Choosing the right nursing agency for you

Whether you’re about to graduate, or a seasoned professional, at some point in your nursing career you’ll consider the help of a nursing recruitment agency. Whether it’s to find the perfect role you’ve been striving for, to simply switch jobs, to take up casual nursing, or just to get an edge in the job hunt.

At the moment in New South Wales, there’s a huge demand for nurses and midwives. And it shows no signs of abating just yet. So, then, if jobs are a-plenty, why does it make sense to choose a nursing agency, and what benefits does an agency offer?

The benefits of using a nursing agency

There are many benefits to finding a nursing job through an agency. First and foremost, agency professionals will have extensive experience to share with you, offering focused, industry-related guidance and support during the recruitment process – from submitting your initial details to ensuring your CV is top notch. While you might think you may have already perfected the job application process, working with industry specialists means that you’ll get objective feedback on your CV, and practical advice to ensure that you write applications that will not only get you noticed, but showcase your particular strengths and abilities, so that you put your best foot forward every time you apply for a role.

A recruitment agency will also be proactive in searching for roles that perfectly suit your qualifications, desired job role, desired place of work as well as any other specifics you need to consider. When you sign with an agency you can, in many respects, tailor-make your ideal job, and know that the agency professionals will work on your behalf to find the right role for you, because it’s an agency’s responsibility to find the ‘right fit’ for every setting  – it’s what they do best.

Another good reason to use a nursing agency, is their ‘inside knowledge’. Nursing agencies network extensively and collaborate with a range of healthcare providers. This essentially means that many jobs are often passed onto recruitment agencies before they are posted (if they are posted at all) on traditional employment web sites.

Ultimately, this puts you in the box seat. You will have less competition for the role, and a greater chance of getting an interview and securing the role.  Once you have, the agency will help you to negotiate salary and other details within your contract.

Casual nursing with an agency

Because nurses are in high demand, there is a vital role for casual nurses. Usually, it’s when nurses decide they might like to try casual nursing that they sign with an agency.  The benefits of doing so are not dissimilar to finding a permanent role, as discussed earlier, but for casual nurses, there are significant other bonuses too. For example, when you work as a casual nurse through a nursing agency, generally rates of pay are higher than those of employee nurses (to compensate for the fact that shifts can come without real warning, or be cancelled at the last minute). You’re also presented with a range of options, and you can pick and choose when and where you work. If you’ve put in some long and stressful shifts, you can elect to take some time off, without the need to clear it with the employer or organise someone to cover your next shift – the agency will do this for you.

Because of this, casual nursing offers freedom and flexibility and it is also highly rewarding. Many nurses say that it enables them to simply focus on patient care and really enjoy all the reasons they entered the profession in the first place without getting bogged down in workplace cultural issues and politics. In many ways you’re a free agent, you turn up, work, and then leave the stresses behind.

Of course, the other benefit is that you’ll be exposed to a variety of different experiences, all of which strengthen your knowledge and confidence and can be a great way to explore aspects of the profession you’re interested in, such as midwifery, emergency, or aged care, before actually committing to extra study and entering the field.

Parents needing work/family balance, young nurses keen on having exposure to a range and variety of experiences, nurses wanting to combine work with travel, nurses undertaking extra study, and even nurses close to retirement age, who are wanting to ‘slow down’ a little, all benefit from casual agency nursing.

Choosing the right nursing agency for you.

Not all nursing agencies are the same. So, what should you look for when selecting the right nursing agency for you?

Look for an agency that will provide you with comprehensive support – initially as you get set up, and then on an ongoing basis, so that you don’t ever feel like you’re getting isolated. Choose an agency that is dedicated and in-tune with your aspirations and goals, and which takes the initiative in connecting you with potential roles and opportunities which match your skills and may be of interest. You’ll also want to find an agency with streamlined recruitment processes and one which   communicates with you at every step of the way.

Agencies that offer you access to other resources such as ongoing training and the latest news and information in health and patient care should also be highly regarded, along with those which offer ways for you to connect professionally with other medical professionals through networking opportunities and industry events.

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