Can/should a new grad nurse work for an agency?

Specialties Agency


  • by Lamie
    Specializes in Pediatrics.

I will be graduating from LPN school this August :yeah:if everything works as planned. I'm interested in agency work because of the flexibility (I have young children and also would like to go on with an RN program) and the chance to "check out" different facilities without being "stuck" there if I don't like it. The pay is usually better as well. However, some of our instructors are warning us not to work for agencies as new grad nurses because of our lack of experience. Since you are called when a facility is understaffed, they are not ready and willing to train you but rather expect you to know it all. One instructor in particular warned us that the reason agency nurses are paid more than non-agency nurses is because there is a greater risk of losing one's license d/t making errors in unfamiliar facilities/protocols/paperwork, etc. Is that true? Should I just work for some facility for a while and get on-the-job training before moving on to agency? I'd appreciate your input. Thanks!

Specializes in Neuroscience/Neuro-surgery/Med-Surgical/.

Your instructors are correct! And most agencies will not hire a new graduate without any experience. Ive worked agency/travel for years before my present permanent job. Most times you get less than 4 hours of orientation to the floor, and then you are off on your own! Some hospitals I worked at were wonderful and helpful, and others the staff just didn't care or were jealous of the $$ agency RNs made, so they would let your drown before lifting a finger to help.

So you are better to have at least 1 year if not 2 years of experience and have excellent time management skills before you embark on this adventure, as you will enjoy it that much more!


8 Posts

Specializes in Case Management; Home Health; Hem/Onc;.

Yes, your instructors are correct. I worked agency with 20 plus years of experience under my belt and you'd better be self-starting and self-motivated and know your stuff because most of the time the regular staff nurses are not real helpful. I think it would be professional suicide for a new grad to put themselves in that position.


225 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

It depends on the setting. I did private duty/home health and clinic nursing right out of LVN school for two different agencies. The home health agency was used to taking LVN grads right out of school, no problem. The clinic agency placed new grads in long term assignments in which the clinic knew they had a new grad coming and were willing to train.

Don't do hospital agency work as a new grad, though. That's not good for you or your patients.

magnolia nurse

151 Posts


your instructor is right, as an agency nurse sometimes you recieve the most chronic unstable patients, and you have to have the experience to take care of that patient. The hospital staff expect that from you and they are not there to orientate you to basic patient care.. Give yourself at least 2 years, it takes a minute for YOU to be comfortable as a licensed nurse and develop essential critical thinking skills that come with experience. I love working agency it keeps me out of the politics and I can supplement my income will have plenty of time to work agency but new nurses need to develop their skills...

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