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Is Agency Nursing Right for You After Your 12 Months of Experience?

Posted about 2 months ago

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​Now you’ve worked for 12 months as a registered nurse or midwife, you might be asking yourself, what’s next? Is it too early to specialise in a post-graduate university degree? Should I try and obtain full-time hours in my current ward/department as a means of consolidating what I’ve learned? Or is it time to pursue agency nursing and try something totally different? This post will explore if agency nursing is right for you at this point in your career. We look at common questions you probably have been asking yourself, plus some key points you need to know in getting started with Victorian Nursing Specialist (VNS) Nursing Agency.

Am I ready/confident enough to potentially work in a new facility/ward/department every shift?

It is normal to feel nervous at the thought of moving around to different facilities. But it’s this “nervous energy” that keeps you on your toes, pushing you to learn new things and further develop your nursing skills. Though moving between various facilities may seem scary initially, you will very quickly realise that the majority of nursing duties like vital signs, medications, and personal care are consistent regardless of where you work, and is why nursing is such an incredible, versatile career choice.

In saying that, VNS doesn't want you to stress every time you get allocated to a new location, and is why they take great care in matching your skillset and level of experience with the right shift. VNS wants to support you in feeling firmly in control and will listen when you give feedback about your experience in a particular workplace.

Will I be treated as an outsider as I do not know anybody?

Something that is important to know if you are considering agency nursing is that you will very quickly be adopted as one of the staff. You will not be isolated or treated differently. Nurses need each other in order to provide the best patient care in a safe and effective manner, so building relationships with other members of staff, regardless of their position, is simple. My tip is to be friendly, adaptable, and ask questions whenever you are not sure - regardless of how many you have already asked!

Whenever you get nervous just remember, VNS has built an impeccable reputation which makes the process of building relationships a piece of cake.

Can I really choose when I want to work?

The best part about agency nursing is that you get to choose when you would like to work. If you want the day off to sleep in, do some cooking, and catch up with friends you can do that. If you do not want to work the night shift, then guess what? You don’t have to! But if you would like to pick up a Saturday night shift because you want to take advantage of penalty rates, there is likely a shift with your name on it.

The key to obtaining the shifts that suit you, your lifestyle, and your skillset is to update your availability on the VNS app or simply call the friendly allocations team on 03 9898 7000. Nursing agencies like VNS are your best friend. They want to make sure you feel supported in every facility you get assigned and are financially rewarded in a timely manner for the hard work you do.

Picking up last-minute shifts is new to me. How much notice will I get and how does the process work?

Nursing agencies like VNS may be notified of a shift vacancy within a few hours of shift commencement. Whilst in other situations, they may be given access to block shifts, so nurses and midwives are able to pick up multiple shifts at the same location weeks in advance.

If I liked working at a particular facility, can I request to work there more often?

Yes! The VNS allocations team wants to help you enjoy every shift you work so chatting with a friendly member of staff is a great first step.

It can take some time though to build up a good rapport with the agency and the facility. It’s recommended that most new agency staff members work the “not so popular shift” like night shifts and weekends to show to both the facilities and to VNS that you are hardworking, proactive, and adaptable.

Do shift cancellations occur?

As quickly as shifts appear, they, unfortunately, can disappear too. When this happens it’s usually out of your control and that of the agency, but it’s not something to stress over. VNS knows how incredibly frustrating shift cancellations can be and will work tirelessly with you to obtain another shift somewhere else on the same day. Being contactable during this time whilst also being flexible in accepting a different shift is key here.

Is the pay really that good as an agency nurse?

As a VNS agency nurse the pay is likely a lot more per hour than what you were receiving during your graduate year and there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, you are financially rewarded for accepting shifts with little to no notice. Secondly, you are also rewarded for working in facilities you may have never been to before with people you have never met.

Whilst you don’t receive sick pay or annual leave when working for a nursing agency, the extra pay per hour can offset this with some clever budgeting (VNS has great resources who can support you here too!).

What else can agency nursing offer me?

The other cool part about agency nursing is that you get to experience different aspects of nursing and midwifery before you potentially apply for a full-time gig or to complete further study in one particular place. For the registered nurses who are also midwives, you can mix up your day-to-day routine as well. If you want to pick up a nursing shift one day and a midwifery shift the next, agency nursing allows you to do this.

In summary, if you’re asking yourself what’s next in your nursing career, consider agency nursing with VNS. The experience and confidence you will obtain by moving between facilities cannot be understated. It will help you work out which facilities and environments you like and this can help shape the direction your nursing will go in the future. VNS wants to see you thrive and succeed throughout your career, so give them a call today so you can get started!

Best of luck.

Emma Smith

Registered Nurse