Regardless of whether you are just starting out in your nursing career or have years of experience under your belt, finding the right job can be a difficult undertaking.

The fact that there are so many options in the field of nursing, not only in terms of the number of specialties and environments available, but also in terms of how much you work and how many shifts you can pick up, is an incredible benefit. Full-time, part-time, or as needed (PRN) positions are available in a wide range of health-care facilities.

Aside from that, you can work with a healthcare staffing agency, which will allow you to pick up short-term contracts or shifts that are compatible with your schedule and job requirements. It is possible to pick up shifts through an agency on the side even if you are already employed full-time, in order to broaden your skills or earn more money.

It is important to consider a variety of factors before making the decision whether or not working for an agency is the best option for your situation

The Advantages of Agency Nursing

There are numerous advantages to collaborating with a nursing agency. For starters, it allows you to have greater flexibility in your schedule by allowing you to choose when and where you work, as well as which days you are off.

Pay is generous.

Per diem nurses tend to earn a higher hourly wage than traditional full-time salaried nurses because their employers are not required to provide benefits to their employees in this situation.

If you find yourself in a financial bind, most nursing agencies offer quick pay options, which means that you can get paid immediately or within hours of finishing a shift, depending on the circumstances.

Schedule that is adaptable

You get to pick when and where you want to work. Do you require two weeks of vacation? It's not a problem. Do you require a change of scenery? As a result, nursing agencies have contracts with a wide range of facilities, and depending on the size of the agency, there will almost always be several facilities looking to fill shifts at any given time.

Per diem nursing makes it possible and simple to strike a healthy balance between work and family life. You set your own schedule and have complete control over your time.

Stress is reduced.

Workplace politics should be kept off your radar. You show up, save the day, complete your tasks, and then clock out of the office.

Many nurses experience stress as a result of the interpersonal relationships that develop at work with co-workers, patients, or family members, among other things. Working as a per diem nurse will allow you to maintain a sense of neutrality, and if there is a particular facility with which you are not comfortable, you will not be required to return.


Visiting a nursing agency may be the answer if you're curious about what else is available, or if you're looking for something a little different to do while still maintaining your current full-time position.

Nurses are at risk of experiencing burnout. Per diem shifts allow nurses to reduce the risk of emotional and physical exhaustion while also learning new skills and providing a change of scenery for their minds, among other benefits.

Increased Patient-Centeredness

The majority of the time, you'll be able to devote your attention to patient care and treatment. As a shift nurse, you are less likely to be tasked with mundane tasks such as supervising others, counting inventory, and other such responsibilities.


You quickly become acclimated to different environments and demographics. Despite the fact that you may not have established consistent relationships with co-workers or patients, you quickly learn to connect with, communicate with, and care for individuals without difficulty.

Aids in the care of other nurses

Per diem nurses make it possible for hospitals to maintain a sufficient level of staffing at any given time. This ensures that high-quality patient care is always available. The fact that a healthcare facility is short-staffed becomes immediately apparent, and this is detrimental to the facility, its patients, and your fellow healthcare professionals.


You will get to know the recruiters who will be assisting you in finding shifts as you work with a nurse staffing agency. They get to know you by learning about your background, your strengths, your interests, and other important information about you that can assist you in finding the best job for you.

This creates a safe environment in which you can ask questions, express concerns, and seek advice when necessary. You will have a support system that you can contact at any time of the day or night if you work with a nurse staffing agency.

Possibilities for Diversification

Nurses who thrive on learning new skills will benefit from the opportunity to move around and gain experience in a variety of healthcare settings through an agency setting. A nurse's ability to broaden her or his scope of practice is associated with higher levels of job satisfaction and job security.

Disadvantages of Using an Agency for Nursing

Of course, agency nursing is not suitable for everyone. When you choose this type of nursing lifestyle, you must stay on top of your agency's calendar to ensure that you get enough shifts, and you may find yourself walking into a facility with a low nurse-to-patient ratio, among other responsibilities.

There is no guarantee of a paycheck.

You will not be compensated if you do not work. Working on a per diem basis has a simple reality that you are not earning a salary and therefore do not receive paid time off.

It is up to you to decide on your benefits and retirement.

Benefits and retirement options are likely available to a full-time salaried nurse. A per diem nurse, on the other hand, does not have this luxury. You will almost certainly be required to obtain your own insurance, which can be quite expensive. You'll also need to devise a financial strategy that will allow you to live comfortably in retirement after you retire.

Unpredictability is on the rise.

There's a certain sense of security that comes with following a routine. When working with a nursing agency, you will not be guaranteed or able to predict shifts in advance.

If you believe that having a structured work schedule would be beneficial in your situation, full-time employment may be a better option for you.

It's possible that you're an outsider.

If you work as an agency nurse, you may find that you are not always welcomed at your assignments. Because the other nurses on your shift will be unfamiliar with your skillset and personality, you might have to work for the better part of your shift before they recognize your value.

Doctors are more likely to gravitate toward their regular nurses than they are toward a new face. Salaried nurses may have a negative attitude toward agency nurses because their presence may appear to be a threat to their jobs.

There will be fewer relationships.

The fact that you are rotating shifts and facilities helps to prevent the burnout that some nurses are accustomed to, but it also makes it more difficult to build relationships with the patients. Many nurses appreciate being able to walk their patients through the healing process from beginning to end with them.

You may be able to pick up multiple shifts at the same location, depending on the facility and the reason for which it is using a nursing agency to fill shifts. It may be easier to develop such relationships with patients in those situations, but shift availability in those situations is never guaranteed.


Working for a nursing agency is a personal decision, and there is no one right answer that applies to everyone. Depending on your preferences, the disadvantages may be too much to bear, or they may be minor annoyances that are easy to overlook. Nurse staffing agencies can make it simple to find stable work, as well as provide excellent compensation and scheduling flexibility for their clients.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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