There are many opportunities and benefits agency nurses enjoy including: a flexible schedule, higher pay, and a variety of clinical experiences. As an agency nurse, you set your own schedule from the days and shifts you work, to the hospitals you choose to work at. Agency nurses typical earn about 50% more than staff nurses working on the same unit. Agency nurses receive premium pay because they are filling a need the hospital has for additional staff on short notice. The income you earn will depend on how flexible you are as a nurse. The more days and times you are available to work and the more hospitals you are willing to travel to, will allow you to significantly increase your income by gaining more opportunities to work. Agency nursing also provides a variety of clinical experience in specialties, units, and even hospitals on a weekly basis. The multitude of clinical environments you work in further broadens your clinical experience and keeps you learning new things every day.
The challenges in working agency are related to the cancellations you may experience. Health care facilities can cancel agency staff up until 2 hours before the start of the shift with no charge to them. This gets frustrating if it happens with any frequency and is the number one complaint heard from agency nurses. To mitigate the frequency of cancellations agency nurses are encouraged to offer more availability, be willing to travel to several hospitals, and work several specialties if possible.