Should i use more than 1 agency?

  1. First a bit about me....

    I'm a full time staff nurse at a hospital i like. However, last month i started Agency work PRN just to make some extra money. Since working 5 Agency shifts, i like it enough to consider going fulltime and quitting my staff position.

    My primary question is this, should i use more than 1 Agency to get assignments? And if so, how do you manage them both? Do you tell them both your availability or different agencies different days? Would different agencies have a problem if they knew you had another getting you assignments?

    I just wonder how you manage that situation? If both are trying to book you the same days, how do you avoid being double booked?

    Any advice would be appreciated
  2. Visit Noahj profile page

    About Noahj

    Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 52; Likes: 10
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience


  3. by   systoly
    I worked for as many as three agencies at a time. I would give them my availability and accept shifts as they were offered. When I had enough shifts I'd call to let them know I was no longer available. What happens is after you commit to a shift another agency calls you with a shift paying more or at a nicer place and you have to forgo that one. I never disclosed working for other agencies or the reason for my availability.
  4. by   malenurse122879
    Not sure what it's like where you live but I've been trying to do agency work only since July and I've probably worked less than 20 shifts... and I sign up for 4-5 days a week. I keep getting canceled. I'm about to break and go back to a hospital though. I can't afford the call offs.
  5. by   Simba&NalasMom
    During these economic times, absolutely have more than one agency. Work does get a slower with agencies than it did a couple years ago. A good agency will not have a problem with you being signed on with another.
  6. by   Simba&NalasMom
    Definitely sign on with more than one agency in these economic times. A good agency will not have a problem with you being signed on with others.
  7. by   caliotter3
    Agency personnel expect you to be signed on with more than one employer, especially if they are not keeping you busy. Go with whoever offers you a shift first and stick with that commitment. If you cancel for a better paying shift with another employer, the agencies will figure that out after awhile and you risk not getting called. Personally, I've found the best way for me to stay organized is to reserve one shift time for one agency and the other shift times for other agencies. Then I don't have to do much juggling with the calendar from day to day.
  8. by   SirJohnny

    - I've worked for three agencies at one time (long-term care facilities). I know of one individual who works for five separate agencies (again, long-term care).

    - My first rule to the agencies, do not book any shifts without calling me first.

    - Second rule: I let the agencies know my availability for the next week or two. Note that I do LTC agency (RN) full time.

    - Third rule: I keep a calendar on my clipboard, where I write my shifts and personal appointments (school, md appts, social events, etc.). This calendar goes everywhere with me.

    - Fourth rule: Every week, I check my timesheets against paystubs. You will catch payroll errors ... especially for those shifts where you stay late. I book in 15 minute increments ... and yes, I expect to get paid if I am working/have to stay late.
    At the end of the year, I use these timesheets to calculate mileage for tax purposes.

    - If I get called to a shift, then I let the other agencies (courtesy call) know that I am unavailable for that shift. Sometimes I do forget ... as it can get ultra crazy (busy) out here. Hence, the reason the agencies need to call me prior to booking a shift.

    - I carry a binder with each facilities information, policies, names of people, etc. This helps to cut down on the confusion ... especially if you haven't been to a facility in two or three months. Nothing worse than calling the MD, and not having the facility's return phone number, or not knowing how to transfer calls, etc.

    Every facility is different with respect to RN responsibilities. Some places, I do the med pass (this can even vary by shift or floor within the same facility). Some places, I do Medicare charting, and the 2am chart checks. Other places don't want agency nurses doing Medicare charting or 2am chart checks (as it's the LPNs responsibility).

    - Been doing this as an LPN for 4 years and as an RN for 8 months. Some places are hell-holes (so you don't book them -- or try not to book them) ... other places are total dreams.

    Some places book you a month in advance and never cancel. Other places book you 5 minutes before the schedule starts. Yes, we do get cancelled ... it happens.

    - I'd say the biggest drawback/hangup is walking into a facility and being expected to do a fresh admission. Unfortunately, there are no standards in LTC ... and each facility has its own policies/forms. Basically, I will do a skin assessment, MD orders (MAR/TAR), vitals, get the diet order and let the kitchen know, med list, call family (POA), call MD, fax orders to pharmacy, write a nurse's note, possibly order/complete lab sheets, and put on 24 hour report. Major time killer ... especially if person is sick or has stage 3 or stage 4 pressure ulcers. Even worse, if you are in the middle of a heavy med pass.

    - Bottom line ... it's a decent way to make a living. Just expect crazy hours and last minute phone calls.

    - Essentially, your job as an LTC agency nurse is, "keep 'em alive until the next shift."

    - Sorry for the long rant ... but hope this helps.

  9. by   nautical nurse
    I just completed an orientation as a travel nurse in a large Atlanta hospital. Of the six other travel agency nurses there, 5 of them had over 5 agencies that they worked for. I was surprised as I've always traveled with just one or two at any given time. Pretty much they were all in agreement that their options for work were just so much more unlimited. Sounds like a good idea that can't hurt. You just have to be organized!

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