Agency Nurses: Advice needed please!

  1. Hi! First i think you need to report it to the agency and see what there malpractice covers.The reason i say this I have worked for agencies off and on for the last 16 years and i know that our policies did not allow us in a charge role.I guess i would be uncomfortable being in charge of faulty RN's who know their faulty policies and you being an agency person i would be worried that my agency's malpractice would not cover me in this role.It is unfair that the faulty is utilizing you in this postion when they have their own staff to do this role. Is your agency paying you charge pay? As an agency nurse have you been to this assignment enough to feel comfortable with the staff and the supervisors that are employed there if a problem came up that could place you or your liscense in jeopardy? I have always worked as a staff nurse and in a nursing home i always had one of there employee's to refer to if i had a problem, do they do this for you?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   mustangsheba
    With my agency, we are asked first if we will act as charge before we go to the facility. I did it once. The charge nurse was expected to put all the new orders in the computer!?! There were new orders on almost every patient and two admits. I told the Supervisor she would have to get someone else to do the computer. Then I was just stuck with an admit and putting out fires. It took a total of four different nurses and about 4 hours to get the orders in the computer. This was interspersed with their real job, of course. Does this sound cost effective? A well trained unit secretary would have been finished in about two hours and the nurses wouldn't have been crazy. It wasn't worth the extra money, which by the way wasn't much. I wouldn't take a charge position unless I had agreed to do so before hand, knew the facility well, and was not expected to act as secretary.
  4. by   NurseNelly
    You are so right, Mustangsheba. If management of hospitals, nursing homes, etc., would just pay and treat the staff they have now fairly and honestly, they wouldn't have to hire agency nurses.
  5. by   bunky
    Hi. I have some questions for everyone including unit managers, nsg supervisors etc...

    How many of my fellow agency nurses have been put in the role of charge nurse, even when it means that you are in charge over regular staff RN's? Do you feel that you are treated the same as any other regular staff RN?

    I need advice on this, here's why: I come into work and find I am put in charge. I see that my staffing for the day is just a joke, while another similar unit's staffing, for several less pt's than mine is what I would consider, "safe". This other unit is expecting massive dismissals, and mine is not expecting any.

    And for staff co-ordinators, unit managers, nursing supervisors, when the staffing is set out, does the fact that agency is being used come into play and mean that it's OK to short staff a unit? Be honest. Even if it means that the regular hospital staff working under the agency nurse gets screwed too? And how about the pt's? Does their safety count?

    And you regular hospital staff, how do you feel when agency is cancelled and you work short despite knowing that agency was cancelled that day?

    I am dying to have these questions answered. While I maintain the position that I will never work as a staff nurse again, I am seeing things that make me sick, and I guess I want someone to rip off my blinders here. If I was a regular staff nurse again, it'd still anger me to work short and unsafely just to save the hospital a few bucks for cancelling an agency nurse that day.
  6. by   Jackie Payne
    I worked as an agency nurse for 2 years. The hospital was ALWAYS short staffed. The average # of patients that I took care of was 8. The most I ever had was 13. ( the average does not include the ones discharges or admitted) Most of the time by the end of the shift I would have as many as 10 different charts to complete not including the papper work from admitts and discharges. (no computerized charting)
    The way I see agency nursing is you always get blamed for everything if you did it or not. Not by your co-workers because they are so glad to see any kind of help but by the supervisors.The never said anything about all of the med errors that would of happened if I wouldn't of caught them, or how tx I got done when their staff nurse couldn't manage to do any or how I managed to make sure all of my patients got baths, medicated on time , and were always taken care of. I got so tired of working my tale off and not getting any kind of a Thank you.I burned out on nursing all together.
    I have just recently took a break from nursing. During that time I decided I love my job. I can't handle the politics that is involved with agency nursing.
    I just put in at a local nursing home where I just work 8 hrs instead of 12. I hope working as a part of the staff is alot better than not being part of the staff.
  7. by   DebBRN1
    I have worked as an agency Nurse for a year now and I love it! I work almost exclusively on the telemetry floor where I was a staff member for 4 years. The workload is the same, the high acuity and poor staffing is unchanged; but I am spared the politics. I feel badly for my friends who endure the horrible work conditions/poor morale of the institution, but I am so happy I made the decision to go agency. My time is my own, my schedule is totally flexible, and the money is outrageous!! I have been cancelled only 8 times in the past 12 months, which is a pretty low rate of cancellation.I have been asked to do charge on several occaisions, even though I am agency, because I have more experience than the new grads and new hires on the floor.I think my situation is unusual, because I work 32/40 hours a week on the same floor, and I worked there 4 years prior.....most of the staff forget I am agency.
  8. by   bunky
    Ok but what I am getting at is do any of you feel, or perhaps know that because you are an agency nurse that if there's a unit that is going to be shortstaffed it'll be the one that YOU are on? I mean do any of you feel that the hospital while not purposefully short staffing you, will ultimatley choose to shortstaff the unit that has the agency nurse on it, simply because of the fact that there is an agency nurse on that unit and who cares about keeping the agency happy?

    By the way, I did discuss this with my agency and was told that the agency does cover me legally for pulling charge, and I have never had to be secretary either. And yes, I do get charge nurse pay, a couple of bucks more an hour.

    Has anyone else gotten the sense that the hospital will look twice at the staffing or lack of it because it's an agency nurse on duty?
  9. by   123lisa
    All the agency shifts I have worked have been very cautious of where and whom I am working with. They try to give me the lower acquity and are very supportive. I feel they are trying to give their patients the highest quality care they can. I always do my best and learn the new things I am not totally familiar with. Agency is working out for me at the moment. I plan to do this for about one year to get a multitude of experiences under my cap.
  10. by   darby
    hi,you are very wise much more than alot of nurses who sign on to agency shifts,know where you are going,as a former agency person i know its hard to say no but alot of long term care facilities wont pay after they cancel or give mileage,be careful in the future,theagencies are in stiff conflict with each other.take care,darby.

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