“I love the freedom of being an agency nurse.”
Name: Misti Cook LPN
“It’s great to be able to pick and choose your assignments. If you don’t like working at a place that you’re sent, you can choose to never go back again.”
Professional History: Misti has a very creative approach to her nursing career that we at NursaTM find absolutely inspirational. Right off the bat, Misti began working at a full-time position, but also picked up per diem nursing jobs nearby. Our app connects nurses with these short-term assignments, and we stand behind this practice because it’s a valuable way for nurses to receive the pay they deserve for their hard work.
For several years, Misti maintained a full-time position as a nurse while picking up PRN shifts on the side whenever possible. So many nurses can relate to this scenario. You take a position, but you are making $8-$12 dollars more per hour to work for the agency, so you really want to go to the agency full-time. Worry lies in whether or not a per diem nurse will be able to find the amount of work they need to make ends meet. Misti had this dillemma run through her mind for six years of her career, until one day she decided to take the plunge and go agency full-time. It’s been more than a year now, and she has never looked back or wanted to return to a staff position.
“I don’t think I would ever take a staff position again. I work very hard no matter where I am at, so it only makes sense to be compensated well for the work that I do. Besides, I have no shortage of opportunities because everywhere I go, the managers want me to pick up as much as I can because they recognize my skills, diligence, and willingness to help my colleagues.”
Agency Nursing Style: Working as an agency nurse is all about multi-tasking and flexibility. Luckily, Misti has both in abundance. She works in a variety of settings, but mainly long-term care facilities and doctors offices. As mentioned above, transitioning to full-time agency work creates a bit of stress as the future may seem uncertain. It’s all about living in the moment. However, Misti has found an abundance of contract opportunities through the three different agencies she works for. She has always been able to work the full-time hours that she wants.
“I have been offered everything from six to 13 week assignments at the places I have been. Managers will give me the schedules and let me pick up as many open shifts as I want. Basically, my agency nursing career has never been short on fruitful opportunities in places that I wanted to be. None of my assignments have been further than an hour away from home, with most within a 20-minute drive.”
Misti’s Advice for New LPNs:
“If you’re interested in PRN nursing, I highly recommend to start working for an agency right away as you get your feet wet in the field. You need to go into agency work understanding a few things first:
- You will probably get the worst patients.
- The first day is always the worst but it gets better after that.
- You won’t know everything at first so be open to advice and ask lots of questions.
By keeping your expectations in touch with reality, you’re more likely to enjoy the agency nursing experience. It’s true what they say though, agency nursing is not for everyone. You need to be able to keep your cool and not let the stress make you frazzle out. Changes happen, quickly. It all comes down to time management, as you need to stay focused in order to get out on time.”