To consider giving up my full time job to be an agency nurse?

(83 Posts)
TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 14:32:34

I currently work full time, 6 days a week and it's killing me. I miss out on a lot of social events, work a lot of weekends, as working all of the Christmas bank holidays - I just hate it.
Anyway I've just registered with an agency and found that they are offering shifts to suit with much better pay. I could drop down to 30 hours a week and still bring home £200 more a month than I currently do! Plus I could choose my own weekends and holidays.

Obviously only snag is it isn't guaranteed work but bloke in phone said it's more less a given that if get at least 30 hours a week.

I'm so tempted. DH works full time and we could get by short on his wage if it all went tits up and I could get another nursing job quite easily if I wasn't picky (worst case scenario).

TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 14:34:06

Plus I could remain on the bank for my current employer as well as register for the bank with another trust and sign up to a couple of agencies to maximise potential

DamsonGinIsMyThing Thu 24-Nov-16 14:34:17

Nurse I know does it and is quite happy. There's a lot of nursing home placements.

TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 14:40:51

Really? See id only need to work 2 and a half shifts a week to bring home more than I do now working 6. I'm exhausted. Manager is unsupportive and won't let me drop my hours. If I chose weekend shifts I'd need to work even less hours

watchingitallagain Thu 24-Nov-16 14:47:08

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. I suppose you'd have to be good at working in different environments all the time? I'd like that!

TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 14:48:46

I currently bring one arund £1500 after tax. Just worked out if I worked 31 hours a week with this agency and two short Saturday shifts a month I'd bring home over £1900 after tax!! It's a huge difference both in terms of hours and pay.
Even if I just did it for a year I could save up a fortune, get stuff paid off etc just to release the pressure a bit

lilydaisyrose Thu 24-Nov-16 14:50:04

I know so many nurses who have done this and it works really well for them. I guess the only sticking point is if you need a permanent FT contract for a mortgage/remortgage or other reason?

AnaVanda Thu 24-Nov-16 14:50:53

I've done agency work several years ago. It's a great way to experience different work environments so if in future you decide you want a regular job, you'll know what suits you. I'd say go for it.

BuggerOffDailyMirror Thu 24-Nov-16 14:53:03

Are you NHS?

I've done both, nursing roles in the NHS and agency and there's a couple of things about agency life you need to be aware of.

You'll be on a zero hours contract. That means no sick pay at all so if you break something or hurt your back (common for nurses as you know) you're screwed.

Same goes for holidays, you won't get holiday pay so need to take into account that if you don't work the shift, you don't get paid.

Although they make out its all really flexible, if you refuse shifts you stop being offered them. This is true of every agency I've ever worked in. I started off doing 2 12 hour nights (8-8) a week but then the nursing home I was working in decided they liked me and kept requesting me. I ended up doing 6 nights (72 hours!!) and then the next week refused and said I'd only do a maximum of 4 (48 hours). Low and behold, I was only offered 1 the week after that and the week after that it dried up completely. I ended up swapping agencies.

Remember they can stop giving you shifts for absolutely no reason at any time without warning. You have no protection at all in your contract and they are under no obligation to provide you with work.

No pension or benefits, NHS pension is one of the best public sector deals there is. Be VERY sure before you give that up.

Having said all that, I was only very very young when I started doing agency work and I loved that I could fit it around my life. For someone with kids, a mortgage/ rent and responsibility though I'm not so sure. You know your situation though smile

Pseudonym99 Thu 24-Nov-16 14:53:46

Holiday pay? Sick pay? Pension? Death in service benefit? Ability to switch between NHS employers without losing accumulated length of service? You need to look at the big picture before making a decision. The reason it is more pay is because you don't get these other things which don't appear on the bottom of your current wage slip. But if it suits go for it.

BuggerOffDailyMirror Thu 24-Nov-16 14:55:20

Oh also, on zero hours contracts you won't be able to apply for a mortgage, get credit or even some loans. WHen DP and I got our mortgage we had to have his zero hours contract changed so he showed he was working at least 6 hours a week, something to be aware of.

LagunaBubbles Thu 24-Nov-16 14:56:14

I wouldnt but thats just because its not guaranteed. I think some agencies do pay holiday pay though.

TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 14:56:26

Yeah the only downside is that I won't be classed as working full time if I apply for credit but tonne honest, I'm very unlikely to want credit anyway. We already have a mortgage, don't intend to remortgage and DH gets accepted for any credit he applies for anyway, with or without me.

Another reason I think it might suit is that I'm naturally anti social and struggle when things start getting 'clique'. If I never really "belonged" anywhere I can't see this being so much of a problem.

Only issue is getting DH to agree to it (although I'm tempted to just do it and hope he doesn't notice!!).

Do you reckon I'd find enough work?

FeedMyFaceWithJaffaCakes Thu 24-Nov-16 14:57:35

Watching this with interest.

ElspethFlashman Thu 24-Nov-16 14:59:32

I did it for ages.

Pro:
you can set your own days/take time off/keep days free without any issue and at short notice. No stress, no meetings.

You get to see a wide variety of settings and learn a lot.

No political bullshit. You don't have to care what a cow the manager is. Very liberating.

Cons:
Not being guaranteed work. Less problematic if you work in different sites, but I worked in one huge hospital and occasionally still didn't get full hours to my suprise. They call bank first.

No camaderie in the staff room for breaks. Always being the new face and repeating the same small talk about what it's like in agency ad nauseum. Some of the banter going over your head.

Having a lot of "first days" where you don't know where anything is kept or what their habits are e.g. this consultant likes you to do X but not Y. You have to be very confident to ask questions when everyone is mad busy and don't have time to help you.

So it takes a certain personality type who can just go in, ask questions and work away. But if you're prone to loneliness it's not for you as it's hard to make friends.

But if it suits, it's great and I'd do it again!

user1479997664 Thu 24-Nov-16 14:59:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

FiveGoMadInDorset Thu 24-Nov-16 14:59:54

NHS trusts are cutting down on the amount of agency they use, the trust I was working for was really pushing for bank nurses rather than agency. There has been a cap put on on the hourly rate that an agency can charge for agency nurses

BuggerOffDailyMirror Thu 24-Nov-16 14:59:55

how many shifts you get depends entirely on your area/ agency. The other issue is if the agency themselves lose a contract with a nursing home, all those shifts dry up. It's a bloody nightmare when that happens because you then have the same amount of people scrabbling around for much fewer shifts. This happened twice while I was on one agency because they kept being undercut sad

You can combine it with NHS bank work though. You have to have special coverage to work for the NHS from an agency which you have to pay for yourself, so if you want to work in hospitals as well as homes the best way is to register on the bank as well.

FarAwayHills Thu 24-Nov-16 15:00:45

Sounds tempting as a short term solution but as PPs have said you also need to consider the financial benefits and security of having a permanent contract plus the pension, sick pay etc.

DementedUnicorn Thu 24-Nov-16 15:02:28

I would be careful- we use a lot of agency and they do get a lot of work from us but some of our regulars are really struggling this month as our own staff are all working round the clock for extra money for Christmas leaving the agency with very little. Also a huge amount of the shifts that we need are evenings and weekends

helpimitchy Thu 24-Nov-16 15:04:26

I was on the nursing agency for ten years and loved it. If you want to be more certain of work, then you can always join two.

I'm not getting on with my employer at the moment and am cutting my hours, so will most likely join an agency in the new year. There's far less hassle, better pay and, if you don't like it somewhere, you don't have to go back.

TheWorldIsMine Thu 24-Nov-16 15:05:38

I'm not currently in the pension anyway. I was bringing home less than £1500 a month and £120 was going out in pension costs. I just couldn't afford it.

I also want to register with the NHS bank, I used to work for them as a care assistant so shouldn't be too difficult to get back on as a registered nurse

Pseudonym99 Thu 24-Nov-16 15:19:55

I'm not currently in the pension anyway

In which case perhaps you had better seek independent professional advice. If you're daft enough not to be in the pension how can you trust yourself to be making the correct financial decision?

Imagine one of your patients going against your advice as a nurse. You'd be horrified. It is the same with financial advice.

MontePulciana Thu 24-Nov-16 15:21:50

Nhs professionals provide holiday and pension. You select shifts online and just show up. First come, first served.

Pseudonym99 Thu 24-Nov-16 15:22:37

You do realise that for every £1.00 you pay into the pension, the taxman pays in 20p, plus your employer pays in however much they pay in as well?

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