April 11, 2012

So remember that recruiter that contacted me in January?

Well, after months of phone/email tag, we have met up.

I have now signed with a nurse staffing agency. I filled out the forms, took my competency tests, and pending a successful background check and urine drug screen, I will now be an agency psych nurse.

The agency provides staffing services to a couple of local psych places, all inpatient shifts on locked units. The salary is somewhat lower than what I'm getting, but there's no minimum shift commitment other than they'd really like me to work two weekends a month, and even that is a soft limit. Very flexible about shifts. They said I should have no problems picking up 40 hours a week...then again, my current job said that and that hasn't really happened.

I will be going to a union facility with a higher psychiatric acuity then where I am now: think 5150s and lots of them. This doesn't really matter to me. I'm used to 5150s from my time on the ICU at my last facility. My recruiter just wanted to warn me that because they're union it's hard for them to get fired and that sometimes means they get away with doing a crappy job. That also means that as an agency nurse, I will probably get the crap assignments. But I'm not after anyone's job there, nor am I there to be the nursing police. And I'm used to crap assignments from my first job. I'm just there to take care of patients and that's all: they have nothing to fear from me.

The facility I am going to is legitimate. I recently met the DON and ADON at an event...this was before I signed on with the agency.

I'm not giving up my current job...but to be honest, nothing has come down the inpatient per-diem pike there that would work with my schedule. Plus, with censuses dropping as the weather gets warmer (not an unheard of phenomenon in psych), I'm getting called off more. So I figured I'd keep the outpatient per-diem as I wait for inpatient per-diem, but diversify a bit and look at another facility.

And it's a chance for me to try out agency nursing. If it doesn't work out, I'll resign or work as little as possible. The only restriction I really have on me is that I can't work directly for the facility they're sending me to, not until 365 days have passed since my last shift there. But that's not an issue as I'd rather get in inpatient at my current facility anyway.

If all goes well with my screening and UDS, I should start orienting at this facility next week.

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