So you’ve gone through the onboarding process with the Victorian Nursing Specialist (VNS) agency and now you’re wondering how you can truly thrive as an agency nurse or midwife. Great question! Picking up as many shifts as you can is a common goal for new starters but there is so much more VNS can offer you like networking, skill development, and continued professional development (CPD) opportunities. VNS wants to see you excel as an agency nurse and be truly happy when coming to work. So read on to see how you can get the most from working with a nursing agency like VNS.
Keep Your Availability Updated
When refreshing your availability, it’s best practice to amend it at least weekly. But if anything was to change within this time, we suggest you let the team know either via the MyVNS app or simply by calling the allocations team. Staff who have requested to work over those who didn't will be prioritised by the allocations team. Make it a habit to refresh your availability to ensure you have first dibs on upcoming shifts!
Though it may feel excessive to constantly document and discuss your availability, it significantly improves your chances of securing work in the hospitals and facilities you enjoy working in. It also allows VNS to find out whether you would be interested in less common but exciting work opportunities that pop up from time to time.
Get To Know The VNS Allocations Team
They are a friendly, proactive team who is in charge of assigning the right staff member to the right shift - and this includes you! Be honest with them regarding not only your availability but also your preferences, skill set, and current studies. If you happen to be taking a course or completing further postgraduate education this can lead to obtaining alternative, exciting shifts in the future which require these newly learned skills.
Work Within Both Public and Private Sectors
Though you may find that private hospitals pay more per hour, try not to limit yourself by only agreeing to work these shifts. You’re essentially halving your chances of securing work and consequently the overall financial reward.
Being open to all shift types within both sectors can also lead to more block bookings. This is where you can secure multiple days to work in the same facility. This type of pre-booking arrangement can significantly reduce the anxiety of constantly having to find your feet in a new facility whilst also allowing you to plan your other commitments around work.
Be Open to All Shift Types
Do you like working the night shift? What about weekends? Putting your hand up to work a variety of shifts, even the not-so-popular ones can be extremely beneficial to you financially. Putting aside the financial gains, you may be given more opportunity to build relationships with senior members of staff such as the Assistant Nurse Unit Manager (ANUM) as the environment may be a little more relaxed.
This may not only lead to lifelong friendships but also allows these senior nurses to get to know you and your capabilities on a deeper level. Once particular facilities/wards develop a clearer understanding of who you are they may start to personally request you by name to fill their future shifts. As an agency nurse myself - this is what I strive for!
Be Willing to Travel
How long are you willing to travel for a shift? Accepting shifts a little further away than what you are used to, particularly in the beginning, can help you secure more work, ultimately leading to more dollars in your pocket. Though VNS are not asking you to travel hours upon hours to a shift, it’s worth having a chat with the allocations team about what is a reasonable distance to travel. Would the commute be easier if it was a night shift or even a morning shift on a Sunday and there was less traffic on the roads?
VNS wants to support you in obtaining the shifts that suit you and your other commitments. Being transparent about your mode of transport and why travel may be challenging at particular times of day is useful information and can help the team find shifts that align with you and your current lifestyle.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
It’s worth making contact with VNS from time to time about any upcoming courses or new educational opportunities on offer. These can not only contribute to your continued professional development (CPD) hours required for renewal of your registration annually but they can also grow and develop your nursing career leading to more advanced shifts in the future.
In summary, agency nursing is good fun! It allows you to choose when you want to work to align with your other responsibilities, commitments, and lifestyle. But in order to truly get the most out of working with a nursing agency you need to update your availability regularly, be honest with the allocations team about your preferences and ability to travel, and be willing to work night shifts, weekends, and public holidays.
VNS are keen to see you flourish and is excited you’re looking at ways to improve your chances of securing work. Don’t be a stranger and give them a call today on 03 9898 7000.