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How Can Nurses Earn More?

It’s true that many nurses and other healthcare professionals register with a healthcare staffing agency specifically to earn more money. Whether you’re looking to pick up extra shifts or find a permanent position, healthcare staffing agencies normally pay higher rates than the state averages. Even after you’re registered and ready to accept shifts, we have some additional tips that can help you earn even more.

Here’s how nurses can use a staffing agency to earn more.

Look for Incentives or Other Offers From the Hiring Facility

While not standard, some facilities will offer incentives for nurses who accept shifts with them. This is more likely to happen if the facility is located in a rural area that could require more travel, or if the shift is a last-minute requirement. It may require you to have a bit more flexibility on your end, but it’s definitely something to watch for if you’re looking to earn a bit more for a shift.

Overtime work and pay is also possible when using a staffing agency, but it may require that you are at one location for a certain number of hours per week and it would need to be approved by the facility. If you’re looking to accept assignments that place you in a facility for more than a few days in a row, ask if overtime is a possibility. You wouldn’t need to accept the overtime hours right away, but it would be nice to know in advance whether you’ll be eligible for overtime pay should you accept overtime shifts while on-the-job.

Build Credibility as a Reliable Employee

At a healthcare staffing agency, last-minute shift needs are often offered at a higher rate, but when an account manager is looking to fill those types of shifts in a short amount of time, it’s very likely that they will first be offered to their most dependable employees.

If you’re eager to prove yourself to be capable and reliable, you’ll need to build a trusting relationship with your account manager. That means being open and honest about what work you’re willing to take on and following through on shift commitments you make. Of course, life happens and sometimes you aren’t always able to make a shift; when that happens, always let your account manager know as soon as possible so that they have plenty of time to find coverage.

Take on Nursing Home or Hospice Work

As the population ages, the demand for nurses is only increasing, especially at nursing homes. These facilities are obligated to meet minimum staffing requirements not only to maintain state and federal compliance, but also to ensure a safe workplace for their healthcare staff. Therefore, they are frequently looking to bring on more people both in a per-diem and permanent placement capacity. If you’re passionate about bedside care, work with your account manager to pick up shifts in a nursing home, assisted living facility, adult daycare facility or in hospice care.

Choose Temporary Assignments

If you want to earn more immediately, but don’t want to take on a long-term position, a staffing agency can connect you with short-term nursing assignments, such as camp nurses or school nurses. The key here is to choose an agency that has a wide range of facility clientele and doesn’t have minimum mandatory hours. The more flexibility you have, the easier it is to take on work that’s right for you.

Go For an Advanced Degree

If you’re a CNA looking to not only earn more, but also take the next step in your career, consider becoming an LPN/LVN. Based on what state you live and practice in, you could see a salary increase of anywhere between 36% – 87%!

Because each state has its own board of nursing and educational and clinical requirements, there’s no one standard path a CNA can take towards becoming an LPN. You’ll need to complete an educational program and then pass a national licensing exam. Community colleges as well as private vocational schools offer LPN programs, which typically take a year of full-time study to complete. In the meantime, having a flexible work schedule can help you maintain a healthy work/life balance.

If you’re an LPN looking to become an RN, see if your school offers a program that allows you to apply your credits towards a nursing degree. For RNs, the more leadership experience you have, the more opportunities you will have to earn more in a supervisory role.

Work With Your Agency

The best tip for earning more with a healthcare staffing agency is to be open and forthcoming with your account manager. If you’re only looking to accept shifts that pay a certain rate, your account manager will be able to tell you approximately how many shift offers you could expect within your parameters, and if he or she recommends any additional steps you can take to bring yourself to a higher earning bracket. While they do need to fill shifts for their facility clients, it’s in their best interest to make sure that YOU are happy, working and motivated to work.

Choosing an agency that pays weekly can be incredibly gratifying. While you wouldn’t technically be earning more money, you are getting the money that you earn faster. Knowing you’ll receive direct deposits for your weekly pay each and every Friday provides excellent peace of mind.

Being transparent about your needs and career goals with your agency will only help grow your relationship and bring about more work that interests you. And, of course, get you earning more.