Agency nurses, I've got a question!

  1. A few weeks ago I posted that I was thinking about quitting my day job and doing agency nursing for a while. I have been so busy at work that I have not had time to pursue any of this except for a brief phone call to an agency in my area advertising $43/hr and a $10,000 sign on bonus. The person on the other end would not give me any information except to say that I had to apply in person and would be given two tests that would take me approximately 1-2 hours to complete.

    I have two questions:

    1) Is $10,000 sign-on to good to be true?

    2) Are the tests like state board questions and/or math formulas?

    Just curious. I haven't taken a test in a long time and am having lack of self confidence. Help!

    As a side note: After this week of working in H*LL, I am definitely going to agency. I HAVE TO GET OUT OF THAT PLACE!!!!!

    Thank you to all who responded to my original post. I appreciate the great advice and plan to keep you all posted.

  2. Visit st4304 profile page

    About st4304

    Joined: Jan '01; Posts: 233; Likes: 9
    RN, PICC Team
    Specialty: Critical Care, Emergency, Infusion


  3. by   Slowone
    The hourly wage sounds realistic but a TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR sign on?!!! No way. I wonder if Satan himself will be in the room and what will be required of you to see any of that money.
    I wouldn't worry about the tests. The ones I have taken have been pretty basic. I definately want to hear what this agency says about the bonus. Keep us posted. Good luck!
  4. by   SVRN

    A 10,000 dollar sign on bonus is quite possible, but usually means signing a contract with the agency. Also, the money would be paid out in installments within the course of 5 to possibly 10 years!! Go to the interview with questions and get them to clarify anything that sounds suspicious. As for the tests---piece of cake.
  5. by   hoolahan
    I agree, the bonus may be bogus. It is most likely payable over a year minimun, as mentioned above. It would definitely be for a contract, or blocked time, where you promise them 40 hours a week or more. Don't worry about the bonus too much. You don't have to sign on for that much time(Of course that means you won't get the bonus either ). Ask what is the pro-rated bonus, they may have one. Also little things can disqualify you like calling out, but you could legitimately have the flu, so then what? Bonuses of 3000 and less are generally less "work" for you.

    The tests? Depends on where you want to work. If in ICU, or tele, you will probably have to show acls cards, and also pass an arrhhthmia test. Also, diff med tests in some places for ICU vs LTC. Yes, IV and med dose calcs. Don't worry about it too much, these are very common meds, like dig, steroids, asa tox, etc... They still have that ancient IV calc for macro drips, but who ever uses them anymore? What I have done in the past is write next to the answer space, "have to look up." At least it's an appropriate action.

    Also, depending on how many places you want to work, many hospitals have their own orientations and policies. Some just want you there 2 hours before the shift, others want more tests, competencies stuff like restraints, confidentiality, etc... They may want you to take a computer course. I just oriented at a rehab that I have no intention of ever going back to, I won't be paid for that shift unless I put in another 40 hours there. So I guess I donated that time! It irks me, but better that than work crazy.

    If I may suggest, do not orient on 3-11 shifts, I have found these are the craziest times, too many staff changes esp at 7p, try days or nights.

    I always get butterflies in my stomach the first time I am at a new place. It helps me to keep of list of what I feel I must know, like how to call a code, where is the code cart? Procedure for missing meds, how do I reach the supervisor? How/where do I get supplies? Linen? Entering orders in strange computers is always fun! Is there a doctor in the house, how to find out what doc is on call and procedure to reaching docs. Can you believe some places still want you to go through the supervisor to reach a doc? I'll decide if I need to notify a doc or not, thank you very much!

    I have found most nurses are so happy to have you, they don't abuse you, cause they know you won't come back. Everyone I work with has been great! I am only working in my former CT ICU for the most part, they only have 2 FT night nurses right now, and I get treated like a Diva. One or two pt's at most. Though, no sec or aide ever. The girls in ICU asked why I haven't worked with them, and I said I want to be a Diva, and they crack up. They are always teasing me that the CT ICU girls are spoiled!

    Best of Luck to you! The best part of agency is NO MEETINGS!! No staff meetings, no commitees, no holidays, (unless you want $55/hr), no weekends unless you want them. Many ER's will take you for virtually any 4 hour shift you want. I used to do 7p-11p on a regular basis, but then CCU got more staff and my little gravy train stopped at the station! I love agency. Even though my F-I-L loves to point out I will have no pension, etc.... Now many agencies will have you commit to blocks of time and they even offer vacation and sick pay 401K's and other great bennies, so shop around. What agencies do the nurses from your hospital come from? Do they like them? Network Nurse!!
  6. by   fiestynurse
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Mar 31, '04
  7. by   st4304
    Thanks for all the great advice, everyone. I will keep you posted on what I find out.

    Now, I just have to find a way to get a day off without freaking out my boss!