Being an Agency nurse in the UK good/bad?

  1. Hello everyone

    I am soon to be newly qualified and what with all the fears of current job freezes in the NHS I am not sure I will have a new job to go to ...have been considering agency nursing full time as they seem to offer really good flexibility in terms of the type of hours you want to work.... has any qualified nurse on here ever worked for an agency rather than the NHS? how good or bad has it been for you?

    Tina K
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   ClaireMacl
    Depends where you work and who you work for! Agencies are rated by NHS trusts and given contracts, some agencies only get a few contracts, some get many. I work in the ED, we have many agency nurses working with us, most do very well with agency alone but have to travel to different places often, others join a hospital bank and an agency so you can back yourself financially... plus agency rates aren't much better than bank rates these days!
  4. by   safewaygreenbox
    There are no shortages of jobs in Cardiff

    i think also you need to think about the non-financial side of things. I have thought about agency work but I like to 'belong' somewhere - nights out, more support etc

    Good luck
  5. by   janejoeben
    hi, i have got to agree with kay, though the flexable hours are great i would feel that i was missing out on the team approach. i also work in a&e and feel like we are a real team here, in and out of work. the other thing i think is worth considering is that you will never get any management experience working agency. this might go against you if you decide in the future to settle to one place and apply for a post. our trust has supposedly got a freeze on posts, but new staff seem to be cropping up all over the place!! good luck whatever you decide and congratulations on qualifying!!:hatparty:
  6. by   Kaylesh
    Hiya Tina
    There is no shortage of NHS jobs up here in Scotland either.. check out www.returntoscotland.com and do a search..
    On the agency idea.. As others have said pay does vary from agency to agency. Agency nursing is also never a guaranteed thing.. You give the agency your availability and you may or may not get a shift. It involves busy times where you are working your butt off and very quiet times where you are lucky to get a shift a week. If you need a certain income coming in every month then its not for you..
    Not sure about other agencies but the agency i work for our holiday pay is worked into our hourly rate so we get paid more per hour,but when we don't work for whatever reason wether its holidya or sickness we don't have a income for that time period..
    Also most agencies will require you have at least 6 months some a year of experience before they will consider you.
    These are all some things to consider before deciding on if agency nursing is for you..
    I've worked for the NHS the private sector and currently a agency and even when the times are quiet i do love the flexibility that it gives me. I can say what days/shifts i want to work,how far i am willing to travel and also if there are any particular places that i do/don't want to go to..
    Although i will admit when it does get very quiet as it has been last few weeks i do sometimes think about going back to NHS.. then i stop and think of all the reasons i went agency in the first place. LOL..
    Take Care and good luck in your decisions..
    Kaylesh
  7. by   ClaireMacl
    Lol, reading the other replies, I guess I forgot to mention that I live in London and agency nurses are ten a dozen, therefore there is lots of competition between agencies
  8. by   suzanne4
    The biggest issue is not having experience. Working agency requires you to hit the floor running with minimal orientation. Not a good idea for a new grad, even if you would find an angency that would hire you.

    Sorry, but it is a recipe for disaster.
  9. by   madwife2002
    In 1992 when I qualifed there were no jobs going in Manchester where I lived, and if there were then you had very stiff competition. I joined the 'bank' as it was called then and this helped to get me known in the hospital and I soon had a job, so it can serve to get you known so dont despair.
    I now employ people and when we have job vacancies and we have an agency nurse who we really like, works well and functions as part of our team we encourage him/her to apply for a job.
    Look at the positive side of agency work because there are some and in today's climate you may have to work as one for a period of time.

    Good luck I am sure you will find what you want
  10. by   madwife2002
    Quote from suzanne4
    The biggest issue is not having experience. Working agency requires you to hit the floor running with minimal orientation. Not a good idea for a new grad, even if you would find an angency that would hire you.

    Sorry, but it is a recipe for disaster.
    Some of the time the agency nurses do get easier work loads in the UK because they are seen to boost the numbers and not as efficient members of staff.
    I know on my ward we tend to carry agency nurses who are not known to us because we are reluctant to let them fly until we have established how good or bad they are. In the UK some agencies are not particular as they should be when employing there nurses to work for them.
    I recently worked with an agency nurse who I had to question if she was actually qualified, her skills were so poor.
  11. by   Rocknurse
    I know it's late to answer this thread but I'm jumping in anyway. I worked as an agency nurse in London for years. I was able to work pretty much whenever I wanted. I earned loads of money and hardly ever got cancelled. I worked in the same hospital all the time, and even in the same unit. I could look at the schedule and bascially pick whatever shifts I wanted for the month ahead. Oh how I miss those days. I was a memeber of both the agency and the hospital bank. I worked in the A&E for a year, the CCU for a year, and then ICU for a year...all on agency, and all in the same department and hospital each time. I never had to go anywhere unfamiliar. I had it made. I was in London so I guess we were spoilt for choice. I earned £20 an hour.
  12. by   Rocknurse
    oops...double post. sowwy
    Last edit by Rocknurse on Dec 18, '05 : Reason: dingbat
  13. by   madwife2002
    Quote from Rocknurse
    oops...double post. sowwy
    Life in the NHS is very different now. In Portsmouth where I was working we couldn't employ agency nurses as often as we should have because the trust had no money so life was hard.
  14. by   safewaygreenbox
    Quote from madwife2002
    Life in the NHS is very different now. In Portsmouth where I was working we couldn't employ agency nurses as often as we should have because the trust had no money so life was hard.
    But in the long run could be a good thing, I think employing agency workers is a bad thing for the NHS. Also paying somebody up to twice as much for less work (some don't do IV's Pumps etc) is not a moral booster. Having said that they are sometimes necessary.

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