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

  1. :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.
    •  
  2. 118 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

    I hate to say it, but the Agency nurses that work night shift around here are pretty dreadful. Not that they are incompetent, just lazy. Unfortunately, and flame me if you will, they are mostly male nurses, and I hate to slam my own gender, but that's the way it's been around here. I lost count how many of them are banned from coming to our facility.

    I have, on the other hand, met a few awesome ones, so they all aren't bad.
  4. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from Tweety
    Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

    I hate to say it, but the Agency nurses that work night shift around here are pretty dreadful. Not that they are incompetent, just lazy. Unfortunately, and flame me if you will, they are mostly male nurses, and I hate to slam my own gender, but that's the way it's been around here. I lost count how many of them are banned from coming to our facility.

    I have, on the other hand, met a few awesome ones, so they all aren't bad.
    I've seen good and bad. There are definately some agency nurses that are more than welcome back to my unit. I do try and bear in mind that since they are not regular staff, they may (or should be) asking some questions. Asking questions I don't really have a problem with, or being asked to double check something because they are unfamiliar with the equipment either.

    Unfortunately I have seen the "lazy" and one of the worst ones I encountered happened to be male. Even worse are the "GOD's gift to the Nursing Profession" that know everything and you can't tell them nothing, oh and they want to tell me how to do Charge. But in all fairness, I've also seen this behavior from staff floated to our floor also and not just with agency nurses.

    Bulletproofbarb, I realize your facility may have some issues in regards to agency. I did write up an agency nurse, sent a copy to the House manager and my manager. I had explained to the House manager the situation and he requested a copy of the documentation of events so he could provide it to the agency. My unit manager later said that there had been complaints about this same agency nurse in the past and that since I had now documented the events, she could now ensure that this person would not be back on our unit. Haven't seen her since.
  5. by   BadBird
    Your posting strikes a nerve with me. I was a agency nurse in ICU for 4 1/2 years and loved it. I was offered full time positions in every unit I worked. Not all agency nurses are incompetent and believe me plenty of staff nurses need to learn a thing or two. Don't lump all agency nurses together! Your manager has the ability to call the agency and tell them not to send that nurse back and perhaps she should then maybe you will benefit from a experienced agency nurse.
  6. by   suzanne4
    I have worked agency for most of my career and can go along with what has been posted above. There are some agencies out there that will place a nurse that is not qualified just to make the money, whether it is hospital placement, or home health.

    The nurse must be able to pass competencies for the unit where they will be placed, including a math exam, if need be. There is absolutely no reason that a nurse who hasn't been in a hospital for over 7 years, and away from patient care, should be working agency in a hospital, where is their one year current work experience? And placed in an ICU, no less, when they have never worked ICU in their life.

    What others may not realize, when you accept a position in an area that you have no experience in, all you are doing is delegating some of the responsibilities to someone else, such as reading your EKG strips, etc., but you are ultimatley responsible for that patient and if something happens, it is your neck on the line.

    Just my two cents thrown in. I know where I am now, you must take an ICU exam, as well as a med exam, and they have had travellers cancelled because they could not pass one or the other. Soem much for the agency screening them.
  7. by   Aneroo
    I have to agree with Tweety that there are good ones and there are not so good ones.
    We have some awesome agency RN's where I work. I love them, would let them take care of my child, and hate seeing some of them go.
    But then there are others. It's not skills are lacking- we may have been taught different or something. It's attitude. I hear a lot of "A my hospital we did it like this"- not in a constructive manner either. I am always left wondering "And why did you leave if it was so nice there?". I get frustrated that they're expected to have a minimal amount of orientation and then hit the ground running. I don't think it's fair to them to have to try and live up to that expectation. If some would just hit the ground moving at all though- it'd be nice.
    I can understand where your vent is coming from though!
  8. by   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.
  9. by   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.
  10. by   babynurselsa
    As a staff nurse over the years I have seen both end of this. Our staffing office a t the last facility I worked had a particular attitude. "A nurse is a nurse." They were only concerned with filling a hole in the schedule. I have seen 20 year veteran psych nurses sent to work in my NICU, Med surg or what ever. These folks would have absolutely no clue. I place the fault on the nurse as well as the staff office. Why would you accept an assignment in an area that you have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE?????
    We often recieved these people who came in and stated "I was glad to come so I could come and rock and feed babies all night."
    In our unit we would typically give them a lighter load, which meant we would take a heavier on. Then we would babysit not only their patients but them as well all night. So essentially you had twice the patient load anyway plu you had to double check everything they did. We would get some great experienced NICU trained nurses and we LOVED them.
    When I became an agency nurse myself the first question I asked my agency was "If I show up for a scheduled shift at a facility and they inform me that instead of working in teh NICU or the ER they want to send me to ICU, or Ortho(areas that I have no experience) Will you back me up when I leave and go home?" THey stated yes. I signed with them.
    I did take competency tests for my stated areas that I had to pass. The reason that I chose the particular agency that I did was I had noticed over the years that the overall caliber of nurses sent by this agency was higher than some others. There are some agencies out there that will try and convince you to go places you shouldn't just because they want to book a shift. They are best avoided.
  11. by   hrtprncss
    I have high regards when it comes to agency nurses. Personally, not only they are a big help but also the one's I work with can function as resource. Albeit there are some where you work with them for twelve hours and can't cope. Very few though that I have come across as ''incompetent''. Though we do have a list, a "DNR" DO NOT RETURN, but this is mainly for agency nurses with attitude. This list though is being implemented so fast and when one agency nurse has a bad day a staff nurse may put the agency nurse' name on the list therefore banning them from coming back at least to the unit. Of course when another nurse speaks up for the agency nurse then he or she is pulled off from that list which I have done a few times.
  12. by   BamaBound2bRN
    I am sick and tired of incompetent nurses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, dentists, dry cleaners, chefs, dog groomers, hell I am just sick and tired of incompetence! But, what can you do........you can't shoot them........you should love them, teach them, forgive them............or at least don't let the body float to the top of the lake
  13. by   suzanne4
    Unfortunately, not all agencies provide competency exams to the nurses that they employ.

    I have worked agency for over too many years to count, probably 95% of my career. Nowadays, there are agencies that are in competiton to get as many shifts filled that they can, and do not care about the nurse and her or his license at all. Only that they have one. This does not help the field at all, for those of us that have done things properly.

    The same goes for travel companies as well.

    Any agency that will hire a new grad without any type of experience, whether it be for hospital work, or home health, run as fast as you can away from them.
  14. by   RN4NICU
    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.
    Having worked agency, I can say that it is not always the agency nurse's fault. I have walked in for a scheduled shift only to be told that the NICU did not need me and that I was to report to CCU. *****?? How safe does that sound? I refused to go. My agency was not pleased and the facility put me on their 'do not return' list because I refused to work in an area in which I had no experience. (shows how much they care about patient safety doesn't it...). I dropped my agency after that. I refuse to let an agency make money off putting ***MY*** license at risk!! This same agency would call me day in and day out offering me shifts in areas they KNEW I had no experience. It was all about the $$$ for them. :angryfire

    That said, there are some deceptive (not to mention STUPID) nurses out there. Last spring, our unit contracted two travelers who allegedly had NICU experience. Well, when they arrived, they did not even know the BASICS about working in the NICU. Who does that? Who says "Yes, I have NICU experience" when they have never set foot in one? How on earth do they think that they are going to be able to fake it for a 13-week travel assignment?? Oh, I forgot...all NICU nurses do is feed and rock babies. :angryfire

close