Nursing is a hugely rewarding career whether you choose to work in a permanent position or as an agency nurse, or perhaps a combination of both over your career. One isn’t better than the other and it may come down to your preferences, personality, or your circumstances.
During this article we’ll dispel some of the common myths about working as an agency nurse
1. I won’t feel like part of the team
Many medical settings require agency nurses from time to time, if not often. Wards and primary care settings are used to incorporating temporary nurses, and often it’s the nature of the work that brings about camaraderie rather than time spent working together. Fitting in to the team quickly and seamlessly is part of offering high quality patient care - incumbent nursing teams know this.
2. I won’t get any benefits
Full time benefits are different for permanent employees; however, agency nurses are also entitled to some benefits. Holiday pay is often included in an hourly rate, or can be accrued, and there are statutory minimums for all types of workers.
3. I won’t get any choice about where I work
Actually, flexibility is one of the perks of working as an agency / locum nurse. It’s entirely up to you whether to say yes or no to a particular shift, with no pressure from bosses or other team members.
4. It won’t look good on my CV
Agency nurses require the same amount of skills and qualifications as any nurse, and perhaps accrue additional skills from working in a variety of environments, having to adapt immediately and potentially undertaking a wider number of tasks. These skills can give you a competitive edge.
5. I won’t be able to get a mortgage
While it can be less straightforward than for a permanent employee, there are mortgage products available to temporary workers.
6. It’s financially insecure
Sure, you don’t get the same monthly salary each month, but agency nurses are never short of demand and there’s the chance you can earn more than if you were a permanent employee. Many nurses choose locum roles for this reason in fact, as well as the flexibility it offers.
7. The agency nursing pay cap means it’s no longer worthwhile
There is still plenty of scope to up your earnings while working as an agency nurse, the cap stands at 55% higher than your permanent counterpart.
8. It’s a temporary solution between full time jobs
No! Not necessarily, although this can be true for some. For many others it’s an active choice to work this way - it suits their personality, lifestyle or both.
9. Agency nurses vs. staff nurses
There’s no them and us! Teams work together to produce the best possible care and outcomes for patients. This driving motivation of healthcare professionals puts cohesive working well ahead of any dividing mentality.
10. There is no one to turn to for support
You may feel remiss without a regular line manager or HR department, but the reality is you will be supported by the healthcare provider you are working for, as well as having the ongoing support of your recruitment agency.
Benefits of agency work
If you hadn’t already gleaned from the above, there are many benefits to agency work. These include:
Say when, where, how much you want to work! It’s entirely up to you.
Possibility of greater pay
With generous hourly rates you can really maximise your earnings and take advantage of payroll being run several times a week.
Variety is the spice of life
Nursing work is already varied, working as an agency nurse means even greater variety. You’ll work in numerous settings, getting to know different colleagues as well as patients.
Discover new colleagues
Working across multiple settings you can quickly grow your network of nursing colleagues.
Should I be an agency nurse?
If you like variety, pressure, changing environments and the ability to pick when you work, then becoming an agency career could be a great move. Many love the freedoms it affords, as well as the great pay, making a viable ongoing way of working rather than simply a stop gap. You can find out exactly what an agency nurse is in our useful guide here.
Alternatively, if you’re considering agency nursing but don’t know where to start, contact one of our dedicated recruitment consultants at Medical Staffing who would be happy to help!