13 Tips on How to Choose the Best Healthcare Agency

Working for a healthcare agency is a great way to develop your career as a nurse or healthcare assistant, earning a good salary. Agency nursing offers flexibility, helps you gain experience in various roles and sectors, and provides networking opportunities. The high demand for nurses and healthcare assistants in Ireland has led to an increase in healthcare and nursing agencies.

In this article, we offer helpful tips on choosing the best healthcare agency to meet your needs as a nurse or healthcare assistant.


Factors worth considering before registering with a nursing agency:

Healthcare agencies play an essential role in staffing hospitals and healthcare settings. As a healthcare assistant or nurse, choosing a professional agency that will support you in your position is important. Consider the following factors to guide you in your choice:

1. Check that the agency is registered and licensed with a professional body. All nursing and healthcare agencies in Ireland are regulated by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). These regulatory agents ensure that nursing agencies in Ireland meet high standards and provide top-quality services. This information is often provided on the agency website. 

2. Research the agencies online. While word of mouth is probably the best way of getting inside knowledge about healthcare agencies, it’s not always possible. Check website review sites and social media site pages for information. Note what nurses and healthcare workers say but pay attention to what the hospitals and care homes say about the agency too. You will want to be associated with an agency that is well-respected in the sector.

3. Check the agency website. Consider how professional it looks. Does it provide helpful advice on how to register? An FAQ section will give you lots of useful information. Checking out the review page will provide you with a good idea of the agency’s reputation and give you an understanding of the settings it serves.

4. Find out how long the agency has been operating in the healthcare sector. An agency with a long history of successfully connecting nurses and healthcare assistants with hospitals and care settings will be worth contacting. Well-established agencies often have longstanding relationships with hospitals and healthcare settings and can offer great opportunities.

5. Check out the specialisms the agency seeks. Some agencies will specialise in a niche area of healthcare like mental health or care of the elderly. Ensure the agency has placements for nurses or assistants with your area of expertise in the healthcare sector that interests you.

6. Training possibilities. Most reputable agencies will have rigorous screening processes and will authenticate your qualifications. Establish early with the agency whether or not you meet the criteria for placement as a healthcare assistant or nurse. While the agency may not offer in-house training, a good agency will inform you exactly where and how to get further training to qualify for a placement.

7. Does the agency provide a uniform? Hopefully! Most reputable agencies will provide a uniform once you register. A uniform is essential for working as a professional in the health service.

8. Ask about the level of support the agency provides. Does the agency support its new members of staff? Do they offer induction or advice on what to expect and how to understand your role in a new workplace? A professional agency should issue guidelines on what to do on your first day in a new job and who you should contact if you encounter an unpredictable situation.

9. Look into how they support nurses in their career goals. Some agencies can be incredibly supportive of healthcare assistants and nurses and will take the time to understand where you are on your career path and how to help you progress. They often have a good knowledge of CPD training and upskilling courses and can offer great advice.

10. Are the pay rates competitive? While most agencies offer higher rates than permanent post salaries, the rates vary across the board. It’s essential to evaluate the rate of pay as an agency nurse as you won’t always get holiday pay or sick pay, so consider these aspects carefully. 

11. Some agencies today pay their nurses within hours of finishing their shifts. Check out when agency pay their staff, as different agencies will have different days for paying staff. Find out how to fill in and submit your timesheet.

12. Are they up-to-date with technology? It’s worth checking that the agency is forward-thinking in the rapidly developing healthcare sector. Do they have a modern communications system for contacting you? Check if they have an app where you can book shifts and mark your availability.

13. Nursing agencies abroad. If you’re considering relocating overseas, a nursing or healthcare agency will be your first port of call. You will need to research the agencies carefully to find one that suits you in your new location. Check out whether the agency will help you to find accommodation or advise you on getting a visa. Some agencies will offer advice on relocating your family and applying for schools.


Agency Healthcare Final Words

The healthcare sector is growing on a global scale, and developments in tech and telehealth mean it really is an exciting time to come on board as a healthcare assistant or nurse. Agency nursing is also on the rise, so whether you choose agency nursing for the freedom and flexibility it offers or for the chance to relocate or boost your earnings, these tips will help you find the right agency for you.

If you’re interested in seeking a post with a top agency in Ireland, contact Access Healthcare for more information.