If you’re a nurse considering taking on agency work, then there are several things you should consider before applying. Agency work can be fast paced, with rewards ranging from the ability to earn extra income to rapid career development opportunities. Agency work isn’t for everybody though, as it can involve changing environments, colleagues and shifts on a regular basis. Considering the following factors against your expectations can improve the experience of starting your agency career.
For newly qualified nurses, gaining relevant experience is a major part of their career development. If you’re a student or newly qualified, you’ll be limited to accepting healthcare assistant (HCA) shifts for at least six months, but this can still provide you with excellent experience. HCA shifts are a great opportunity to observe good clinical practice in a number of settings. It’s also a good way to boost your earnings if you’re still studying and a great way of establishing contacts at key institutions.
If you’re thinking about agency work, one of the issues that’s likely to be holding you back is a lack of information about how to register. While the initial process does require some paperwork and preparation, this is similar to applying for a new job. The good news is that once you’re registered with an agency, you’ll automatically be eligible to apply for a wide variety of work without further applications or interviews being necessary (there are some exceptions). In order to register, you’ll be asked for documentation such as an up to date CV, NMC PIN, Disclosure and references, and you’ll also be required to attend an interview with the agency.
Many first-time agency nurses have worked predominantly within hospital settings. Agencies can provide a wide variety of experiences across the NHS, private and third sectors. This can bring a wealth of career development opportunities. You should discuss the range of available placements with your agency and specify any areas you’re interested in. Consultants want you to feel comfortable and happy with your placements, which is more likely to result in the client being satisfied following a successful assignment.
Whether you’re looking for additional hours or temporary full-time placements, your consultant will offer you work based on the days and shifts that you request. This means that you’ll be offered shifts that match your availability. In order to avoid wasting yours and the agency’s time, it’s good to establish your availability in advance and communicate this to your recruitment consultant. This means that you’ll only get contacted about relevant shifts.
If you’re willing to commute for placements, this could widen your range of opportunities even more. While a certain amount of travel may be expected by agencies, you should bear in mind what’s feasible for you and let your agency know. For example, if you don’t drive, or don’t want to drive to work, this could limit you to inner city areas that are accessible by public transport. You should also consider what you feel is a reasonable commute time based on your shift patterns.
There are both benefits and drawback to working through an agency that nurses need to take into consideration. Some of the key benefits include the ability to earn extra income and the freedom to choose shifts and placements according to preference and availability. The drawback can be the lack of security, although the high demand for qualified nurses means that it’s unlikely that agency workers won’t be able to find placements if they’re willing to be reasonably flexible.
When you’re choosing an agency, make sure you select one with a good track record in your industry as this will mean that they’ll be able to advise and support you in your career decisions. An agency that specialises in medical recruitment will be able to help you with any questions or problems that crop up, as well as making sure you’re compliant with government legislation like IR35.
If you’re a newly qualified nurse looking for placements, then speak to a member of our team on: 0800 971 7070Tags: agency nurse, clinical practice, IR35, nursing, placement