The workforce is changing when it comes to nursing jobs. Just like skilled positions in other industries, the financial downturn has affected how healthcare facilities hire. And that means that just like these other positions, many aren’t hiring full-time employees.
Instead, nursing applicants can expect the possibility of being hired as an on-site contractor by an outside staffing agency. In these cases, you are not working at the healthcare facility, but are considered a contractor of the staffing agency. This can be helpful in some ways, but it also raises new issues for early and mid-career nurses.
- Benefits of Working Through a Staffing Agency
Staffing agencies often have the most power to find new nurses at doctor’s offices, but especially hospitals and other major facilities. In fact, at some facilities, they might not be hiring through their own processes for the next several years. So staffing agencies may be the best game in town.
They are great for entry-level registered nurses (RN) or those with a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN). The most important part of breaking into nursing is to get one’s foot in the door, and staffing agencies provide that.
They also provide a ready-made reason to provide in interviews when you want to make a move. After all, you can always say, “I’m looking for a full-time position with benefits,” if you’re considering a shift to another facility, and most hiring managers understand that.
- What Are Some of the Downsides of Working Through an Agency?
One major disadvantage of working through a staffing agency is that nurses will have to find their own health insurance. Since they are usually hired as a contractor, benefits are rarely included. So, you may have to do some research on your own to take care of this and any retirement investments you want to make. Of course, agencies differ.
One major issue is that it may be easier to lose your job if it is through a staffing agency. Since you are not working for the hospital or doctor’s office directly, their policies on hiring and firing don’t apply to you. So you’ll want to keep your resume updated and perhaps a rainy day financial fund just for peace of mind.
Finally, you will likely have to pay your own taxes. Unlike with a full-time job, as an independent contractor, you may have to pay quarterly taxes, depending on the agreement you have. If that’s the case, you need to figure out how much you’ll owe using online tax calculators, and make sure you take a little bit out of your paycheck each time you’re paid.
- I Got a Job with a Staffing Agency, Now What?
If you don’t already have one, you might consider opening up a savings account for yourself. Unless your agency provides for taking money out of your paycheck for taxes, you’ll have to do it yourself. And putting it in a separate account makes it less likely you’ll spend it in other areas.
Second, you’ll want to ensure that you update your resume with your new position and your responsibilities. If you do a good job, you shouldn’t worry about job security. But having an escape plan can help if you need to find other work as a nurse.