As an agency nurse, you will be all too familiar with how rewarding your career can be. Providing healthcare to those most in need whilst improving your practice certainly is a noble path to follow.
The perks of the job aren’t bad, either. From working when and where you want to the occasional higher rates of pay, the advantages really are in abundance as far as being an agency nurse are concerned. But, as an agency nurse, you already know that.
However, you might be less familiar with these positive aspects if you’re working with the wrong nursing agency. And that’s not all. Feeling underappreciated and undervalued in your role could leave your job satisfaction levels hitting rock-bottom.
But how do you know if you’re not with the best nursing agency for you? How do you know when it’s time to break ties with your current employer and search for greener pastures? Well, here are five signs that your nursing agency isn’t right for you.
1. Your nursing agency isn’t offering you the support you need
While nurses might be seen as heroes in society, it’s a role that still requires plenty of support. Whether you’re working alongside other nurses or as part of a multidisciplinary team, having fellow healthcare professionals on hand to provide help is priceless, as any nurse will testify.
Of course, as an agency nurse, you should have an additional line of support in the form of your nursing agency. This service should be well-armed with support that spans revalidation assistance and resource articles such as how to write a reflective account, as well as guidance and information around payment options to name but a few. However, not all nursing agencies offer this level of support, meaning you could be struggling to balance these demands by yourself.
The very minimum a nursing agency should offer is assistance with your NMC registration check and DBS certification, as well as any additional support with completing any necessary documentation, including revalidation. But why stop there?
It may be that you require a nursing agency that offers access to an extensive network of nursing advisors whose professional knowledge and career advice can be called upon when needed. This sort of resource can be invaluable, particularly if you find yourself feeling lost.
It might also be time to consider your nursing agency options when it comes to the training on offer.
The best nursing agencies offer mandatory training support, allowing you to remain compliant throughout your time as an agency nurse. This will also save you time as you won’t have to source your own training courses.
If your current nursing agency isn’t quite cutting it when it comes to providing help and support, find an agency that is willing to meet your demands.
2. Your nursing agency isn’t offering you the shifts you want
One of the major advantages of being an agency nurse is that you can take control and choose shifts that fit around your lifestyle. Whether you prefer days or nights, full-time or part-time, block bookings or adhoc shifts, agency nursing grants you the freedom to mould your work around your lifestyle.
However, what if your current nursing agency isn’t offering you the shifts you want?
Being offered agency nursing work that doesn’t suit your schedule can be frustrating, especially if it becomes a regular thing. In pursuing the agency nursing life, you were no doubt looking forward to carrying out the job you love on your terms. So why settle for agency nursing jobs that don’t suit the way you want to work?
The best nursing agency for you will not only offer the shifts you desire, but will also give you a wide choice of work. This means that you can select the type of jobs you want in locations that suit you. It’s worth keeping an eye out for framework agencies with preferred supplier contacts too, as these agencies can grant you access to exclusive jobs that other organisations cannot.
3. Your nursing agency isn’t giving you the attention you deserve
In life, it’s always nice to feel valued. Naturally, the same applies to agency nursing.
There’s no hiding from the fact that nursing agencies consistently have a plethora of healthcare professionals on their books - let’s face it, they wouldn’t stay in business very long if they didn’t – but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be given the attention you deserve.
Without nurses, nursing agencies simply cannot function. Armed with this information, ensure your nursing agency treats you with respect. When you call, the last thing you want is to be placed on hold until an automated voice bombards you with a multitude of unhelpful options. You’re an agency nurse, and your free time is important. The very best nursing agencies know this and will work tirelessly to cater to your needs, placing you at the heart of every action they carry out.
Joining an agency that can offer you your own personal consultant is a great way to ensure you receive the very best service. Over time, you can establish and build a relationship with your consultant, allowing them to intuitively offer you roles that suit your requirements.
These relationships can be built in other areas of the agency too, particularly in finance. By working through a nursing agency with clearly defined teams, your queries will be handled by members of staff who are familiar to you.
4. Your nursing agency isn’t offering you the best pay rates
While caring for your patients may be your raison d’etre, the prospect of higher pay rates is undoubtedly a major attraction for any agency nurse.
Receiving more money for performing your duties is a perk. But before you go searching for the agency that offers you the highest rates, it’s worth considering what extras you might have to sacrifice.
Typically, the higher the pay rate on offer the less time you will have to prepare for your shift. Framework agencies tend to offer slightly lower pay rates, however, you will have a wider choice of shifts offered well in advance.
Off-framework agencies can usually offer higher rates, however, there are usually fewer shifts to choose from and jobs can often be presented to you at the eleventh hour. While this method might suit some, for others who prefer to plan their work, it can be a real issue.
With this in mind, it’s important to get the balance right. Yes, swapping your current nursing agency for one that pays higher rates makes financial sense, but beware that that agency might not be right for you either. Instead, weigh up the pros and cons of framework agencies and opt for one that offers what you deem to be good rates as well as extras that make your job more satisfying.
5. Your nursing agency doesn’t offer any additional extras and rewards
As an agency nurse, tending to those in your care and nursing patients back to health is one of the most rewarding feelings you can experience. However, while your daily duties may leave you glowing with satisfaction, don’t overlook the fact that you could be missing out on additional extras by being with the wrong nursing agency.
If there’s one thing everybody loves, it’s a bonus. Whether it’s an extra chocolate bar from the vending machine at work or ten per cent off your weekly food shop, extras and rewards never fail to bring a smile to our faces. So why should you be forced to settle for a nursing agency that doesn’t offer you incentives?
Your nursing agency should make you feel special and recognise that you are a valued member of their setup. So if your agency doesn’t offer things like financial incentives, access to events, exclusive training or even a personalised message to help you celebrate your birthday, maybe it’s time you start looking elsewhere.