Working as an agency nurse can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be challenging. As you move about between different organisations and departments, you need to constantly adapt to new environments, learn new processes and work to fit in with existing teams.
There are some little things you can do to set yourself up for success and make sure you’re first in line to get picked for new shifts. Here are MSI’s top tips for agency nursing success:
MSI Recruitment work to NHS Framework standards, so we have a very thorough compliance process (in fact, we scored 100% for compliance in a recent audit). Compliance can feel like a slog sometimes, but it does mean that we get the pick of shifts from a wide range of hospitals.
To keep the process as smooth and easy as possible, we recommend you create a physical or electronic file to store all of the material you’re likely to need.
Registration and revalidation documents
Training and DBS certificates
CPD documents and your Personal Development Plan
Keeping all of the relevant documentation together in one place means that we can keep you compliant and working.
One of the key benefits of working as an agency nurse is the ability to work when and where you like, but you need to make sure your consultant is aware of your preferences before they try to book you on to shifts. It’s also vital to keep them updated about your availability and any changes in your circumstances, as well as letting them know if you’re running late or unable to complete a shift for any reason.
If you’re not happy working in a particular hospital or department or you feel there are ways in which we can improve our service to you, please let us know. Effective communication means we can keep our relationships with both our agency nurses and our clients running as smoothly as possible and can get you placed in as many agency nursing jobs as possible.
If you are happy with the service you’re getting from MSI, why not tell your friends or colleagues who are interested in agency work? For every healthcare professional you refer to us, you could earn £200 as a thank you.
Agency nurses tend to be brought in when a ward is short-staffed, so you’ll need to get up and running as quickly as possible. Being prepared on the day, and having all your equipment, pens, pin number, ID badge etc ready, will make sure you are set to hit the ground running when you start your shift. If you are given any instructions or documents by your consultant to prepare you, please make sure you read them before your shift starts.
If it’s your first shift in a new location, you should get an induction, so you know the layout of the unit. If you’re not automatically given one, don’t be afraid to ask – it shows that you are serious about your role. Similarly, make sure you get a proper handover when you start your shift so you know what you’re doing.
There can sometimes be a bit of a divide between salaried staff and agency nurses, but if you ask questions, document everything you do and have a friendly, open and receptive attitude, you’ll help others to feel comfortable working with you. Once the organisation sees you are hardworking and self motivated, you are much more likely to get booked repeatedly and will soon be treated as part of the team.
Agency nurses often work in locations that are under-staffed and very busy. You may find you are expected to handle tasks that you are unfamiliar with. It’s important that you don’t take these on simply to avoid seeming inexperienced or unhelpful - that can put both you and your clients in danger.
In the unusual event that you are feeling extremely unsupported or have concerns about patient care, make sure you communicate with a senior member of staff. It’s important to also let MSI know about the situation - we have a formal process to help you deal with situations in which you feel uncomfortable. Simply contact our compliance team and they will be able to help and advise.
Interested in working with MSI?
If you’re tempted by the idea of becoming an independent nurse and choosing when and where you work, or if you’d simply like to work a few more shifts and pick up some extra income, MSI Recruitment can help.