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Seriously thinking of doing agency work. Pros and cons?

Specializes in Clinical Documentation Specialist, LTC.

I'm a LPN with an extensive background in LTC and currently employed in a wound healing clinic. I'm at the point in my career and life that I would like to work when I choose as I am tired and in pain (Fibromyalgia, spondylithiasis, radiculopathy and disc degeneration with spinal stenosis) I know a LPN who works three days per week and does very well for herself, and the agency she works with happens to have a need for LPNs at this time. This agency has been in business for many years and has a good reputation, paying more than most agencies in my area.

I would love to know the good and bad from those of you do agency work. I know I would be sent wherever there is a need, but I have enough experience that I am confident in my skills to "just get in there do it."

Thanks! :)

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Talk with your friend - she would have THE BEST line on pros & cons at that agency. Other respondents' opinions would be very varied and for every one good opinion, you'll probably get one bad opinion. If you trust your friend, seek out her views, do your homework to investiage that agency, and go for an interview to get a direct feel for the place. Go with your gut.

LTCNS, LPN

Specializes in Clinical Documentation Specialist, LTC.

I've done as much research as I can find on the Agency and all seems to be positive. I'm signed up with one agency, but they never have anything closer than 70 or more miles away and I just don't care to travel that far for one or two shifts. All the good shifts are given to the nurses who have been there longer, as it should be.

Hopefully I can get time to go apply and talk to a recruiter soon, which is hard to do working 8am-4:30pm Mon-Fri. My plan is to go part time somewhere by the Summer.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Just FYI - some recruiters can be accomodating when scheduling phone calls & interviews. Sometimes there's somebody a little late in the office, on-call supervisors, tape messages or answering service to field calls. Texting or Email too. I set up an interview with a DON at 6 pm one time after I explained that otherwise I'd have to take the day off. As part of mgt, I didn't want to do that to my curent employer just as I knew she would NOT apppreciate one of her people doing that to her.

All my communication to her was early after-hours via her oncall pager and she always called me at home at my suggested times. She was very understanding about the difficulties conducting job searches during work hours and she was very accomodating. And that subject was even brought up during my interview. And I was hired.

Moral of story - try communicating a need for some innovative, flexible scheduling because of your work. They just might be willing to play ball... Word of advice though - be reasonable on your part to be as flexible as poss to meet their needs. and honor those committments.

Also, this might give you an idea of how employee-friendly or pro-staff they can be.

LTCNS, LPN

Specializes in Clinical Documentation Specialist, LTC.

I signed up with an agency today. All I need to do now is get my TB skin test, background check and fingerprint letter to them and I'm good to go. Went to get all that today but the person I needed to get it from was out, so I'm going to get it to them Monday. I'm a bit nervous because I have never done agency, but I believe I can do it.

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 34 years experience.

I'm a LPN with an extensive background in LTC and currently employed in a wound healing clinic. I'm at the point in my career and life that I would like to work when I choose as I am tired and in pain (Fibromyalgia, spondylithiasis, radiculopathy and disc degeneration with spinal stenosis) I know a LPN who works three days per week and does very well for herself, and the agency she works with happens to have a need for LPNs at this time. This agency has been in business for many years and has a good reputation, paying more than most agencies in my area.I would love to know the good and bad from those of you do agency work. I know I would be sent wherever there is a need, but I have enough experience that I am confident in my skills to "just get in there do it." Thanks! :)
I've done in-house agency and independent agency work. I love the flexibility and the pay. I must caution you, though. Make sure you are ready to leave your current job. With your stated medical issues, you could be aggravating those conditions. As an agency nurse, you WILL get the worst of the worst patients on the floor. Be prepared! The beauty is the pay and you get to pick the days that you are subjected to unfair assignments. As a guest in a facility, it would reflect poorly on your agency if you complained about the assignment that you received. On a positive side, I wouldn't work any other way because this is as close as I could come to retirement....working when I want to. I'm with a facility now, only as a float nurse....basically no difference, just floating within instead of facility to facility.

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 14 years experience.

I'm also new to contract nursing..I'm in talks for my first assignment. I've known people that have gone through my agency and they were pleased with it. One lady has been with them for years. I'm an OR nurse and have good experience under my belt, hopefully, I will enjoy this.

LTCNS, LPN

Specializes in Clinical Documentation Specialist, LTC.

I'm also new to contract nursing..I'm in talks for my first assignment. I've known people that have gone through my agency and they were pleased with it. One lady has been with them for years. I'm an OR nurse and have good experience under my belt, hopefully, I will enjoy this.

Wishing you the best :)

I started a job as Head Nurse in an Alzheimer's home on March 18th so am not pursuing agency at this time. If this job doesn't work out then I will look back into it.

I work for Medical Solutions. I like the closeness I feel with them and my recruiter and feel that they have my best interest at heart. Contract nursing can be tough but I enjoy meeting new people, going to new areas of the USA, and my motto is "I can do anything for 3 months even it is not the perfect contract or if offered I can extend and stay longer.

If you feel like your agency has your best interests at heart, you do not have a good business relationship.

V-Neck T-Shirt

Specializes in Tele/PCU/MedSurg/Travel. Has 4 years experience.

If you feel like your agency has your best interests at heart, you do not have a good business relationship.

What do you mean?

What do you mean?

I work for three agencies. I KNOW only one high ranking agency has "my back".

montinurse

Specializes in ICU. Has 10 years experience.

With agency, you are your own boss. Mine seems to care because it wants me to stay working for them. So they accommodate n my requests without much hassle. Depends on how you look at it.

I don't fully agree with the above statement. To an extent, sure.

I work for Medical Solutions. I like the closeness I feel with them and my recruiter and feel that they have my best interest at heart.

If you feel like your agency has your best interests at heart, you do not have a good business relationship.

What do you mean?

OK, here are the facts of life no one seems to be telling travelers: Your recruiter works for the agency, not you. Their loyalty is to the agency, not you. They also work on commission, which of course encourages maximizing profits from travelers. To the extent that the agency and recruiter have a culture that encourages traveler retention, they may do right by you under some circumstances. Do read your contract and see if you can find any hint that they are looking out for your best interests. Nope, the contract protects their interests, not yours.

If you feel close to your recruiter and start treating them like a friend, it will end badly. You won't be able to negotiate professionally and will lose income. You will spill details about your personal life and professional life that can not possibly help you.

It is fine to have a cordial and friendly relationship and communication, but don't ever mistake an agency or recruiter for a friend. They are not. They are looking out for their business interests first, and that includes making you feel like they are your friend. Is AT&T your friend? Do they have your back? Nor does any other company you do business with.

V-Neck T-Shirt

Specializes in Tele/PCU/MedSurg/Travel. Has 4 years experience.

Thanks for the clarification, Ned.

delphine22

Specializes in Quality, Cardiac Stepdown, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

Keep in mind that the hospital pays the agency nearly twice what the agency is paying you (and what the hospital would pay a staff nurse). Facilities that employ a lot of agency nurses by definition can't hire/keep staff nurses. Do what you will with that information. The hospital I work at through an agency is a pretty crappy place to work; if they weren't paying me so much, I wouldn't be there. But I smile and do the best patient care I can and cash my paycheck at the end of the week. :saint: If it were super awesome, they could get nurses to work there for less and wouldn't need me.

delphine22

Specializes in Quality, Cardiac Stepdown, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

They also work on commission, which of course encourages maximizing profits from travelers.

Yes yes yes!! They are billing you out for much more than they are paying you. Use this to your advantage if they are in a bind and really need you. When my recruiter calls and says "please please please" I say "bonus bonus bonus." And I won't work an extra unscheduled shift without one.

One time a group of us from the agency were orienting at a long-term acute-care hospital, and we were being paid "orientation pay," which is $20/hr. (We usually make at least $35 here in FL for agency work.) One person who was new to the agency asked if it were possible for him to get extra time for orientation (not a very reasonable request, as we were lucky to be getting any at all). The educator very politely told him they couldn't afford to do any more orientation time, as the agency was billing us out as regular nurses. WELL, when we found THAT out, she said, "OK, now it's time for the second half of the day, in which you will be orienting on the floor. Maybe you can take a pt or two." We all stated right then and there that if we weren't going to be paid to work as nurses, we weren't going to lay a finger on a person or chart a word, we would just follow and observe. And the agency was just pocketing the difference!

BahoRN

Has 5 years experience.

Over all, are you happy with your agency? Have you worked for others prior to this one? Which agency do you recommend as I'm in Florida too and am considering agency work.

I work for Medical Solutions and love the way that they take care of me. I have worked for others but usually find them good for a contract or two then they tend to forget that I am out there working for them, or they merge with a larger company and I become a number. I do not like larger impersonal companies. In Florida are several based in Boca Raton area but can't remember exactly which ones

delphine22

Specializes in Quality, Cardiac Stepdown, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

Over all, are you happy with your agency? Have you worked for others prior to this one? Which agency do you recommend as I'm in Florida too and am considering agency work.

I am with Medical Staffing Network. They staff all over the state. My local office is a little clueless -- one of the secretaries keeps insisting on calling me at 11 am on a day after I've worked night shift, to tell me something stupid that she already emailed me anyway. But I think I have them trained up right now. ;-)

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