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am i making a mistake going agency???

Nurses   (1,853 Views 13 Comments)
by emmycRN emmycRN (Member)

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Looking for good pay and flexible working schedule I recenty signed on with an agency in my area. They staff several acute and LTC facilities a couple of which are geri-psych units. I go in monday for a 45 minute orientation to a couple of the facilities. I am a little nervous about going into a place knowing nothing about the working conditions. Am I getting myself in over my head? Those of you who have done agency nursing any tips, advice, and experiences you could share would be much appreciated.

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6,487 Posts; 21,388 Profile Views

The nice thing about agency work is that if you don't like a facility you can request to not be sent there again. I've never worked agency because I'm not flexible enough to be able to jump from facility to facility and be efficient, but I know peopl---not just nurses but other specialties too---who loved it because of the variety.

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Working agency is a good way to scope out a potential FT employer. The best advice I can give you is to remember that the regular employees may not seem very helpful at first, you will probably get the "hardest" assignments. Like any place, if somebody goes out of their way to say things to you, take it with a grain of salt. Make your own judgement about situations. If you like a particular place you can make it known to those responsible for doing the scheduling there to ask for you by name from the agency. I learned that from another person on this board. That's a good way to manage your own schedule. Good luck.

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bigsyis has 24 years experience and specializes in ER, Occupational Health, Cardiology.

519 Posts; 5,066 Profile Views

There is a significant risk that you take if agency is all that you plan to do, and that is being called off. When I did Charge, if our census was down the first person who was called off was any agency that we had on the schedule. It is true that you can pick and choose where you want to work, but if any place seems unsafe, either don't agree to work there, or call your agency immediately and let them know what you are up against. Good luck!

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bill4745 has 15 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER.

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Pro: You can set your own schedule, pick where you work, probably make more money, try a place out before working there full-time ( be careful of your contract-you may not be able to work anywhere for a year after your last agency shift-I've known nurses who got sued for this). Con: places that need agency aren't always the nicest places to work, you may get dumped on with assignments, you may get canceled a lot.

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chaoticnme specializes in Critical care, Home health, Tele, Agency.

25 Posts; 673 Profile Views

Looking for good pay and flexible working schedule I recenty signed on with an agency in my area. They staff several acute and LTC facilities a couple of which are geri-psych units. I go in monday for a 45 minute orientation to a couple of the facilities. I am a little nervous about going into a place knowing nothing about the working conditions. Am I getting myself in over my head? Those of you who have done agency nursing any tips, advice, and experiences you could share would be much appreciated.

I have worked Agency for years and what they call FLEX for years. I now work Part time in an ICU and love it. Agency and the such is hard work. Depends on how many places you go to, but for me was hard. I noticed All the things people mentioned. A: Being Dumped on, B: Nurses not being so nice to you, probably because they dont "know you". C: The mentality "You make more so you can handle anything" (see dumping on you). I would get reported every so often for what they call "complaining", I wasnt really complaining, I would ask for help if I got back to back admissions...etc... The job is hard...anything that promises a great rate to a reasonably new nurse has its issues.. You can always try it out and not stay if you hate it or are anyway unsafe. I just know they didnt send me to the same place sometimes for months and when you get there they expect you to know how to work like you have been there for 5 years or something. Its tough to work when you dont know where anything is...you get used to it by the middle or end of your shift and you dont go back for months.

I suggest to maybe seriously think about seeking out a place like I work at that you can self schedule and maybe just do part time....you can still get benefits and PTO's without anyone "Owning you" 3 days a week. You can then sign up on days you want to work extra if there is a need.

Good luck

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31 Posts; 1,444 Profile Views

i have worked agency since 1991. i only go to one facility at a time. you have to be a confident nurse for it to work. not a life for a new grad. the best thing i do, when i show up to a new floor is: get there 10 minutes early, ask for the charge nurse, and introduce myself. i then introduce myself to my fellow nurses and the assitant assigned to me. you would be surprised how far that gets you. they see you as a worker and confident. you also have to know when to speak up.

you will find that the same floors request you and so you become like staff to them. as i work with the nurses more, they realize that i am being paid more an hour but they get beneifts that i dont. it really equals out in the end.

since i make my own schedule and only work when i want, where i want. i come into work in a good mood. that too, goes a long way.

as being agency, you dont have to put up with a lot of the nonsense that staff nurses have like mandatory staff meetings.

yes, you do get cancelled first so you need to be flexible. if financially you need to work 5 days a week, that may not be for you. i needed 3 but when i could get 4 i took it. if i only got 2, it was ok. not great, but ok

again, not for a new grad

sandals

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chuck1234 specializes in Nurses who are mentally sicked.

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Looking for good pay and flexible working schedule I recenty signed on with an agency in my area. They staff several acute and LTC facilities a couple of which are geri-psych units. I go in monday for a 45 minute orientation to a couple of the facilities. I am a little nervous about going into a place knowing nothing about the working conditions. Am I getting myself in over my head? Those of you who have done agency nursing any tips, advice, and experiences you could share would be much appreciated.

If you don't like it, leave it...

When I was an LPN, I used to go to different facilities, mostly LTC...and I have been to 47 of them. To tell you my experience...I would say...go back there if you like it...

There are so many facilities out there, and there are so many agencies.

I think the agency always pay more with a flexible schedule. If I have enough experience, I could rather work for an agency than working for a specific place. Hey...sometimes, when I get up early in the morning, I want to say it to myself..."Stay home and watch the Jerry Springer at 11am."

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Thanks for the information everybody! I feel a little better but I'm still really nervous. I guess the thing to do is just do a few shifts and see what happens.

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chaoticnme specializes in Critical care, Home health, Tele, Agency.

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Thanks for the information everybody! I feel a little better but I'm still really nervous. I guess the thing to do is just do a few shifts and see what happens.

Good luck with what you do. I didnt mean to try to steer you away on purpose...i was reading my post lol.

The Sandals poster had more luck with agency then I did. I work in Florida and you do get cancelled alot and I worked agency with more than one place. I hated having to sleep all day get up and then I am cancelled for night shift. You have to be real flexible, work 4 hours sometimes..or only 8 hours...You will go in and then get cancelled at the hospital after 4 hours sometimes...at least where I live. You have days where I would go in and work 4 hours on one unit and get floated to another for the last 8. If I did 3-11 it would be 3-7pm one place and 7-11pm another. I didnt last long doing that. Hopefully if you do that you wont have to put up with that where you work.

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SharonH, RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, Geriatrics.

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i have worked agency since 1991. i only go to one facility at a time. you have to be a confident nurse for it to work. not a life for a new grad. the best thing i do, when i show up to a new floor is: get there 10 minutes early, ask for the charge nurse, and introduce myself. i then introduce myself to my fellow nurses and the assitant assigned to me. you would be surprised how far that gets you. they see you as a worker and confident. you also have to know when to speak up.

you will find that the same floors request you and so you become like staff to them. as i work with the nurses more, they realize that i am being paid more an hour but they get beneifts that i dont. it really equals out in the end.

since i make my own schedule and only work when i want, where i want. i come into work in a good mood. that too, goes a long way.

as being agency, you dont have to put up with a lot of the nonsense that staff nurses have like mandatory staff meetings.

yes, you do get cancelled first so you need to be flexible. if financially you need to work 5 days a week, that may not be for you. i needed 3 but when i could get 4 i took it. if i only got 2, it was ok. not great, but ok

again, not for a new grad

sandals

Perfectly stated! I worked agency and/or per diem for the most part of 13 years. I gave up bedside nursing entirely 4 years ago. I have not worked full or part time on a floor since 1992. I never really had a problem with getting dumped on. I was always to spot who knew what the heck was going on and who didn't and I used my resources wisely. That didn't mean that I didn't try to figure things out on my own because eventually people won't want to help you. The work goes in cycles and you will find that you are sent to the same facilities and or floor over and over again so that you become known to the facility and the staff and yes, I too have been requested to work in a certain area.

I had only two instances of refusing to return to a place because of unsafe conditions, one was an abortion clinic, never again and the other was a hospital where they rather forcefully tried to send me to an ICU when I had no critical care experience whatsoever.

Of the two, I prefer working in-house per diem to agency because it simplifies things greatly.

Working like that is not for everyone and if you get nervous because you get called out a couple of times in a row, then don't do it. Like sandals said, when you can get the work take it, handle your business and when things are slow (which never lasts by the way) then relax and enjoy it.

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134 Posts; 2,727 Profile Views

I've read elsewhere on this board that a nice alternative to agencies is to contact hospitals for agency type work and represent yourself, eliminating the middleman (agency). It has the many benefits:

1. You can ask for a higher hourly rate and still be very competitive since most agencies pay out something like half of what they bill the hospital.

2. If you don't like per diem you can negotiate contracts that pay regardless of whether you are needed or not (so cancellation = free payday)

3. You don't have to abide by any agency rules which include experience requirements. This is good for newer nurses who want to jump into agency work (like myself) though it will also make you less marketable.

You don't have to be a doctor to contract your services guys. Take the initiative and wield the power of that BSN!

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