - you say that you'ld rather go home without pay than work with an agency nurse. Perhpas you should go home with a sick headache, or leposy attack or something or other--you'ld be less likely to blow an aneurysm.
    It sounds like the problem is with the staffing "powers that be." I have worked as an agency nurse in the past also, and have had not problems except for the attitudes of some of the nurses such as you have voiced. I tend to be quite flexible, so have always had a "can-do" attitude.
    Some nurses are great, some not so great. I'm sure that nurse you had to deal with won't be back any time soon. And, if he is, you too have an option...
  2. by   grammyr
    Haunted,
    My post was NOT intended to be a slap at agency nurses. Of the agency nurses I have worked with only one was sent packing. The rest I really enjoyed. You all do have a different perspective and that is much needed at times. I have gotten valuable information from agency nurses, some of which made my job a little easier.

    If I offended you, I am truly sorry. That was not my intention.
  3. by   70sCat
    Quote from Haunted
    Agency nurses have to complete competencies that are far more rigorous and involved than the NCLEX, yearly. I also am drug tested and must submit a physical clearance from my physician. Every new facility or unit I am assigned I must also pass competencies and have them signed off by the charge nurse.

    My charting is scrutinized regularly by medical records, in fact at most facilities all registry charts are reviewed . I am required to wear a badge that identifies me as registry, along with my skill level (RN). Being registry by choice takes a special kind of person, as well as nurse. We have to smile more, have no one to complain to in regards to rude treatment by staff, are frequently left to our own devices when we enter a new unit. We must locate equipment, supplies and fly by the seat of our pants with little or no support from the staffers.

    Because I maintain a cheerful and helpful attitude I feel I am well received by many staffers. If I ask for help it is because it is in the patients best interest, moving them in bed, a complicated dressing change, filling out some documentation that is specific to this facility etc. If a staff nurse is downright rude to me or condecending, or has me in their sights out of some preconceived resentment over the money I make or the freedom I have to work my own shifts and locations I must work doubly hard to get along with them, thus taking time away from patient care.

    Overall, I agree with many sentiments expressed in this thread and must add that as nurses, we are on a mission to look out for our patients, but also support each other in doing our jobs. We are the "new kids" in class and it can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. Still, we are willing to put ourselves out there in your line of fire and it's with the very best intentions.

    I would ask on behalf of all my agency partners that you, as a staff nurse familiar with equipment, it's location, charting and local policies offer a helping hand when we ask, we aren't there to make your jobs harder, only hoping to be accepted as the professionals that we are.
    Amen to that. Agency nurses are called in to fill for a staffing shortage, yet it surprises me how poorly agency nurses are often treated by hospital staff. Speaking as a former agency nurse, we were often 'dumped on', given the worst and most difficult patients on the floor. The staff were often resentful for whatever reason and hesitant to help when requested.

    It's very difficult and unnerving for agency nurses going into an unfamiliar facility, not knowing where anything is located, unfamiliar with the rounding docs, unfamiliar with the staff nurses and floor routines. Also, it's a given that no matter how long you've been a nurse, there are still some things/procedures that you've never done or haven't done often and need some assistance with. I believe I'd much rather an unsure nurse ask how to do something than for her to just go and do it anyway because she's met with resistance from the staff when asking for help. After all, isn't working together in the patient's best interest?

    The pay isn't always better than staff pay either. I had to work per diem for a variety of reasons and my agency would, without fail, cancel me enough during the month to prevent me from getting health insurance and other benefits through them. Not good when you have SLE and are trying to support a family.

    Things aren't always as they appear from the outside.
  4. by   70sCat
    Quote from fergus51
    I have no problem helping agency nurses with finding things, charting, etc. I do have a problem when we get a GERIATRIC nurse working in the NICU!!! Yes, this happened at my hospital. Those rigorous yearly testing and competency evaluations are apparently not all that impossible to bypass if a geriatrics nurse can wind up in the NICU. Those people drive me insane and they give a bad name to others. We have also had several agency nurses claim to have NICU experience only to find out they were really newborn nursery nurses.
    I think this has more to do with who's assigning the nurses to their work areas than who's qualified to do the job. Aren't the agency assignments done by someone within your hospital like the Nursing Supervisor or Administrator? My agency never did our floor/unit assignments. The hospital's Nursing Supervisor or Administrator on Duty did.
  5. by   Zookeeper3
    honestly not reading all of the 11 pages, in our cardiac/medical/surgical... we get it all in all our ICU's..... Normally we have one to three that work out past three grueling weeks.

    Now we have for 10 beds (5 icu's 10 beds each, they will float first), We have 4 core staff members... full time, two only weekends.. figure out our staffing needs, huge. we fired one with in 3 weeks, two weeks too long, one can skate by because the acuty is low(calls rapid repsonse t0 the ICU in a panic, not thinking we'll fix the mess as our ICU IS RAPID RESPONSE) , so she's right now a keeper, another, that is a step down type traveler who is on the ball, will ask the right questions... can keep this one with constant monitoring (as acuitity will increase, we might have issues, will give safe assignments and hope for the best

    Another is golden, pure ICU, but not for the absolute sickest which is fine, is where I come In , and or train the newbies with. Then we have simply dumb.... not dumb enough to fire, but can't get enough to document it, but spends more ancillary nursing time helping in non acute situations, and basic acute situations.... where I could scream..... when you call a code.... could you at least BAG THE PATIENT instead of nervously pace.

    ugh, we've a mixed blessing, no different than many levels of staff nurses that would be making their way through, so we nurture, teach, watch like a hawk and remove at last expense after all else has either failed or there is too much element of the surprise where they hide their mess, which is worse.

    We live on agency for years on end, and I can call 'em a mile out, I'm 9/10... it takes more documentation to get management the know how to fix it, or keep ''em. It's exhausting to say the least.

    In fairness, they do rest us, they do stop us from trippling, they do decrease our call time.... some just work us harder when we're there, unfortunately, many of them.

    I've been an agency nurse for several hospitals, it's not about the policies and politics I speak, it's about pure nursing judgement. I'm finding this lacking in general, but still pleased at out weeded out group if that makes sense.
    Last edit by Zookeeper3 on Oct 19, '07
  6. by   70sCat
    Quote from bulletproofbarb
    As for the teaching side, I simply don't see why I should teach agency nurses new skills. If they can't do something, it's quicker for me to do it than teach them. Fair enough, if it's one thing but when they can't do anything then my BP rises. However, if it's one of our own nurses, then yes, I'll take the time out to teach them because that is part of my job anyway.
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand this line of reasoning, i.e., you'll take the time to teach 'one of (y)our own nurses' new skills, but won't afford an agency nurse the same courtesy?
  7. by   sayitgirl
    Agency nurses are there to fill a need. I was an agency nurse at one time when I was going through school. You would not believe how unkind facilty nurses are. They expect you to know policies and procedures of facilities as soon as you walk in the door. Things that took many of them months to know, but they expect the agency nurse to know it all. Agencies do not provide orientation to facilities. Many times the only orientation a nurse gets to a hospital or nursing center is when they walk in that door. Remember agency nurses are nurses just like you and me. Trying to pay mortgage notes, car notes and / or put food on their tables. Stop being so judgemental. Or would you rather work short?
    Last edit by sayitgirl on Oct 19, '07
  8. by   NursingAgainstdaOdds
    Ew. Why did we resurrect such a negative thread? It's from 2 years ago.
  9. by   MedSurgeNewbie
    I think when it comes to Agency, there are good and bad - just like the floors - Sometimes its not the nurses fault, you think you are being sent to do one thing and get roped into another..Got one a time a go never worked a day on the floor as an LPN thought she was coming as an aide and got the rope-a-dope. As painful as it was to me I figure she was terrified - planted he to my right hip and it was great to have 4 arms.. sometimes ya just have to roll with it..
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from bulletproofbarb
    :angryfire

    I am sick and tired of having to work with incompetent agency nurses. Ones that have no clue what to do but take the shift anyway because it's money.

    I'm sick of having to teach them stuff, I am not there to teach them, I am happy to teach our own nurses but not agency nurses. If they feel they are suitable enough for agency, then it is their responsibility to make sure they have the skills not mine.

    I'm sick of having to pick up the pieces and listen to complaints from relatives about them. I have had a gutful.

    I'd rather work shortstaffed that watch someone do the bear minimum or nothing yet getting paid better. It really irritates me.

    I hate it.I have had a gutful. I am ready to crack up.

    I think that standards to become an agency nurse need to be raised. I've recently bumped into someone who has been out of the hospital system for 7 years and has come back through agency. She ended up on our ward and couldn't cope. Tonights idiot didn't know he had to empty the catheter bag of the bladderwashout and it burst. Considering they hold 4 litres, you can imagine the mess. He didn't know how to get a patient ready for theatre and a patient who was in pain was told by him to wait for another 2 hours until the medication was due again. Didn't know how to do a NJJ feed. It's appauling.

    So I spoke to the manager who said he'd make a note to say he wasn't suitable, but I know from past experience it won't happen.

    Then the agency nurse got offended when I told him he shouldn't take placements on a surgical ward if he doesn't normally work surgical. He said he worked medical. I don't bloody care if he is offended, that is his problem not mine.
    It goes both ways- I'm a traveler- which is considered a type of agency nurse.

    I am tired of regular staff nurses who have no idea what their facilities' policies and procedures are.
    Also, many do not keep up with advances or even the basics in their area of practice. I work in dialysis. Many times, I've mentioned to staff nurses that a pt is having a "renin response" or "disequlibrium symptoms" and reg staff nurses frequently have no idea what I'm talking about.

    I've also gone into units as a traveler and found pts with long-standing problems, which have not been addressed. I hate it when a staff member says "Oh, he's always like that." 90% of the time, what they really mean is "We have never bothered to address this particular problem with this pt, and I'm not going to start now."

    Funny, how some long-standing pt problems are actually resolved once they are addressed.
  11. by   time4meRN
    I've worked with good agency nurses, I've worked with bad agency nurses. I've worked with good new grads, I've worked with dreadful new grads. I've worked with RN's with suposed lengthy years of experience in critical care that are let go before orientaton is over. I've worked with RN's with no critical care experience that catch on quick and make wounderful critical RN's. I know how you feel somewhat. I do get sick of picking up the slack of those who get payed more than I but, then I don't like going to different facilites and trying to learn new ways every 6 weeks or so. So I can go and make more money traveling or I can have the benifit of staying where I know the system. It's up to me. But if I choose the later, I can't blame those that are willing to take the risk. It's their liscense.
  12. by   TrudyRN
    Having worked a lot of Agency, I know I always did my best to pull my own load. When one is new to a floor or facility, it is impossible to not have to ask some questions to take care of the patients - things like, what does this illegible order say and what's the name of the doc who wrote it, what time is the meal cart coming, what are your med times, where is this form or that supply or the freaking Med cart/room? I never expected anyone to do my work but I did expect common courtesy and decency and got pretty tired of the snooty, unhelpful staff I would sometimes encounter. Most staff were thrilled to have me, as I did take at least some burden off of them and, once they got to know me, I was always welcome back on their floor.

    I think you sound jealous of their pay rate and their ability to not come back if they choose not to. Instead of being jealous, why not join them and you go Agency, too. You might enjoy being the first one cancelled and might not mind grabbing any shift you can get so you can pay your bills. You might love having to tell staff that you are not an ICU nurse but you are happy to help with VS, feeds, toileting, hygiene, phones, orders, lab draws, whatever you can do for them, and seeing the disgust and contempt on their faces.

    I once took a shift in CCU (did have Tele background, was not ACLS, but was calm, practical, hard worker) and let it be known to both my Agency before I agreed to take the shift, and to staff upon my arrival, that I'd never worked CCU. They gave me 2 easier patients, had me help with phones (no secretary), running specimens to lab, getting missing meds from Pharmacy, stuff like that, while they took the heavier patients. It worked out well enough and no one was ugly to me. I was flexible and honest and they realized they'd at least get their VS done and phones answered by me, which was better than working totally short. Of course, my Agency never notified them what kind of nurse they were getting, so they said anyway. Fie on the Agency.

    It works both ways but if you are as frustrated as you sound, please switch to Agency.
  13. by   lorita
    I worked agency for a while and a couple times I accepted an asignment only to find out that I was being put somewhere else I didn't feel comfortble at. Once they even asked me to go to one floor I said no, they called back and said the hospital was going too float one of their empoyees to that floor if I could go to another, I accepted as I felt comfortable in that area and then when I got there they sent me to the one I turned down. I said I had told my agency I wouldn't go there they wouldn't put me where I was supposed to be I called my agency. anyway It was a big mess I ended up staying which I shouldn't have done made it through the night and quit the next day! I'm not sure who lied my agency or the facility but needless to say that was the end for me.

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