Need advice from agency nurses!!

  1. I've had it with making the minimum for what I do. I asked an agency nurse working for us about specifics and got a packet sent to me from her company. I really think I want to do this, but worry about leaving my job. I have about 15 months med/surg experience. All I want is to work two or three 8 hour shifts/week. Now I work two 12 hour shift and eow. I hate working weekends and holidays as I have three kids. I'm working on getting my BSN and am so busy, the thought of telling someone else when I will work sounds like paradise. Now I get a schedule and they tell me when to show up and then on my days off, they call me constantly to work extra. What is it like to work agency for you? I know I can handle working on a floor like my current floor, but I need to know more. Are you treated okay? Do you get assignments beyond what you are capable of? If you need help, is someone there to ask or are you expected to know everything? Thanks for your help!!
  2. Visit lisa41rn profile page

    About lisa41rn

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 166; Likes: 42

    12 Comments

  3. by   nightingale
    Quote from lisa41rn
    i've had it with making the minimum for what i do. i asked an agency nurse working for us about specifics and got a packet sent to me from her company. i really think i want to do this, but worry about leaving my job. i have about 15 months med/surg experience. all i want is to work two or three 8 hour shifts/week. now i work two 12 hour shift and eow. i hate working weekends and holidays as i have three kids. i'm working on getting my bsn and am so busy, the thought of telling someone else when i will work sounds like paradise. now i get a schedule and they tell me when to show up and then on my days off, they call me constantly to work extra. what is it like to work agency for you? i know i can handle working on a floor like my current floor, but i need to know more. are you treated okay?

    do you get assignments beyond what you are capable of?

    if you need help, is someone there to ask or are you expected to know everything?

    thanks for your help!!
    you are not always treated well. i do not go back to facilities that treat me poorly.

    you may not get the help you need. you are expected to stand alone as a fully function expert (usually) on the floor you are assigned. sometimes, you can make prior areas of weekness known; it depends on the facility. do not count on the agency to know; they will often say anything to get you scheduled and then it is your reputation on the line. check with the nurse manager on the floor. do not take an assignment you can not handle when report is given.

    agency nursing is the icing on the cake but you have to pay your dues and get that experence, education, and critical thinking skills up to par.

    good luck and let us know how you make out.
  4. by   babynurselsa
    nightngale summed it up very well. I have worked full time agency for more than 3 years now. I will share with you some of my personal rules
    Sign only with a reputable agency. some less than stellar agencies will try t book you to areas that you don't know anything about. DO NOT bite when they say "Ohh I am sure that you can handle it."
    DO NOT agree to take a shift in an area that you have no knowledge about. (Nursing School does not count) This is not fair to the patients or the staff.
    As an agency nurse you are not entitled to be trained to an area. You are expected to be knowledgable and self sufficient. This does not mean you cannot ask for help this means you need to know what you are doing.
    If I go to a facility that I am treated less than friendly I do not return. There is an obvious reason that they are short, now you probably know why......
    I give 110% to the facility I am booked at, I want them to know that they have gotten their money's worth.
    Yes I LOVE the control I have as an agency nurse. I love being able to set my own schedule. I love being able to schedule work around my family not vice-versa.
    Good luck to you.
  5. by   txspadequeenRN
    I have been a agency nurse many years. The above posters have said it all, one thing I cannot stress enough is only take assignments in areas you feel completly comfortable in. You are expected to take report and get after it without missing a beat. The money for me is not that much better but I have the opportunity to set my own hours. However, saying that I think its only fair to mention that if you are schedualed for hours those hours can be cancelled and you may be counting on those for bills or whatever. I find it necessary to be employed by more than one agency to have better options. I am currently looking into a contract deal with several companies so I can have a semi-guarenteed work schedual. Also , I love to do the flu shot clinics in the fall that the agencies in our area have... easy money...
  6. by   ladside
    Quote from lisa41rn
    I've had it with making the minimum for what I do. I asked an agency nurse working for us about specifics and got a packet sent to me from her company. I really think I want to do this, but worry about leaving my job. I have about 15 months med/surg experience. All I want is to work two or three 8 hour shifts/week. Now I work two 12 hour shift and eow. I hate working weekends and holidays as I have three kids. I'm working on getting my BSN and am so busy, the thought of telling someone else when I will work sounds like paradise. Now I get a schedule and they tell me when to show up and then on my days off, they call me constantly to work extra. What is it like to work agency for you? I know I can handle working on a floor like my current floor, but I need to know more. Are you treated okay? Do you get assignments beyond what you are capable of? If you need help, is someone there to ask or are you expected to know everything? Thanks for your help!!
    Oh, you will definitely be dumped on more that you would like. But as long as you know your stuff, you can still smile throughout your shift with thoughts of dollar signs dancing in your head. I spend most of my time at home thanks to Agency. The number of days off matches and often times exceeds the days on the job...it's my life, my license, MY CHOICE. Take that leap of faith; you'll love it!
  7. by   babynurselsa
    When I first went agency I was sooooo worried I wouldn't get enough hours that I signed on with 3. My primary agency quickly proved to me they could work me more than I even wanted to.
    Yes, being cancelled is a risk, but I found that if a facility likes me I am less likely to get cancelled.
    I found quickly I loved agency more for having the controll over my own life and work schedule more than the increased pay. I can set my hours around my family. Of course stepping into a pay rate that matched my former staff OT rate didn't hurt either. That position was a benefit waiver so I didn't lose any benefits.
  8. by   graysonret
    The above comments pretty much say it all. I've been an agency nurse since '91, except for a 3 year stint with Hospice. I keep 2 agencies going. That way I get work when I need it. Recently though I've been doing 48 hour weeks. Some have nice benefits and vacations (looking forward to my vacation from an agency 9/8). Once you have a good reputation and they get to know you well, a good agency will work with you on assignments. Keep in mind that you're "self-employed", as an independent contractor. You can "open the store or close the store", as you wish, as I usually say. Over time you can build up relationships with different places you've worked with, and, hopefully, they will "request" you if they need help. Nice feeling when you get called telling you a place needs a nurse and "they requested you". Nothing much else to add really, that hasn't been stated already. It will have its busy periods and its slow periods. Nothing is guaranteed. I love the independence. In, do the work well, and out. No meetings, no extended shifts or "same ole, same ole". Yes, there is the occasional cancellation. Comes with the territory. Wish you the best in your decision and good luck.
  9. by   brocantes
    You should be comfortable with what you do before trying agency nursing. I've never had an assignment that I couldn't handle but I am comfortable with critical care nursing. I find that if you help the staff, they will help you. This doesn't mean that you won't get dumped on. Never brag on how much money you make to the staff because it causes resentment and it is in poor taste anyway.
  10. by   txspadequeenRN
    I want to add something else here. I have not been called in 2.5 weeks for a shift and I call them daily to check. So there are slumps and you have to wade through them.
  11. by   lisa41rn
    I actually ended up staying with the hospital I was at and am now on their float pool. I started yesterday and was CALLED OFF. Today, day two, I was CALLED OFF. This is a terrible start. They looked to hire 15 float RNs and I'm only #5! My husband says to enjoy my time off, but this makes me wonder if I should also work with the agency I had originally planned on working with. Thanks for all the comments!
  12. by   sammy67
    Really research the agency, if they are a good company? Are you to work per diem or contracted assignments? Are you required to work holidays or weekends? Who do you go to if you have problems with your supervisor herself? Do you get different pay for different assignments and what is the requirement for this.
    These are just some things that will help you. See how you communicate with your supervisor through this particular agency. Example: I only wanted 2-12 hr. per week contract with no weekends. Was rooked into a 3 to 4- 12 hr per week contract with eow and some holidays. When my contract was up, it was renewed, without my persmission. After 1 year of having my supervisor, basically threaten my job if I did not fulfill the hours she needed me to take. I went to quit, she talked me out of it at this time. The next thing I know, she informed me I was terminated. The job that kept me at their facility for a year, wanted me to apply through them. But, with most agency's, you signed a paper on hiring that prevents this for a certain time period.
    The plus sides, was I personally liked the work, the pay was good, had I had a better NM things may have been alot different.
    If an agency gets anxious, or does not have time to discuss things with you, or up front changes things from the previous conversation. BEWARE
    Just really reasearch things before you jump! Hope this helps some.
  13. by   chaoticnme
    I work with a float pool too. I have worked for this pool for 3 years You do get cancelled a lot if you are Prn. You have to be very flexible. There are some units you will like and others you will not. I have put in some internal transfers and really want to get a more stable job. I do like having the flexibility and work when i want, but if you are cancelled you make nothing. The stress of going to so many floors and then not going back to any one particular floor is nuts. These people expect you to know everything when you get there, and it may have been 4 months since you have been there. Naturally you may ask a thing or two. The money has to be great to make up for it. Money isnt really everything. If you can find a unit you like, its ok to consider staying there. Agency nurses most of the time dont get benefits and definitely dont acrue paid days off.
  14. by   11:11
    I think that you might want to give the agency a try if that is what you have been thinking about anyway (unless there is something you arent telling us).

    If you have a few years experience then you should be fine as long as you stay within your limits (read capabilities).

    I have found if you are assertive yet polite you can use the same resources as the staff nurses (ie pharmacy , lab etc).

    However, Id advise anyone to bring their own such as med guide, IV drug guide, med dictionary etc. Now Im going with a PDA.

    It helps to have all that at your side rather than to run around like a chicken with your head cut off.

    Why dont you try the agency part time and keep your day job part time? I keep a casual job at my last full time employer and it has helped. They supply my ACLS and BLS etc etc, and Im there for them when they really need me. Its benficial to both and you can always go back in some capacity if you decide you dont like the agency gig-

    Best of luck

    11

close