Being able to do agency work and take on extra nursing shifts is great. Earning extra money to add to your savings or put towards your next holiday is always a bonus.
With the recent nursing shortages across the country, agency nurses are high in demand. However, as an agency nurse you aren’t always able to accept every nursing shift offered to you, and you shouldn’t. You need to choose the right nursing shifts for you dependent on specific criteria.
Here are some of the main points to consider when offered your nursing shifts:
As an agency nurse there is a potential that you may be given a nursing shift outside of your area. Maybe decline nursing shifts in areas that you think are too far for you to travel, unless you are helping the agency or client out of a difficult situation. Firstly consider the cost of your travel, this needs to be worthwhile for you to accept the shift. You may also struggle to get to the shift on time if you have a long way to travel. You should provide your agency a list of areas or locations that you are happy to accept shifts in, so they are aware beforehand whether they should approach you with certain shifts or contracts.
Nursing Shifts Rate of Pay
Establish which rates of pay you are willing to accept in order to take on a nursing shift. You must be fairly paid for the work you do, although many end clients now stipulate the pay rates for nurses, leaving no room for negotiation. Make sure the nursing agency confirm the rates of pay, as rates vary according to the shift and area you are working in.
Rates are usually higher when your shift falls on a weekend, a night and a holiday. Moreover, the rate will also be higher if you are assigned to specialised units or in Central London for example.
Some nurses are more comfortable or only available to work a specific shift, such as day shifts within the week, or only nights. Let your agency know what your preferred shift or work availability is so they offer you shifts which fit in with your schedule. Likewise, update your agency if your schedule changes – maybe you are going on holiday, or if you have more availability and would like to pick up additional shifts.
Unit or Area
Just as with shifts, some nurses only want to work within a certain unit or area of nursing. Your agency will be aware of your field of expertise, however if you only want to work as an agency nurse in a certain area or environment, like nursing homes, let the agency know your preference.
Length of Shift or Assignment
Some nurses are available only for single shifts at a time, however some nurses prefer assignments or contracts which cover longer periods of time. This allows these nurses an opportunity to organise their schedules as well as receive a steadier stream of income for a defined period of time. If you are available for longer term contracts or assignments, let your agency know so they are aware to offer you these contracts first.
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