“I love the flexibility”: why more nurses are choosing the agency route

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With the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) estimating there to be 25,000 nursing vacancies currently across the UK, staffing crisis news stories dominating the media and public sector workers still coming to terms with IR35 legislation changes, many nurses are contemplating their futures within the sector.

Working as an agency nurse is a career option many are turning to in order to continue providing high standards of care to those in need of support. Agency work isn’t for everyone but it offers flexibility and control as well as higher earning potential. For employers, working with a reputable agency gives peace of mind that they are recruiting someone who can provide care safely to their service users and that is why many nurses choose to work with Randstad. 

Still not sure if the agency route is for you? Mary Holden, a registered general nurse, gives her view on working through an agency and why she never imagined she would choose this career path:

“It was very hard for me to leave the NHS and go into agency nursing, because it went against everything I ‘believed’ in. There was snobbery against agency nurses. I didn't go into nursing for the money, but I got to the point where I had to put myself first and I didn't want to work ridiculous hours any more with little thanks or praise. 

“I love the flexibility, I decide what kind of shifts I want to work and I call the agency each week to see what is available. It's usually within an NHS hospital, sometimes in charge of an entire ward. In more than two years, there have been only three occasions when work hasn't been available.”

Here are a few popular reasons why more people are turning to agency work to achieve career goals and aims:

No minimum or maximum hours


You don’t have to leave your current nursing role to take on agency work because the number of hours you pick up is in your control. You can specify exactly how many hours you wish to work, be it a one-off shift through to a full time contract. 

Try new settings


Sometimes working within the same setting for a long time can take it’s toll and affect the standard of care you provide. Deciding on what to try next can be a daunting task but that is when an agency full of specialists can come in handy. We can suggest roles suited to you and as we work with many clients in many different settings; we can always set up a trial shift or shadow shift to enable you to test the waters before you commit.

Maintain and develop your skills set


Working within a variety of settings could help you to pick up new skills as well as develop existing ones. We offer training courses to all our candidates even if you haven’t worked with us for long. Our close relationships with our clients ensure that we can put you at the forefront for any internal training opportunities that arise too.

Various payment options available


With the recent IR35 legislation coming into play, we would like to reassure you that we still offer you the ability to be paid via three payment options: PAYE, umbrella or into your limited company as per HMRC requirements. Under PAYE and umbrella payment options, we do offer holiday pay and sick pay. Just get in touch if you would like advice on what option is best for you.

What’s your next step?


Are you looking for a change? Perhaps you would just like some advice on what else is available. We know you work tirelessly in your role and that is why we work tirelessly to ensure we can help you progress your career. As a leading provider within nursing, we cover many areas from community nursing to mental health and we are ready to help you explore your career options.

Get in touch with your local branch