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Hey, agency nurses! Help!


Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Infusion.

I need your advice. I am thinking about leaving my current position (cath lab RN, 8-hr days, Mon thru Fri, no weekends or holidays, call on Mon nights and every 4th weekend) because of two reasons: 1) I desperately need to make more money, and 2) I am very bored with my current position.

I have never done agency nursing, but am seriously thinking about giving it a try. I would like to do it for about one year, make good money, then maybe return to staff nursing. What are the pros and cons (I have no benefits at my current job as I am on my husband's insurance, so that is not an issue)? What are the do's and don't's?

I have 1 yr med/surg, 3 yrs ICU/CCU, 3 yrs cath lab experience. I have an agency willing to hire me at $49/hr. VERY TEMPTING.

I guess I am just nervous to leave my comfortable job for something different. Help!

I'd appreciate any thoughts from anyone!

Your pal,



OK, maybe I was a little harsh for saying you're nuts, but I would KILL to have weekends AND holidays off. I'm a wannabe nurse (starting school in the spring) and at my current dead end job, I get zero benefits, weekends or holidays off. You're very lucky to be in the position you're in, however if you're looking to make more money I hear that agency is definitely the way to go, since one of my neighbors is an agency nurse. Good luck!

Go for it!

I do agency nursing and the best thing about it is that you can make your own schedule, you get paid well, and you don't get involved with the things that go on when you are regular staff.

Of course, no benefits, but you said you don't have them now anyway. You don't have to work any holidays if you don't want to but you can if you do. were I work it's time and a half. You also won't get burnt out because you go to different places. What's also nice is that if you find a couple of facilities you like, you can request to keep going back to those certain places. I pretty much have been staying at the same 2-3 facilities. Ane yes, you do have the right to request where you do and don't want to go. There will be some places you'll like and there will be some places you absolutely would not want to go back to and that' ok. that's one of the benefits of working agency..

well good luck!!!;) :rolleyes: :D :cool:

catlady, BSN, RN

Has 21 years experience.

I did agency for a long time and it has its advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantages are the money and the flexibility in hours. You work when and where you want, and you make a lot more than you do anywhere else. You also avoid the games and the politics of the place where you're temping. I was able to get work just about any time I wanted, and there were often contracts available with guaranteed hours.

The reason I got out of agency nursing is that many facilities look down on agency nurses. They often assume that "pool" nurses are irresponsible, lazy, and incompetent, and they don't take them seriously, no matter how good they are. It's hard for me to work in that kind of environment. I wanted a little more responsibility and a little more respect. (However, I'm thinking of going back to the "pool!")

Good luck.

Be specific as to what area you are willing to work; some hospitals interchange ICCU and telemetry. I always specify ONLY ICCU ( some tele units are horrible to work in, not strictly tele patients and poor staffing ratios).

Agency nursing is good because you are not involved in any politics or unit battles. You schedule according to your needs ( a huge incentive to work agency!).

You may not get the intresting patients if you are agency. The hospital may not know your capabilities and you won't know their policies/procedures, or where things are kept that you need. You may get the demanding or unpleasant pts ( constant stooling, etc). I look at it as it allows the staff nurses a break and I'm getting big bucks and I can handle it for 8 or 12 hours.

Also take into consideration that you can be cancelled so your income will flucuate. Some agencies have noncancellable shifts but those are usually at undesirable locations or a contract situation.

catlady, BSN, RN

Has 21 years experience.

Gotta agree with you, healer. I worked agency at a hospital where they claimed they had no needs in ICU, so they sent me to telemetry. One shift I didn't have any tele patients--just med/surg--and I don't do med/surg! Another shift they sent me to the ER, because there was a patient down there on a monitor. If there's anything I do less than med/surg, it's ER. I have no ER background. Of course, I didn't only have the one telemetry patient while I was down there.

Agency nursing is definately where the $$$$$ is! However the downfall is that you cannot always count on that money. Because you cost the facility A LOT more than regular staff, you will be the first one to be cancelled due to low census etc.... Check with the agancy you are talking with and ask them about contract nursing. You are paid a little less but your shifts are guaranteed and you can still choose your hours and facility. Most placed I have worked with will offer a 12-13 week contract with a qualified nurse (especially ICU nurses). Also be careful about booking yourself too far in advance. Some facilities will book an agency nurse before they even have a need, knowing they will cancell if they are overstaffed. It is a fun job, new people every day, no "office politics", with autonomy and flexibility. Good luck~:eek:

I am also have some question about registery nursing. My first question is do the registeries hire new graduates LPNs and RNs? Do you have to have 6months to a 1 year new some specialty before you are considered? How long are you consider a new graduate? I am planning on taking the LPN exam next spring to make more money while I continue my ADN nursing program and to gain more experience on the unit. I would love any suggestions or comments.


Brown Suga:)

catlady, BSN, RN

Has 21 years experience.

I definitely do NOT recommend that new graduates go into agency nursing. It's stressful enough going into a building you don't know, without any orientation, often with little or no support from the staff, when you have experience. It could be a nightmare if you're still learning the basics yourself. You have to be able to hit the ground running as an agency nurse.

There may be some agencies that will accept you without experience, but I'd stay away from them. IMO, they're only interested in how much money they can generate from you, and not in your welfare. You are usually considered a new graduate for about a year after you start working, but only you will know when you feel comfortable in your specialty.

Brown Suga,

I would discourage doing agency nursing after graduation. Facillities are not real excited about nurses that they are already leary of asking "new grad" questions (which you will have TONS of) and not yet having the confidence that comes with experience. I would suggest focusing on your boards right now and finding a job that you can really learn and gain confidence! You will do great! Another thing you may want to consider is if you have your CNA/NAR license, try doing that w/an agency until you're an LPN. You will get the feel of going into a building "blind" and decide if it is really the type of work you're looking for. Good luck to you!~:rolleyes:

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