Looking for advice on adding agency work to resume


  • Specializes in LTC/Rehab,Med/Surg, OB/GYN, Ortho, Neuro.

I really really really wish I would have read all the info available on this site regarding agency work. :banghead: Anyhoo, I'm having to look for another job because I'm just not getting enough hours (7 1/2 shifts is what I've worked since August, and I'm the main source of income for my family... thank goodness dh is good about saving for a rainy day). What's the best way to list the work you did for agency when it involved different facilities w/ different areas (med/surg/ortho/neuro)? Thanx in advance for any advice or any wonderful links I know you guys have. ;)


1,348 Posts

Been there done that and feel your pain. It is really hard when that happens. Have worked agency in San Antonio, Austin, and DFW and those cancelled shifts really mess you up.

I list the agency as my employer and the city where they are located. I try to tailor things to the job I am looking for. If I am looking for a sort of run of the mill nursing job I will put something like: Worked as supplemental staff for area hospitals on Medical, Surgical, Telemetry, Oncology, and Critical Care Units.

If I need to give more detail, then I play up the fact that I am flexible and can adapt to working different assignments on different units on a daily basis. I emphasize that I have the ability to walk on any given unit and become a team player without difficulty. If there are certain procedures/assignments that are special then I will play those up as well - especially if the hospital staff nurses were unwilling to care for certain pts and I was able to do it. I had an agency job where I worked ICU but they needed a nurse that was an ICU nurse that was willing to take care of PIH pts in the L&D. The L&D nurses knew about pregnancy but had a difficult time caring for the critically ill moms when they had central lines, art lines, etc. So they taught me about OB and I was able to play up the fact that I cared for such complex pts as an agency nurse because the hospital didn't have nurses with my diverse skills at that time.

As an agency nurse you have to fly by the seat of your pants. You must be able to work with little to no guidance, direction, or support by other people. So put that down. Not everyone knows that agency nurses are always getting dumped on and have to work in bad conditions (floor short 5 nurses and they only got you that shift) and they don't realize that the regular staff often give the agency nurses the most hard pts but don't help the nurses out. So toot your own horn and let employers know that you know a about a lot of different diagnoses and how to care for those pts and that you can switch gears efficiently to care for complex pts without any help.

Hope that helps! Let me know if I can help.


300 Posts

Specializes in LTC/Rehab,Med/Surg, OB/GYN, Ortho, Neuro.

Thanks sooo much for your wonderful advice. I've been trying to work on this all day. You've given me some great ideas on what to put. :)


74 Posts

I would never put the name of an agency on your resume. They cannot provide a good reference and even have some incentive to give a bad reference. It is the hospital that is providing you with a workplace and supervision and a reference/evaluation as needed (you should be maintaining your own professional portfolio - get your own written references for best control over your career).

Your goal should be to have a one page resume, particularly for agency or travel assignments. No one cares to look through a five page resume, they are hiring a warm body and just need to ascertain minimum skills and experience. Be ruthless and expunge all irrelevant information, even education if you have a long work history. Add stuff if you have a short work history to flesh out the page. Format it so a quick glance will allow the reader to get a snapshot of your professional life. In this regard, the hospital names you have worked at will be a key clue for the manager.

Resumes are very individualized and often have to be because of unique experiences. As such, there are many ways to format information. I'm a fan of one hospital, one line with start and stop dates. I have 12 years of travel on a one page resume and still have room for education. That cannot work that way for per diem though. In your case, I would say per diem, general area (Los Angeles), date range worked, and the specialties worked. That may take up two lines. Then a list of all hospitals worked, in this format you can list more than one on one line.

There are a dozen resume books just for nursing, and innumerable ones for resumes. If you go to Google images and search for nursing resumes, you will come up with many samples (mostly inappropriate in my opinion as they are designed for permanent staff positions). Pantravelers.org has samples specific to travel which may get you a better idea. Look under Resources>Download for them (I believe a free registration is required).


38,333 Posts


Excellent practical advice. Thanks for sharing.


88 Posts

Specializes in CCU,MS,BURN OPD. Has 20 years experience.

Thanks for sharing it will help a lot of nurses

ALOHA Cheyeree

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