Taking the career path of an agency nurse allows you to control and organise your time just how you like. There are no minimum or maximum hours and you get to choose the hours you want to work. The flexibility and freedom of this type of nursing is what attracts so many nurses to agency life.
As an agency nurse, DO…
It’s extremely important to always keep your agency up-to-date with your availability By keeping your agency aware of your availability, they’ll be able to find work projects that suit your needs and preferences. If you don’t stay on top of your availability, you put yourself at risk of missing out on the shifts and projects that suit you.
It goes without saying to always give 100% when on shift – for both yours and your patients’ benefits. You can guarantee that the harder you work, the more shifts will come available to you, so putting in the utmost effort pays off – literally. If you can demonstrate your work ethic to your desired hospital, department, or ward, there is a higher chance of them requesting your services in the future.
Always arrive on time for your shifts. It shows your commitment and sense of responsibility, which can also lead to further work. We know sometimes unexpected problems – like traffic and delays on public transport – can occur, but if you are running late, it’s best to phone and let your point of call aware.
Being flexible as an agency nurse is key when it comes to picking up shifts and extra hours. Whether it’s about being flexible with location or with time of day, it’s always good to have an element of give and take with your work. Being adaptable to different working environments and processes is essential, as every working day is different.
The most important part of being an agency nurse is that you enjoy your work. Spending time with your patients, getting to know them, and reaping the benefits of your role will pay dividends on this career path.
As an agency nurse, DON’T…
Cancel your shifts
Never cancel your shifts late. Finding cover for nursing positions is actually quite tricky, and leaving your ward or colleagues short-handed won’t leave you in the good books when it comes to the staff room.
If you do need to cancel a shift, try and do so with enough notice that your team has enough time to find cover.
Use your phone on the job
Using your mobile phone on shift is strictly a no-no. Scrolling through the latest videos of cute puppies and being distracted by messages will take time away from your patients and demonstrate that you aren’t dedicated to your job. It’s also difficult to be present when you’re constantly glancing at your phone. Keep you eyes and your mind on the job at hand.
Being on your phone during your shift won’t put you in good favour with other staff on the ward either, as they’ll think that you’re not interested in working hard as part of a the team.
Don’t leave your ward without informing the nurse in charge. It is important that those in charge know of your whereabouts in case of emergencies. It’s always good to get into the habit of notifying your ward leader of where you’ll be, and doing a full handover at the end of your shift or if
you’ll be absent for an extended period of time.