NICU: PRN vs. Agency?

  1. Hey,

    I'm considering one of the above options. I know of a couple of agencies in the area, but also of a few hospitals that are hiring PRN. I'm wondering about the differences- differences in pay, work availability, etc. Anyone have any experiences with either of these? This would be in addition to what I'm working now (FT)- thinking of a couple of extra shifts a month. Let me know if you've done this; I'm a bit apprehensive about it and don't really know enough to make an informed decision. Thanks!

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    About NICU_Nurse, BSN

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 2,150; Likes: 85


  3. by   nicudaynurse
    I've worked agency before. There are advantages and disadvantages.

    Advantages being rate of pay and it's entirely up to you when you work.

    Disadvantages being your shift may be cancelled and you may get a very minimal orientation in the NICU where you get sent to and that can be very stressful. Some NICU's are very accepting of agency nurses and some aren't

    PRN work has the advantage of you will likely get a better orientation and you are actually an employee of the hospital where you will work PRN at. The rate of pay is likely not as good as agency, but still good. You may be required to work a set amount of shifts per pay period and may be required to work a major holiday.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Good luck with your decision.
  4. by   NicuGal
    We don't use agency at our hospital. But our PRNS stay in the public retirement system and that is good as then they can retire with full benefits after 30 years and still have flexibility.
  5. by   dawngloves
    6 of one, half dozen of the other. The only thing I hated about agency was the unfamilirarity. But we have agency nurses that have been with us regular for months, so they know their way around as well as me. Plus, they don't get addmissions!
  6. by   NICU_Nurse
    Ooh, sign me up then. ;>P I think I'm going to try it. The money's good, and I found out there's no minimum work commitment- I can tell them when I want to work, so if I have something planned, no conflict. I don't know how much work I'll end up getting, but I'll let you know if you like. I'm not so worried about the retirement bennies because we're moving out of state in two years, so that will change eventually anyway. I also get to tell them which hospitals I'm interested in (a plus in this city!) and that, say, I'd prefer Level II over Level III or vice-versa.

    Okay, another question: As a L2/L3 nurse, am I qualified to work well-baby? Would I want to? I have some experience in our well-baby, but mostly from cross-training and being pulled. How different are they, really? You know what I mean. With my experience in NICU, cuold I handle it, or do they even allow this sort of thing with little to no experience?
  7. by   dawngloves
    We float to well baby.They would love to havve you, but you don't wanna work there. Can you imagine having to do five admission assesments in a shift and having to feed two boarder babies!
  8. by   Teshiee
    I have worked both and I have to agree with the rest it depends on your needs. Registry pays more and you can pretty much pick and choose, and never have to float out. On the other hand you will be cancelled you are under scrutiny than their co-workers and you tend to end up with crappy assignments. I am recently working 2 per diem jobs and they are working out far better because I am not under a committment of full time, the major holidays I have to work are the ones I don't mind working any how and yes you are a part of the team so you will receive good orientation. Sometimes high pay isn't wort the headaches registries put you through at times. Try both and see how it turns out for you!
  9. by   NICU_Nurse
    Teshiee, do you have any trouble coordinating your two schedules? It seems like both places would want you at the same time...?
  10. by   Teshiee
    Hi Kristi :-) No it is not hard at all. My first per diem the schedule comes out every 6 weeks I only have to work 6 days per schedule but I end up working more days. My second one I only have to work 1 day a week and I end up giving them an extra day. The only time it may conflict if I don't write my schedule properly and accidently schedule myself for the both places. The best thing is both allow self scheduling so that gives me more flexiblility. I usually end up working more days because both places are short. They will cancel an agency nurse before perdiem staff member. Also some hospitals have in house registry where you will receive 7-10$ more per hour on your base rate!