How To Get Started in Agency Nursing?

Specialties Agency


Hi. I am an RN student. I was wondering how many years of experience in nursing working at hospitals, etc. it would take before a RN could start doing agency work? Does the agency ever hire new RN graduates? Also, are you constantly being routed to different hospitals, etc. that you have never worked for? And, do you ever get any insurance benefits if you work for one agency?

Also, what is the average starting Agency RN hourly or annual wage in Florida? How much are some of you making in the states you are in now? About how much could I expect to make per year if I worked full time, part time or on a PRN basis?

Thanks, April :p

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

Most agencies require at least 1 year of experience. I do not know what the pay is for FL, states and areas vary greatly. I suggest you look in the Sunday papers and call the agencies listed with your questions for more accurate information.


117 Posts

But can some of you answer my questions from your point of view and based on the states that you live in? It would be good for comparison sake. Thanks. :)

nightingale, RN

2,404 Posts

RN2007: Try doing a search of Agency Wages and you will find many posts on this topic. Let me know if you need help doing a search (one of the little blue buttons on the top right of the post).

After you have been a nurse on a busy floor, you will understand why we are saying you need at least a year of experience. You need to know when to say no to an assignment, perform all duties on your own, and have the confidence and expertise to advocate for your patients.

Yes, you might float "where ever". Inteview your agency first and thoroughly and you get what you are willing to take. It takes experience to know what to look out for and what to ask for.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

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The last time I surfed the Florida state web site, it said that the average RN salary was something less than $18/hour--small wonder they are short of nurses.

Most reputable agencies won't sign you up without at least one year's experience in med-surg, regardless of the specialty you are wanting to enter. For very good reasons.


5 Posts

Usually takes one year of experience. However, if you've been an extern for a year prior to graduation, in an area... some hospitals make take less than that. Good luck. It's been a great career for >23 years.

Keep the nose to the grindstone.

Monica RN,BSN

603 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC.

Hi there. I have also done agency nursing for a number of years here in florida. The pay depends on if yopu go to anursing home or a hospital but the average is 22.00 to 28.oo an hour. Pay is a bit more for ICU (top end of 28) we have a hospital that is an hour away, but the agency will pay 36.00 to those willing to drive there. Agency nursing is nice as you can pick and choose where and when you want to work, but it is also hard since you do not get any formal orientation to the place... Its like...ok, now what do we write on, where is the bathroom, and can you direct me to the coffee pot??

Good Luck to you...


5 Posts

You're right about where's the bathroom. I really like the challenge of working with new people. It's fun to see the difference between the rural and urban hospitals and their staffs.

Have a great day!

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16 Posts

If an agency says they'll take you with less than a year, you don't want to work for them. Take your time, learn the ropes, then move on. Don't be in a rush, you'll pay for it later. Agency nurses in our area work in rural, suburban and urban hospitals, but you have the right to refuse to go somewhere. Know that there is VERY Little to NO orientation!!! You must be self sufficient and motivated and confident enough to jump in with both feet. We make about 36.00 for ER here. My agency has a group health plan and they pay a certain amount of the premium depending on how many hours you worked the previous month. Hope this helps, Heather


5 Posts

I have just started for an agency,and only 2 months of experience in a hospital,but have been a nurse since 1988,working in a nursing home,for 7 years,mental health ,3,after hours,convient care,1 year.I just wish i had more experience in a hospital,because i still feel lost,and agency nurses need to know a lot.I didn't know you had to have 1 year experience,The agency hired me anyway.I feel "It's either swim or drown"


66 Posts

I signed on with an agency after only 4 months of experience and they said you had to have a year, but they still hired me because of my references. But I didn't start working for them till I had 9 months experience. I've been really lucky though and have been at one hospital the majority of the time and they are so awesome to work with. They don't care when I ask them to help me with something I've never had to do before, and that list is getting shorter and shorter! They love to show me new things! I might have just gotten lucky though. The pay is between $27 and 35 dollars an hour, between the three agencies I'm signed up with. depending on which hospital and speciality areas. I like one of the agencies because they have a rule, if you have even ONE tele patient, you get specialty pay. :) It's great because at the other agency I work at a rural hospital and almost always abou 3 or 4 out of my 4 or 5 patients are tele patients, but we don't get payed more. :) I love the flexibility of agency nursing.

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