When You Should Use Nurse Staffing Agencies to Find a Job

Provides advice about when it makes sense for registered nurses to use nursing staffing agencies to find jobs. Describes various scenarios in which nurses benefit from agency nursing jobs.
When You Should Use Nurse Staffing Agencies to Find a Job

If you are looking for a career where your services and skills will always be in high demand, you can't go wrong with nursing. As a registered nurse, you shouldn't have to worry about finding gainful employment. However, that doesn't mean that you will always be able to land the jobs that you want. Additionally, holding down a part- or full-time nursing job may not always be practical for you. In these cases and many others, using a nurse staffing agency makes sense.

What are Nurse Staffing Agencies All About?

Before exploring the situations in which it makes sense to use a nurse staffing agency, it helps to understand exactly what they do. Known also as agency nursing or registry nursing, they technically hire nursing professionals, including registered nurses, LPNs and advance practice RNs, and send them wherever they are needed. Although you would technically be an employee of the agency, you are under no obligation to accept jobs that they offer. Instead, you will have the flexibility to pick and choose which ones you take.

When Does it Make Sense to Use Nurse Staffing Agencies?

You may be wondering why anyone would elect to work for a temp agency instead of holding down a more secure full-time position. However, nurse staffing agencies make sense for nurses from many walks of life and in many situations. By being aware of when these types of services come in handy, you will be better prepared to move into this type of work if and when the time comes.

Some examples of when it makes sense to use a nurse staffing agency to find jobs include:

1. To Maintain Your Skills or Resume

At some point in your nursing career, you may need to step away from working on a full-time basis. Whether it's to return to school, to tend to responsibilities at home or for other reasons, picking up jobs through a nurse staffing agency is a great way to maintain your skills and to prevent big blank spaces on your resume. Since agency nursing lets you pick and choose the jobs that you'd like to work, you can easily fit it into even the busiest schedule.

2. To Add Variety to Your Career

After working for the same employer or facility for a long time, it's natural to start feeling like you're stuck in a rut. That's true even if you really like the job. If you get curious about what else is out there or just need to do something a little different without actually quitting your regular job, agency nursing may be the answer. Through registry nursing, you'll be able to pick up a variety of jobs in a variety of facilities.

3. To Break into the Job Market

Newly graduated RNs sometimes turn to staffing agencies to find their first jobs. However, many nurse staffing agencies only hire RNs who have at least one year of experience, as they often don't offer much in the way of training. Some of them do, though, so if you are struggling to find your first job or just aren't sure where you'd like to work, look for a nurse staffing agency that accepts entry-level RNs.

4. To Get Paid Fast

Sometimes, a bunch of bills and other expenses strike at one, and money runs low. Nurses are well compensated, but if you ever find yourself struggling to make it to your next payday, agency nursing may be the way to go. Most nurse staffing agencies pay nurses for their services the same day or the very next day. This is why these positions are often referred to as agency per diem jobs. Since pay for temporary nursing assignments tends to be very competitive, this is a great option to keep in mind for when times are tough.

5. To Have More Flexibility in Your Career

At certain times in your life, holding down a full-time nursing job may be too much to handle. It is nice to know that you can always fall back on the services of a nurse staffing agency. Nurses often quit their full-time jobs and switch to agency per diem jobs when they start families, go back to school or otherwise become exceptionally busy in their lives. For times when you need more flexibility, registry nursing may be the perfect solution.

6. To Get Your Foot in the Door with an Employer

While it is generally easy to find nursing jobs, securing positions with certain employers can be tricky. If you have been trying to get into a certain facility but aren't having any luck, you might try seeing if the facility uses temp RNs through a nurse staffing agency. If so, get hired on with that agency to gain access to the facility. In many cases, temp nurses are able to "graduate" to become full-time employees, so this could be a viable way to get your foot in the door.

7. To Get Even Better Pay

Registered nurses enjoy very competitive pay. However, if you really want to stretch your earning potential, agency nursing may be the way to go. Agency nurses tend to receive very competitive hourly rates. The downside, of course, is that you will move from job to job a lot. There may be times when you are unable to get enough work, but those times will be rare. Also, just as you can cancel a job at the last minute, a facility can cancel a request for your services. Despite these downsides, the higher pay makes the work well worth it for most.


Although the vast majority of nurses prefer stable employment, there are plenty of times when it makes sense to use nurse staffing agencies to find jobs. Keep the above points in mind so that you know when to avail yourself of this option.

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