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To join a "premium nursing agency"?

(38 Posts)
Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 13:21:36

30 years in the NHS as a qualified nurse, reams of experience considered by my colleagues to be "exceptionally knowledgeable, hard working and an outstanding team player" but due to the lack of one qualification am stuck on a band 5 (approx £28k pa), we are all treated like crap by our management, no funding for any study leave, our dept is endlessly being critisced by the management despite being highest rated dept in the hospital for "patient satisfaction" this isn't good enough, tired of working "long days" 12 3/4 hours usually with no break 12/13 times a month, working completely ridiculous shift patterns, not having my shift request granted, not having my annual leave requests granted (I don't actually won't two weeks at the end of November I wanted two weeks in October when my DS was here), paying to park my car, only being allowed to park at a "subsides rate" 4 times a fortnight (I work 6 times a fortnight), no public transport where I live so parking costs me £10 on the other two days, I could go on. So I'm seriously thinking of joining a "premium agency" and if it works chucking in the NHS completely. They pay 2 1\2 times what I earn now, and pay travelling costs, parking cost. If I solely worked for them just 6 shifts a month I would earn significantly more that I do now and have no hassle (I've done agency before and love it). To me its a no brainer but my good friend is being sniffy about it she thinks Im behaving "immorally" because the premium agencies are making a stinking profit out of the NHS's self inflicted staffing crisis!

nancyblackett80 Wed 05-Oct-16 13:27:49

YANBU its easy to be sniffy if you're not experiencing something 1st hand.

Don't give your friend headspace but do tell your management why you're leaving.

MakeMyWineADouble Wed 05-Oct-16 13:30:37

Agree if I was organised and good enough to budget for pension and leave ect I would be outta here. Only thing to keeep in mind is a few trusts by me have capped agency pay so it's not much better than bank now

LetsJunglyJumpToIt Wed 05-Oct-16 13:37:27

How much agency work can you get? So many hospitals are clamping down on it because it costs too much. But no I don't blame you OP.

x2boys Wed 05-Oct-16 13:43:18

go for it i was a band five nurse for Nearly 20 years everything you describe sounds familiar i,m not nursing now as i care for my child whs has disabillities but there is no way i could ever go back to the NHS, It isnt what it used to be and its getting worse

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 13:44:19

We only employ premium at the last minute, and despite intermittently saying we won't be using them ever again the reality is that staffing is at such a crisis point we use them at least 3 times a week. I do a speciality (where staffing is now beyond crisis point) and we have three hospitals within commuting distance (if Im being paid,to travel) who employ premium agencies all the time. You can opt to pay into a pension scheme.
I did just agency (not premium) for a year a few years ago when my DM was unwell, I thoroughly enjoyed it, you choose when you go to work, no work politics, if you don't get a break then you are paid accordingly, if you don't like somewhere you refuse to go back. It was easy.

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 13:52:32

Letsjungly the NHS is currently experiencing a massive staffing crisis,
I red in the nursing press that last Jan there were 25000 yes that's 25 000 nursing vacancies across the NHS. Many who've paid continuously for 30+ years into the original generous but now deduct pension scheme are running for the hills as soon as they can, others are looking for alternatives to working in the acute sector, where I work, the recent added complexity of renewing our registration every year is also encouraging many older nurses to chuck in the towel, finally a decline in the birth rate 18-20 years ago mean that less are coming in at the bottom.
All this was predicted of course but the NHS as always buried its head in the sand.

EllenDegenerate Wed 05-Oct-16 13:54:20


I haven't worked for the NHS for five years although I don't work for an agency, but a large private company.

I would not go back to working in the NHS.

I'd do post grad quals in another avenue before that.

The hills are that way >>>>>>>

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 13:58:36

Ellen I have to say the hills are looking bloody good just submitting my application putting on my running shoes now. grin
I believe passionately in the NHS and when my job is good it's the best in the world but I'm increasingly worn out both physically and mentally.

EllenDegenerate Wed 05-Oct-16 14:00:36

If you don't mind I'm going to PM you with some ideas which may suit your moral compass a little more than agency work, and also prove a little more lucrative than the NHS. smile

Softkitty2 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:09:19

I work for the NHS and my colleagues and I constany discuss agency rates-- they are laughing their way to the bank and there is nothing wrong with trying to make money for yourself; why should it be considered immoral?

Also, in my particular area whenever we have agency staff (which is all the time) they are never given the 'difficult/complex' patients, so they are essentially getting paid a lot of money for less responsibilities.

Lastly, when people say 'you don't go into nursing to make money' actually like everyone else, we have mortgage and bills to pay and our wages does not reflect rising cost of living.

No incentive to be in the public sector anymore.

taytopotato Wed 05-Oct-16 14:13:17

Ellen, would you please pm me as well as I'm in the same crossroads!

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Wed 05-Oct-16 14:14:35

Not unreasonable at all.

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 14:20:06

Soft we don't give our agency staff difficult/complex patients either (that's what I specialise in so would miss that) although we do expect a bit more of the premium agency staff as they're being paid so much more than us.
Your also right in that I do have bills mortgages and an expensive hobby I would like the money and just as importantly the time to indulge in.
We've not had a proper pay increase for God knows how long, those not on the top bands have received nothing I think mine was about £250 last year, I dont see this getting any better with the governments plans to keep on increasing the minimum wage, with so many NHS staff are on the minimum wage there will be no money left to increase the wages for the rest of us. In contrast the premium agency I'm looking at joining have according to a friend who works for them just put their pay rates up again,

PikachuSayBoo Wed 05-Oct-16 14:23:37

It's ok until you have an accident/chronic illness and can't work for months in end. As happened to a friend of mine. So you need savings in my opinion.

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 14:35:30

Yes that's true, a friend has taken out sickness insurance to cover this don't know how much it costs definitely something to think about.
On the other hand many in the private sector don't have sick pay like NHS staff rhyme just accept it.

ragz134 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:43:17

I'm in my first week of student nurse training, the biggest worry I have about my chosen career is ending up in your situation. I have a lot of career goals, but most are dependent on undertaking further training once I have a few years experience, and I know this won't be as easy as it sounds as opportunities aren't always available. I have seen many nurses desperate to get out of the NHS chaos, it's a really worrying time to join!

Softkitty2 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:44:48

I am still very 'young' in my career and need the benefits of mat leave etc, also building up on my qualifications. The only reason i havent jumped ship is because i work in a great dept. In a very niche area which i waited patiently for. I have a good manager and every year i have been put on modules with university credits so CPD is quite good.

However, a newly qualified practitioner who i used to work with jumped ship and moved down the road to a private hospital and earns £6k more than me. But the shifts were so erratic and sometimes they were forced to take annual leave.

Its a big decision definitely because the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Also like another poster said, you have to consider sick pay, pension etc.

I also heard its so hard to get rid of people in the nhs 😜

taytopotato Wed 05-Oct-16 14:51:00

OP, why not reduce your NHS working hours down to a minimum and then work for an agency or another job a way out of the NHS?

My area of work has managed not to rely on agency too much because the management recently recruited a lot of on Spanish, Portugese and Italian nurses - a very young and productive workforce (using less of sick leave, maternity leave). However, most of them are thinking of leaving the UK because of Brexit. I can only see staffing crisis (again!) when this happens.

Softkitty2 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:53:50

ragz134 whenever I have students i tell them to have a feel of the areas they do their placements in and guage whether they like it or not, so that when you qualify you can try and avoid those departments/area because the last thing you want is to be moving wards every 6 months because you dont like it. You also dont want to feel like crying everytime you go to work because you feel miserable. You have time to think what kind of nursing you want to do.

Nursing is definitely getting harder because of the lack of resources and staff shortage. But if you choose wisely its very rewarding and there is career progression.

JellyBelli Wed 05-Oct-16 14:55:15

YADNBU. Its a crying shame but the Govt has created a crisis, probably to prepare the way to abolish the NHS. Its evil, but you didnt make it happen. Look out for yourself, you've done your bit.

taytopotato Wed 05-Oct-16 14:56:16

I also heard its so hard to get rid of people in the nhs

That is not necessarily true.

- I have seen people put on performance management then capability dismissal
- also know few nurses who have been referred to the NMC

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 15:02:18

We too have employed Italians Spanish Portuguese Croatians Indians and Romanians many leave even before their contracted time is up and return to their own country many are good but others often don't want to do the hands on stuff delegating that to HCA's etc but in my area we don't employ many of those, trained staff do most of the hands on care as well so we struggle to keep them we employed 6 Italians two years go we've only got 1 left.
My current thoughts are to reduce my hours to part time but because I do a speciality which is quite technical our management have said that we have to do a minimum of 24 hours a week to keep our practice up to date other areas in the hospital seem happy for staff to do less 15-17 hours a week.

Gallopingourmet Wed 05-Oct-16 15:06:35

Soft re career progression unfortunately because I lack one qualification I'm stuck on top band 5, when I was taken on the trust was going to fund the training for the missing qualification but it would cost £40 000+ to do it and I would be off the ward for 12 months full time and six months part time. So they quickly back peddled on that idea.

ragz134 Wed 05-Oct-16 15:07:30

Softkitty, thank you so much. I was beginning to have a huge 'oh my god what am I doing?' moment! I already known I don't want to work on wards in the long term, my goals include doing Advanced Practice training, working in primary care/prisons/minor injuries. But a lot of that depends on access to further training and getting a job once qualified that will enable me to do that extra training. It's a lot of what its, with a huge risk of being stuck in an awful environment with frustrated and burned out nurses! But I really don't want to do anything else...

Good luck OP, I hope you find a nursing role that you can feel content and fulfilled in.

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