No matter where in the world you practise, agency nursing can be hard work. When it comes to agencies a lot of nurses join alongside their current role to earn a little extra money for a rainy day. But what about when you want to take on agency nursing full time? The flexibility to work when you want and freedom to have time off whenever you feel like it, sounds perfect doesn’t it? So why aren’t nursing doing it? Well, with set contract of actually getting work nurses often feel a lack of security. But, for the last 8 years, Bluestones Medical has been working with many full-time agency nurses!
Speaking with our candidates although sometimes it has been a struggle the perks have astronomically outweighed the worries, for them anyway.
- Earn up to £48.79 per hour
- You can choose your hours
- Take holidays when you want
- Only have to work what and when you want
- Access free CPD training
- £200 Joining bonus for all nursing & ODP candidates*
- Refund of your DBS cost*
- Dedicated consultant
- Many clients have free parking
- Free uniform
- Weekly pay
Whilst agency nursing has been amazing for them there are a few strategies they would like to share with you that they have adopted when it comes to securing shifts. These aren’t ‘rules’ per-say when it comes to getting shifts as an agency nurse and everyone’s experience is different. By using these simple tips they’ve been able to work full time as an agency nurse with Bluestones Medical!
1. Be flexible
This is probably the most important and highly employable trait for any agency nurse. Think about it, agency nurses are booked by a hospital or a facility when they are short staffed or require extra help. The hospitals pay extra for agency nurses to work. Choosing to work with Bluestones Medical you can earn up to £48.79 per hour (Umbrella). So naturally, some shifts may be booked by the agency last minute. A ward may get two nurses ring in sick at 3 am and therefore need some extra help for the day shift starting at 7 am. Or vice versa, nurses calling in sick or a patient requiring one on one care in the daytime may require help for the night shift.
If you refuse to be flexible and refuse last-minute shifts then you may struggle with agency nursing. Bluestones Medical has a good mix of advance and last minute bookings and we’ll always communicate with you as soon as we know about any shifts that come up! If you are willing and to taking on last-minute shifts then you’re going to get a lot more work than someone who isn’t. Be flexible and it will stand you in great stead for getting full-time hours. The ward will always remember that agency nurse who pulled it out the bag at 7am and saved the day!
2. Communicate with Bluestones Medical
Agency nursing across the UK is in demand. With all nursing agencies we need to know when you are free to know your availability to work. Bluestones Medical have made it as simple as possible to tell us when you are free you can use any of the following methods:
- TempBuddy App – find out more HERE
- Submit via our website https://bluestonesmedical.co.uk/availability/
- Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us on 01244 555 020
It is even more important that you need to communicate with the agency to keep your availabilities up to date. If you forget and don’t let them know you want to work, how will they know? So always keep your availability up to date!
3. Make yourself known to managers and ask for block bookings
When you are posted to a new ward as an agency nurse always introduce yourself to the team and the manager of that ward. We’ve learnt that being open and making yourself part of the team will always benefit. Managers like it when agency nurses introduce themselves and give them some insight into their experience. If you like the ward you’ve been posted to let the manager know. Ask them if they need any block bookings then you’d be happy to help. You won’t be able to book directly with them but it would prompt them to tell us or the nurse bank they wish to engage with you on a longer term basis! Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible but it’s worth asking because a lot of the hospitals do it.
4. Why take block bookings as an agency nurse?
Many Bluestones Medical nurses found that taking block bookings are awesome. You work with the same team all the time who get to know you and vice versa. Working block bookings whilst agency nursing can it feel like I had a ‘home’ and part of a ‘team’ which we understand for many is really important. It makes it easier learning how one ward works instead of ten – you can learn all their protocols and how they work because even in the same hospital the wards often work differently from one another.
5. Please answer the phone!
This may sound silly but we think this is pretty important. Yes, the phone ringing can be a scary thing especially when you’ve just started working somewhere and only know the minimum about that ward or hospital but just answer it. The permanent nurses will be so grateful if you just answer the phone and then pass on a message or find someone who can help answer the caller’s query, Honestly, this will give you huge brownie points!
6. Don’t be too fussy
These tips comes from personal experience of our agency nurses. Although block booking on wards that you enjoy is awesome sometimes it can make you a little too comfortable. After block booking on two wards, you might find yourself feeling nervous and maybe a little bit fussy when it came to taking shifts afterwards. Your brain might go into overdrive wondering what ward you’ll be on and if it’ll be nice if people will be nice etc because I’d got so comfortable working with the same people on the same wards. One piece of advice, even if you block book is don’t become opposed to going to other areas or you may risk not getting as many shifts as you’d like! It’s also worth knowing that it’s within most trust policies that ward changes will happen, Bluestones Medical will always ensure that you are working within your skills set so will never ask you to move if your putting your patients or yourself at risk but when it comes to preference it’s important to understand the flexibility that’s required.
7. Be open to working in new areas
This tip kind of ties in with the one above. Don’t be opposed to working in new areas whilst working for Bluestones Medical. If you do find yourself in an area you don’t know then just ask any questions if you’re unsure about your patient.
8. Be prepared to go where the work is
Bluestones Medical cover a wide range of hospitals across the North Wales, North West, East Cheshire, Midlands and South Wales be prepared to be flexible in where you’ll work. Some weeks one trust might have less agency shifts but another trust will have work available, even if it’s not your first choice!
9. Keep your mandatory training up to date
Whilst working as an agency nurse it is your responsibility to keep all mandatory training up to date. We will always notify you with at least a month’s notice to make you aware of upcoming deadlines and provide you the training or documentation to update. If you don’t keep your training up to date then Bluestones Medical wont be able to give you shifts.
10. Be responsive
Bluestones Medical try to give you every option of staying in touch with us, but we ask you to stay responsive with us. If we call, text, email or DM you its for an important reason. We could have a new shift to run by you, we might have block bookings to offer you, looking to update your availability and discuss exciting new opportunities with you!
So, working with Bluestones Medical should you do it? YES. One million times yes. The best part about working through us is you get to decide when you work. I don’t know about you but I don’t know many permanent nursing jobs where you can choose your hours and just take off when you like! From experience we know it is 100% possible to work full time.
- Be flexible
- Be open
- Keep up to date with your training
- Go where the work is
- Introduce yourself and make yourself known (in a good way)!
- And most important ANSWER THAT PHONE!
I hope you enjoyed these tips for getting more nursing shifts with Bluestones Medical. Agency nursing is rewarding and you will learn so much about yourself, practise and the different hospitals too! If you did enjoy this post don’t forget to share it with your friends!