Need advice on recommended experience

  1. I am currently an RN nursing student with a year left until I graduate, and I have had an ongoing interest in agency nursing. I realize that I wouldn't be competent enough to go into agency work directly after boards, which is fine since I wouldn't be in a position to do it then anyway. However, can the experienced pros/hiring managers give me a feel as to what you would consider 'experienced' in terms of contracting with a nurse for agency work? Also, any tips regarding the types of staff nurse positions that in the long run will enhance my placements? As an FYI, after boards I expect to be doing staff nurse work for about 4-5 years. I have two goals in mind besides an obvious love of nursing, 1) to be as flexible/mobile as possible as I am seriously considering traveling around the country (but not discounting the possibility of staying where there is a great fit somewhere ), and 2) to be able to make a very nice wage while doing so.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 488; Likes: 85


  3. by   suzanne4
    Good, solid experience is all that they are looking for. You have to feel comfortable in just dropping into any setting and without having an orientation and being able to function. Sure, they show you where the emergency equipment is, the layout of the unit, the paperwork, things like that; but for most of anything else, you need to know how to find it or be able to do it without much instruction.

    Good luck...................
  4. by   ratchit
    Every nurse needs to decide for themselves when they are comfortable enough to work in unfamiliar units with different routines and charting. You need to be very solid and comfortable clinically to take good care of patients in unfamiliar settings.

    A year in med/surg or long term care and 2 years in critical care areas is a good idea. Some might need less, but that's a ballpark. I would suggest working some agency shifts in hospitals in your area before looking at a contract far from home, just to get a feel for it.

    As for what area you should work in.. Nursing is hard enough if you love what you do- could be miserable if you don't like the type of nursing you practice. ICU, ER, Med Surg, and Tele are pretty easy to get shifts in. Psych is a bit less reliable. But you should practice what interests you- you'll make yourself miserable if you go into something you don't like just so you can travel later.
  5. by   rnmaven
    CRITICAL CARE!!! If you have a background in critical care you will never be out of agency work. If you work critical care and are not a critical care snob, you can tell the hospital that you'll also rotate to Tele or even med surg.......alot of times they use you in holding.......when there's no ICU/tele beds and you have to "hold" the patients in the ER.

    I worked a year of med/surg, and 3 years in a Medical CCU and then 5 yrs in open heart (CTICU unit). That's my staff nurse experience. As an agency nurse I was oriented to a trauma unit and found that interesting too. So I am NEVER without work! Hope that trend continues for a few more years....I need to finish school and then recoup some bills from being in school!