Working with more than one agency?

Specialties Travel


Of coorifice, I don't mean taking assignments with 2 agencies at once. That would be physically impossible. LOL.

The question I have is, is it a good idea to keep myself on "retainer" (I guess that's right word) with more than one agency, or are there potential complications in doing it this way?

What I mean is, to keep all my general info (applications, references, resume, titers, ppds, etc.) up to date with a variety of travel companies to keep myself on an active list with them for use in the future, or is this a bad idea, or even allowed. I'm just not sure.

The reason I ask is that when I travelled previously, I used only 1 agency. The problem was that when I completed 3 - 13 week assignments, I needed to come back to SC, to a rental I had here, for personal reasons. The agency I was with had no assignments in this area, so I had to sign on with a local prn agency which had me going all over this area to various hospitals and nursing homes.

My idea was to have a number of agencies to work with should I have a reason for a particular area or state. If one doesn't have an assignment in that area, perhaps another will, and keeping a few agencies on hold would prevent the hassle of starting from scratch should I need to use one. But I can forsee some possible problems with this logic, particularly with insurance, 401Ks, etc. How would this work? And do agencies frown on or even allow doing it this way? Are there any other potential concerns or problems with doing it this way? Thanks in advance.

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

It seems like you already answered your question as far as not putting all your eggs in one basket. Don't leave yourself to one agency. I work agency per-diem. So I'm not too familiar with travel agencies. However, I would think that depending on the agency's policy as far as how often you have to work a shift for should be able to keep your profile active. I work for multiple facilities and it has never caused a problem. Good luck.

Specializes in Ortho/Uro/Peds/Research/PH/Insur/Travel.

I think it's CRITICAL that you "spread the wealth" over at least two agencies. I am with three agencies and I am considering adding a fourth. If you work in a very specific speciality (i.e. NICU, PICU, etc.) OR if you REALLY want to be in a specific city, it's better than you have multiple recruiters working on your behalf. Plus, you can compare packages. With only one agency, you're stuck with what they have and offer. Good luck!

Being fully signed up with several agencies does give you more opportunities. It also ensures that you have competitive wages, and each will know that they are competing for you (and should know). You will be able to compare offers and negotiate accordingly.

You can COBRA your insurance if you have a good plan. Remember that it is coming out of your pay anyway, so even with sticker shock of paying the full amount, it is exactly the same amount. If you decline insurance, an agency will be able to pay you exactly the the difference. With proof of insurance, you can also negotiate for a tax free stipend to cover your COBRA - this is fully allowed by the IRS (however your recruiter may have to have this explained to them - and they don't have to).

You should start managing your own retirement account in the form of an IRA. I would recommend Vanguard or Fidelity for a self-directed retirement account. You can roll over any 401 without charge or taxes to your own IRA and either company will happily tell you how. Most agency 401 plans are a bit of a rip off. They are usually contained in a wll hidden annuity shell that costs 1 percent a year. In addition, if you look up the fund codes, they are not the same ones as the similar plans you can buy openly. They are effectively load funds and will always trail their big brother fund. I always put agency 401 contributions into a money market account to preserve my equity. As soon as I left the agency, I rolled it over into my own account and got to choose my own no-load funds.

Don't worry about some vesting period. It doesn't apply to your own contributions, and the amount agencies "match" is very minimal and you would have to work for them forever to get it. Negotiate instead for any match to be added to your hourly. It is your money!

Specializes in Give me a new assignment each time:).

For as long as they are not resonsible for ensuring that you have a full time job, it's your choice to sign up with as many agencies as you choose. In fact no employer can tell you what to do with you extra time when you are not on the clock. So, yeah, I am active with about 5-7 agencies. It gives me a lot of optioins in terms of what shifts I want to work and what location. As far as be benefits, some nurses like to take charge of the own health insurance, retirement plans, etc. Remember, the agencies cannot guarantee a steady, full-time job.

Oh and one more thing: Some agencies require that you take at least one assignment in a six-month period in order to maintain active status with them.

Specializes in ICU 3+ years, travel nurse 1+ years.

In my two years as a travel nurse I've worked with two different agencies, am signed up for three, and contemplating signing up for a fourth. I use my one agency as a "backup" agency when I can't get the assignments I want with another agency (one that I still haven't worked for yet.) And I use an other agency for local prn work. That way, a travel nurse can have the best of many worlds! A contracts when that is wanted, or prn when you just want to stay "home" for a bit. Play the field!

+ Add a Comment