I agree about agency nursing being a less secure career option right now. In the Southeast, none of area hospitals are using agency nurses, but 5 -10 years ago most used hundreds of agency nurses a day. Now, zero.
Many of hosp in our area are canceling shifts for staff, and if there is agency in house, they will be called off first.
Also, even though the base pay rate is higher, agency nurses often are not paid shift diffs, or not as much shift diff, as the hospital might pay. So you might be better off staying with current hospital working off shifts if the diffs are good. I've worked side by side with agency nurses making $33 - $35/hour and I've made more in the hospital by the time weekend night diffs were factored in . Not to mention I still was getting paid sick time off, vacation, health insuraNce, dental, disability, etc. So, please make sure you look at factors carefully: sick days? paid time off? I have known many agency nurses burn themselves from never taking sick days or vacation days because they weren't paid if they were off. We work too hard and we have to have time off!
I have seen agency nurses getting the crappy schedules and the crappy patient loads over the years. I've seen agencies treat my friends and colleagues like doo-doo and jerk them around with pay, assignments, etc. But I have seen some (usually more local) agencies treat staff okay. And weigh the difference if the agency provides any continuing education, credits, inservcies, etc. If they don't and your hospital does, you might be better off at your hospital. Who pays for BLS? etc etc. .. Research all factors and know what to ask for if you decide to "go agency". I think it can be rewarding for some young singles who feel they might not need same level of benefits, etc. Good luck!!