Nurse Feature: The Balance You Deserve
I have been working in healthcare since 1982 and have seen a lot of changes throughout the years. I started going to school for Accounting but decided it was not what I wanted to do with my life. I then took a CNA course at the technical college not knowing even what a CNA did. I just needed a job. Little did I know it would change my life. I fell in love with taking care of people. It was my passion. After 12 years of being a CNA, I decided to go back to school to be an RN. From there doors continued to open. From RN, Nurse Manager, MDS Coordinator, ADON to DON all in Long Term Care. Then once again I veered off into uncharted territory. After 26 years in the same facility, I knew there had to be something more out there and there was! I started teaching CNA classes at the local technical college. That became my new passion. There were sporadic hours and some months I did not teach so I needed another job to compensate for the hours. I also missed the patient contact I loved. PRN Healthcare seemed like the right fit for me.
I have been with PRN Healthcare for 11 years this May, and I cannot say enough good about them. They are a great agency to work for. They allow me to schedule shifts around my teaching schedule and my personal life. If you are looking for a part-time/casual job besides what you are already doing, this is the place to come. If you are looking for full-time there are a lot of great contract opportunities for you too.
The pros of working for a staffing agency in a per diem capacity (picking up on a daily basis) are simple. You get to pick your own hours. You can work nights, days, or PMs. The preference is yours! You can work all 3 shifts depending on where you go and what you have planned for that week. I only need to pick up 4 shifts per month to keep my employment status. There are plenty of places and hours to choose from, although you do have your favorite places to go. If you are looking for something a bit more stable, try a contract (signing up to work a position at a facility). You are scheduled as they need you, but the hours are a for sure thing. I have met great nurses, CNAs, housekeepers, activity personnel, therapy staff, and management teams throughout the years. Even the schedulers at Nurse PRN are awesome. I cannot tell you how many lives I have touched throughout the years and continue to touch each day I go to work. That is the best feeling ever.
The cons of per diem you knew it was coming as with everything it always does. Sometimes you get canceled and sometimes you get canceled a lot. Facilities hire nurses to fill open slots. Your hours are never a guarantee unless you are working in a contract. Sometimes you have to adjust your week to accommodate the hours you need. I work a lot of weekends because that is where the greatest needs fall. Most cancellations occur during the regular workweek. So if you think you will get every weekend off, you may not get the hours you are looking for. Also, have a backup plan in place if you are counting on that money. I have a fund tucked away for that purpose. If I lose 3 shifts in a month, I have money sitting there to compensate for lost shifts. As you do not get unemployment when working for a staffing agency. You do not get vacation pay or sick pay either. So have a little money set aside to cover those lost wages from time to time. The upside is as one facility gets better staffed another facility is usually in dire need. There are options available. Do not get to set on staying in one facility, it will be feast or famine. If you work in a contract the facility chooses your schedule. But the perk is the hours are guaranteed.
To summarize it all depends on what you are looking for and why you want to choose a staffing agency. You have to be flexible. Know your limits on how many hours you want to work. You may be working more weekends, but you get to choose your own schedule and represent a great team. I am proud to say I am a member of the PRN Healthcare team!