A nursing agency, also known as a nurse registry, is a type of business that helps nurses find hospitals and other care facilities that are in need of health care professionals. Nurses can use the agency to help find them a wide variety of work on a temporary basis, be it short or long term. Often when hospitals find themselves short staffed and in need of help during busy times (especially around the holidays), they will contact the agency and have them send out a nurse with the correct qualifications. Basically, a nurse agency is like a staffing agency dedicated to working with nurses in the health care field. The agency can have jobs that are available for the day as well as longer-term opportunities and some even have temp to hire positions as well, but this is not always common. Technically you work for the agency and will be paid through the agency itself, never through the facility.
Working through a nursing agency can be advantageous for many reasons. If you are the type of nurse who gets bored quickly when always doing the same thing or if you are looking to widen your skill set, working with an agency is perfect. You’ll have the opportunity to go to many different sites and work under all different circumstances, with different equipment and people. You will also constantly be learning new procedures that you may otherwise never have been exposed to. Other benefits include excellent hourly rates (often even better than full-time employee nurses at the same facility), flexibility in hours and schedule, constant educational development and sometimes even paid training.
If you have been considering a job in the health care industry but don’t want to fully commit until you know you like it, trying out an agency is great way to get your feet wet. In some cases you can even start to work in homecare and community care, which requires no specific qualifications. You can try out being a part-time or full time caregiver and decided if the field is right for you. Just contact a nursing agency and get started. Once you decide that you like the field you can get certified and even choose to work in the specialty of your choice.
Many nurses that are already registered and licensed working in the field become specialized in an area they really love. This allows them to not only work in a more satisfying position but to earn more money as well. Sometime it’s hard for nurses to know just what they want to specialize in. Often a specialty will sound good but once you start actually doing it you find it might not have been what you expected. Using a nursing agency is a great way to try out something new – knowing that it isn’t will give you the freedom to find out if you truly enjoy the work. You might instantly find your passion, or it may take months, but all the while you’ll be gaining experience and knowledge and earning a paycheck.
The jobs that are available through an agency are as vast as the nursing field. Certain jobs offered would require certain certificates and levels of education but if you meet the requirements you could do almost any job in nursing you want. The only jobs that are usually not offered through an agency are director positions, and with good reason. To direct an entire facility you really need to be there long term and understand the facility inside and out
Some nurses work only with agencies and will sign contracts that allow them to have benefits such as paid vacations and paid time off. Choosing to work solely with one agency is much like being a full time employee of any company, but without the monotony that generally comes with it.