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Agency perdiem pros and cons?

Nurses   (2,962 Views | 11 Replies)

Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

3,185 Profile Views; 150 Posts

Hi

I have been an RN for 18 months, I was an LPN for 4 years prior. I have experience in long term geri psych and outpatient cancer care.

I am leaving my job in long term care because the facility I work at is run poorly to say the least. I am considering agency but I do not want to bite off more than I can chew seeing I have only been a nurse a few short years.

What are the pros and cons?

Thank you!

Cissy

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dudette10 has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Academics.

1 Article; 3,530 Posts; 26,298 Profile Views

Pros: high rate of pay, work when you want to.

Cons: no orientation, spending too much time just figuring out where things are, not knowing policies and procedures that can get you in hot water or compromise pt safety (seen that happen...not pretty). If you are repeatedly asked to go to one hospital, those cons would face after time.

To avoid the cons in the beginning, spot a staff nurse who is willing to give you a heads up. I tend to be that nurse, but it's mostly because I want pts to be safe, not because I'm nice or anything. ;)

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Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

150 Posts; 3,185 Profile Views

You hit the nail on the head. I take it I will spot a staff nurse who is willing to give me a heads up by looking for a friendly smile or straight up asking? At this point in my very young nursing career after working in a geri psych unit I can adapt to any long term care setting.

Have you worked in long term care?

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4 Followers; 37,686 Posts; 103,259 Profile Views

Be careful. I worked in a facility one time where every single nurse went out of their way to be mean to the poor agency nurse that came to help out. One night, one of them came to me in tears. I did my best to help her (for some reason I don't know, I didn't begrudge her being there) but could not explain why everyone else was taking their frustrations out on her.

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himilayaneyes specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

493 Posts; 9,300 Profile Views

I've been an agency nurse for 5 years now.

Pros: work when you want, high pay

Cons: No guaranteed hours/pay, learning new policies & staff constantly

If you go to the same hospital over & over, after a while you start to feel like staff & they'll treat you like staff for the most part once they get to know you.

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Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

150 Posts; 3,185 Profile Views

This is what I experienced off and on in my present position as a geri psych nurse working amongst mosttly LPNS. I really need to think through how I will handle this if it happens, thank you so much.

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269 Posts; 7,575 Profile Views

My take home pay is ~ $10 per hour more than FT/PT. Of course this varies based on your company, geographic location, etc.

Scheduling is decently flexible, however you can't turn down shifts very often without getting bumped to the bottom of the call list. In my experience per diems who always take every shift they're offered get called first.

Unpredictable schedules: I generaly don't mind this so i don't think of it as a con per se, but the work is unpredictable. You can go for weeks on end with nothing if census is low; other times you can get slammed and be working 50-60 hours a week (especially around the Thanksgiving /Christmas /New Year holidays and in summertime when regular staff take vacation time). You can also get called at 5 am to pick up a shift, OR they call you at 5 am to cancel your shift because they don't need you after all that day. (Again, I'm not really bothered by the last-minute calling, but I can see why other people might find it inconvenient.)

This is a PRO for me - working per diem you're constantly working with different patients. One thing about FT and contract work that burned me out was going to the exact same place and dealing with the same people day after day after day. I need variety, so I really like that about per diem work.

Another PRO - you don't have to get caught up in office politics /drama. In my experience people just make small talk with me and we go about our business; they're nice and we get along, but they don't work with me often enough to consider me part of the group.

Probably the biggest CON for me right now is that as a per diem, if a shift is slow, I'm the first one to be sent home. Which means I sometimes drive over an hour to work, and only end up working 3-4 hours before being told they don't need me for the rest of the shift. 3-4 hours of work isn't really worth the gas and time I spent to get there.

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Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

150 Posts; 3,185 Profile Views

I really appreciate this information, especially in regards to the "politics/drama", this is one of the problems in the facility I presently work. Is it a good idea for a new nurse to take on agency nursing? I will most like only sign up for long term care or ambulatory care nursing. I have only oriented to floor nursing but left after orientation because I did not feel I could safely provide care. I'm at a turning point.

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269 Posts; 7,575 Profile Views

I really appreciate this information, especially in regards to the "politics/drama", this is one of the problems in the facility I presently work. Is it a good idea for a new nurse to take on agency nursing? I will most like only sign up for long term care or ambulatory care nursing. I have only oriented to floor nursing but left after orientation because I did not feel I could safely provide care. I'm at a turning point.

It depends! I started doing agency work straight out of nursing school and never had any problems. (Of course I never told anyone I was new when I was a new grad ;) ) Are you a quick learner and able to figure things out for yourself? If yes, I would think you'd be fine.

Probably depends on the practice setting too...I work for a company that has 2 rehab hospitals, and another company that owns several assisted living facilities. I find that assisted living and sub-acute rehab (and LTC, to answer your question) are pretty much the same everywhere you go.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

5 Followers; 6,314 Posts; 70,271 Profile Views

What areas are you looking to work in, through an agency?

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Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

150 Posts; 3,185 Profile Views

I'm looking to work in long term care . I'm an average learner. Maybe I should be looking more at per diem at the same facility? I hate the thought of having to start over again. I also have an interview next Monday at a doctors office. This would be my ideal working environment !

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Cisl4him has 12 years experience as a RN and specializes in RN/Hematology/Oncology/Long-termcare/SNF.

150 Posts; 3,185 Profile Views

Long term care

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