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First Day As An Agency Nurse? Here Are 8 Tips To Help You Stand Out

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First Day As An Agency Nurse? Here Are 8 Tips To Help You Stand Out

For those who value flexibility and diversity of experience, then agency nursing is a perfect career path. Working with an agency offers lots of benefits in terms of flexibility of choosing when you work without having to be on a fixed shift rota and#n more money. You also get other benefits such as pension contributions, holiday pay and get paid weekly. It’s also a great way to have variety in terms of settings and the ability to gain exposure to different areas of nursing, which is especially helpful if you’re thinking of branching into another speciality but haven’t completely decided yet.

So, if you’re about to make the leap to being an agency nurse here are our top tips to help you stand out and make the most of the experience:

1. Always Be Organised

Make sure you have everything you need for each shift, including any equipment you’ve been asked to bring, a pen, your ID badge and PIN. These are not just things that make a good impression on you as a professional but will ensure you feel confident and relaxed as you walk into each shift.

2. Make Sure You Have an Induction

Even as an experienced nurse, you should always be given an induction when entering a new department, ward or other healthcare settings. This isn’t just to ensure that you have everything you need to do your job properly, but it’s for the safety of the patients and other staff. This is a legal requirement, so always make sure you’re given this.

3. Get A Proper Handover

Handovers before and after each shift are a key part of a nurse’s job that allows them to highlight any issues or areas of concern and keep the new shift updated on what to expect when they start. It’s not uncommon for nurses who have been in a certain location for a long time with each other to know what to expect sometimes, so they might not realise that they need to be clearer if you’re new. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for things to be explained in more detail if you’re unsure. This is for your protection as well as the patients you’re caring for.

4. Use 'The Code' - see NMC.

It’s not uncommon to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to know everything, but the truth is, as a nurse, you’re constantly learning, and people don’t expect you to know everything. People respect honesty - especially when the lives of patients hang in the balance, so don’t ever feel like you have to cover up if you don’t know something. Feeling a little uncomfortable in the short term is better than lying and making a life-changing error.

5. Remember the ‘Nursing Basics'

Especially in today’s busy hospitals and care settings, it can be difficult for nurses to really deliver the basics in care when there are so many other things they need to get done, whether that be paperwork or even technical things.

However, simply making time to do something simple and basic for a patient will make them feel more secure at what is probably a difficult and challenging time. This will be appreciated by them and their family, so it’s important to not forget what nursing is at its core - even those busy days.

6. Utilise Assessment Skills

Always keep in mind, that although you don’t know everything, you know more than you probably give yourself credit for. You’ve undergone extensive training to become a nurse, so it’s important to not just see those as a means to an end, but they’re actually things you can use in your day-to-day job in terms of the skills you’ve learned through the assessments you’ve taken.

7. Excellent Communication Skills are Essential

As a nurse, top communication skills are an essential part of the job. You’ll be communicating with doctors, other nurses, and patients and families, so being able to be seen as approachable, kind and compassionate are things that you need to have naturally.

Sometimes you’ll need to be assertive and be able to feel comfortable communicating with people in different areas.

8. Don’t Take Things Personally

Especially when entering a new work setting as an agency nurse, it can be a stressful and lonely experience that you’re not always prepared for. If others have been there longer than you, they’ll sometimes forget that you’re new and it may feel like they’re getting impatient with you - especially when they’re already understaffed. However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t personal, it’s just the nature of the job.

One of the best things about working as an agency nurse is that you’re under no obligation to go back, so if one place doesn’t suit you, just move on to the next.

The other good thing about this is, once you find a place you like and you’ve shown that you’re reliable and good at your job, you’ll always be welcomed back there and treated like one of the team.


Interested in becoming an agency nurse and choosing when and where you work? Register with Vetro today.