You can survive and even profit from the staffing agency. If you are a nurse and just out of college, then you are looking for a job. Alternatively, you may be an independent nurse or someone who was laid off due to an institution’s financial woes. If work is hard to find, then you may consider turning to one of the nursing staffing agencies. This is a situation where a third party employs you then sends you to various clients according to your credentials and reputation. This means switching between institutions; a term may last for months and years, or you may simply be temporary labor.
In a sense you are turning your life over to an outside interest who cares as much about their dollar and reputation as your own. The process can invade your privacy and direct you towards places that may turn out to be a nightmare filled with scrounging rats. Nurse staffing agencies tend to be protective of their resources and methods, and you can never be sure what type of deal you are getting. On the other hand, agencies know sources of labor you may never find on your own, and when work is tight they can save your bank account from extinction. They line you up according to what you are suited for as well as what suits them; their experience at such matters might actually provide you with a positive experience.
It all depends on your needs and what is available in the market. Anyone who is reading this in order to consider for nursing career, should not be lead to think that nurse staffing agencies are the major solution. Nurses are in high demand; it should be easy to find work in a hospital, retirement home, or special needs facility as soon as you graduate. Staffing agencies are an outlet if you are not immediately finding an opportunity, are wanting a second job, or are looking for a broad experience. If experience is what you want, then working with a staff agency might actually be an intelligent investment in order to expand your professional portfolio.
The most important step after considering your own needs is to research the agency. Read their web page or walk inside and ask questions. Ask other sources in order to find out what type of reputation they have. If they seem credible and established, set up an interview. Always keep in mind they are a business with their own selfish interests; if you hurt their business by being rude or casual or less than top performance, your relationship with them will deteriorate, and they may step around you even though you remain theoretically employed by them. That said, successful businesses take care of their assets, and as long as you are professional, the two of you should enjoy each others company. If they seem selfish or unscrupulous, just remember that you are in demand; look for work elsewhere, even if it means moving out of town.