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Agency vs Permanent Job

Agency   (15,571 Views | 7 Replies)
by ggcolonnello ggcolonnello (New) New

766 Profile Views; 2 Posts

hope everyone is having a great day,

I have been working in a permanent/full time with benefits position as a RN at a small hospital. I enjoy my job and have the luck of surrounding my self with amazing staff. The pay at this hospital is good but not the best, staff wise we are aware sometimes our rates are not as competitive as others, but some of us stay due to the good work environment and loyalty to the organization. I have become intrigued by agency nursing. Is agency nursing better than working as a permanent nurse full time in a hospital? and I know some people will say its different and so on. But in your straight forward opinion is it better? is there always better pay, more income coming in? and I am not referring to travel agencies. Thank you all for your help and opinion. I am starting out my career and I want to get the best out of it while I can.

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 7,907 Posts; 60,527 Profile Views

Agency nursing is like working per-diem. Yes, you have more flexibility in scheduling but there are no guaranteed hours. You may get booked for every shift you put in for, or you may go for a couple of weeks without any work. You may be able to score a short-term contract with an agency that would guarantee you more hours.

Some agencies offer benefits, but they'd be through the agency.

The hourly rate sometimes is higher for an agency nurse but not always; in fact, for the agency I work for, the hourly rate is slightly less than what I'd get if I were hired on as permanent staff at the facility.

When it comes to actual work, I do the same job on the floor as an agency nurse, as I would working as permanent staff. Though sometimes I may be given the tougher assignments because someone wants a bit of a breather :)

You also need to be competent in your specialty (at least a year's experience). Agencies will not teach you Nursing 101, and your orientation at the facility will be of the "here's where everything is and how we do things" type and only be a shift or two. So if you don't know the foundations of the specialty you're working in, you will struggle as neither the agency nor the facility is obligated to train you (unless specifically indicated in your hiring agreement).

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CaliBoy760 has 20 years experience and specializes in Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care.

187 Posts; 7,701 Profile Views

I have been a full time permanent agency nurse for 2 1/2 years. I do the same job every day. Many hospitals, including the VA, use agency nurses in long term assignments, so it's just like being employed by the hospital. I do not have any benefits. But, my pay is roughly 30% more than a comparable hospital employed nurse.

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3 Followers; 1 Article; 5,459 Posts; 46,090 Profile Views

That 30% extra represents the loss of benefits a full timer makes: health insurance, sick pay, paid holidays, vacation, PTO, and education. This is or should be the norm. The increased flexibility is countered by the lack of consistent shifts and income and early morning calls, unless you are lucky enough to have block booking or work in an area with consistent needs.

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CaliBoy760 has 20 years experience and specializes in Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care.

187 Posts; 7,701 Profile Views

As a veteran myself, I get my health care through the VA at nominal cost. And, I'm lucky enough to run a specialty clinic with block bookings. So, for me it really works out.

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5 Posts; 615 Profile Views

Hi,

I still consider myself a new grad since I have not been able to get a steady job as a RN in Canada (Toronto) for about >2 years. All that is being offered is agency work. I feel that it is dangerous as I have gone into hospitals, LTC homes expecting an orientation, get nothing and I am left alone. LTC is very easy to miss giving medications which I have done in both the hospital and LTC. I keep trying to apply to hospitals all over but can't seem to get in anywhere. I've just decided to get my NCLEX. Any suggestions about how to work in LTC or hospitals through agency, when my experience leaving school was Public Health (which doesn't help in terms of clinical skills but cannot afford to do any courses right now) I wish I could afford to say no when an agency calls, but as we all know, need to make a living. I am afraid, I don't want to loose my license, especially in this manner.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!?

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delphine22 has 5 years experience and specializes in Quality, Cardiac Stepdown, MICU.

306 Posts; 7,729 Profile Views

I was working full-time with benefits at one hospital, and agency at another, because the agency pay was more than OT pay at my home hospital. (Because I'd have to work 4 hrs of straight time to get up to 40 hrs, etc.) But the drive was killing me; the agency hospital was 35 miles from home. (Just close enough to NOT get a travel differential.) So I just picked up a per diem position at a closer hospital, and reduced my first job to weekend exclusive. (I work every Saturday and Sunday, EVERY one, get a differential and am considered full-time for benefits purposes.) Now I end up working slightly less than before (3 shifts a week, 1 extra shift a month) but gave myself a substantial raise. And the surprise was, with diffs (my agency doesn't give diffs) I'm actually being paid more per diem than the agency work.

I haven't "quit" the agency, just asked them not to call me for a while. I'll call them if the per diem job calls me off for a day and I want the money, and thankfully I only need 1 shift in 6 months to stay active.

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

5 Followers; 6,346 Posts; 70,515 Profile Views

No, there is not always better pay. In fact, you could lose in the long run as you are not guaranteed hours.

There are also the factors of , no orientation, no consistent assignment, and working with different colleagues and doctors every day. It is VERY difficult to walk onto a new unit and function safely.

If you are currently in a good work environment, the chance of increased pay is not worth leaving.

You could sign up with an agency... and get your feet wet in the not so wonderful world of agency nursing.

Good luck let us know how it goes.

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