Initial Worries about Working for a Healthcare Agency and is Agency Work for You?
For carers who may not have worked for an agency before, the first steps into agency work may seem a little daunting.
First off, may I start by saying that I am not here to sugar coat agency work. I am not here to say that it is all sunshine, rainbows and ‘a perfect job for anyone!’ as some recruitment agencies may say. It isn’t; but what I will say is; that it is perfect for a certain type of person. You just need to work out if that person is you.
1. What does agency work within the healthcare industry consist of and is working for a healthcare agency a secure job?
When looking at security, the question – ‘is it a zero hour contact?’ is often asked by carers who have had the fear of God put into them by certain media outlets, this combined with the opinion of your friend Mick, or the neighbours Sandra and Keith, who have been instilled with the presupposition that agencies are ‘all the same’ and have told you ‘stay away from them’ is bound to make people a little nervous. However don’t be influenced until you know exactly what agency work is and what it means for you on a day-to-day basis.
So what is Healthcare agency work? Healthcare Agency work is the supply of staff to healthcare services on a temporary or short term basis. This means that our staff work at a variety of services and in a variety of environments. In order for this to happen all of our staff are on ‘A Contract for Services’ and this contract, although it may sound like a jazzed up zero hours deal, is perfect and very necessary for the purpose of agency work.
As a contractor you choose when you are available to work. You submit your availability and you choose the locations that you are willing to travel to, and then our consultants supply you with shifts from our clients that fit that criteria. This amount of flexibility simply cannot exist without a contract for services. At Precedo we have staff that have worked for us for a number of years, if you embrace and understand what agency work is, you can have a long and enjoyable working life with us.
2.Will there be enough hours for me while working for an agency?
This sort of links in with the previous question, but as this is a question asked quite often by prospective members of staff it is worth addressing and re-enforcing. For those with any concerns about hours, Precedo as an established NHS Framework agency, has numerous clients with a variety of shifts available, and provided you are happy with working in varying locations there will never be a shortage of shifts for you.
The problems with hours tend to occur if you are a person that is unwilling to travel and favours working in the same setting with the same client, day in day out. Limiting the locations that you are willing to work in will obviously affect the amount of shifts open to you. There are often clients that request certain members of staff to work for a prolonged period of time with them, but you shouldn’t be banking on this happening. Agency is all about variety, the more open you are, the more work there is available to you.
3. What support is in place for me on a day-to-day basis?
Another fear that potential workers have is will they feel supported in their job. This is where the recruitment consultant comes in.
The relationship between a care worker and their consultant is of vital importance when working within a healthcare agency. Communication is key, if your consultant is up-to-date with your availability and the locations you are able to work in, then the majority of the hard work is done.
Your consultant is your port of call. If you have any concerns about a shift, any queries about your pay, any problems at all… call them! Communication, reliability and hard work are the key qualities that both our consultants and clients look for in a care worker. If you try your best to excel in these areas you can rest assured that your working week will be a hell of a lot smoother!