Nurse staffing agencies are an incredibly helpful resource for both nurses and other medical professionals whom they help find jobs for, and the facilities where the employees begin working. Whether you are a medical professional seeking an employment opportunity or you are a manager at a facility looking to hire, there is no doubt that you have thought about or have been contacted by nurse staffing agencies looking to help. While the premise of nurse staffing agencies is well-intentioned, as with any industry, not all nurse staffing agencies are alike, nor are all of them helpful in the way you’d like. In today’s post, we will give you a couple helpful tips on what to look for in a potential agency to partner with to have the best outcomes.

1. Are they reputable?

Reputation will tell you a lot about the agency. Referrals are always a good start and perhaps they are worth your time, but we highly recommend you use some follow-up questions and still look into the company a little better than just surface level. If you don’t know anyone who is working with or has worked with the agency before, you can always look for testimonials and reviews online. If the agency doesn’t have a testimonials page on their own website, you can always refer to Google My Business, social media reviews, and job listing site reviews. For instance, Nightingale’s List is Southern California’s Top Rated Local® nurse staffing agency with reviews to support the claim. You can find other reviews on Facebook and Linkedin.

2. What services do they offer?

Any staffing agency can simply place nurses, CNAs, medical assistants, and psych techs in a facility. However, this is not beneficial to the medical professional nor the facility looking for quality employees. Nurse staffing agencies should do much more than match qualifications with open positions. Before you sign on with a staffing agency of any sort, it’s important to evaluate the services that they offer. Do they recruit quality applicants and have a process for ensuring the candidates are eligible for employment or do they simply blast emails and texts to all nurses on the California Board of Nursing registry? Some services you should see if they offer include:

  • Skill assessment (by resume or work history is acceptable)
  • Vetting medical professionals before placing them in a pool — background checks, drug screens, licensure verification, reference follow-through, etc.
  • Vetting facilities requesting medical staff — fair working conditions, accredited, etc.
  • Personal communication with medical professionals and medical facilities
  • Variety of placement services and facilities

Additionally, you should think about those things that are of particular concern to you specifically. For instance, if you have a specialty or you prefer to work in a particular location or facility, you should be sure that the staffing agency has contracts that will work for you. If you are a hiring manager and you have specific requests, including experience requirements or security clearance requirements, you’ll want to ensure that these are things the agency can check for you before a professional’s name even comes across your desk.

3. What are their standards?

Any nurse staffing agency that you decide to partner with should have similar standards and values to your own. Standards may differ based on what you are looking for, but the questions should be asked. For instance, some staffing agencies will attempt to place every medical professional who contacts them and accept every facility to add to their contract list. While this provides all parties with what they need, not being exclusive about relationships can lead to disaster. You know as well as anyone that an open nursing position does not fit every nurse. If the nurse staffing agency does not have standards that match your own, you may end up with a job or an employee that doesn’t work and you’ll have to start over.

4. What is their “finder’s fee?”

The truth is, all nurse staffing agencies charge for their services. This is because they do all the leg work — or should. Paying a staffing agency a fair cut is just a cost of doing business and should balance out in a wash with the amount of time you save searching for jobs/employees and having the vetting process complete so you can get in the door/have employees start right away. Before you work with a staffing agency, you should ask about the agency fee or what their cut is. If it seems inappropriate or the price tag outweighs what they offer, we recommend making some calls to other agencies before buying in. Generally speaking, the agency fee should be included in the facility contract and not passed along to the medical professional. An agency may require the medical professional to pay for fingerprinting or drug screening fees to the lab, but there shouldn’t be a fee for job placement. All fees should be transparent, but it is always a good idea to ask about additional or “hidden” fees.

5. What does your gut say?

For both medical professionals seeking a job and employers seeking quality employees, how you feel about something is rarely wrong. If you just don’t get a good feeling when you are talking to the agency representative, you cannot get a hold of them reliably, or something just seems off, it probably is. If the jobs and contracts seem too good to be true or the agency makes grand claims about what it can offer, you can likely trust your gut that something just isn’t right. You should feel confident with your nurse staffing agency and know that they have your best interest in mind.

At Nightingale’s List in Southern California, we are happy to be large enough to provide contracts to nurses, CNA, medical assistants, and psychiatric technicians all over Southern California, but small enough to know each of our employers and medical professionals personally. We take the time to assess the skills and interests of the medical professionals seeking placement as well as knowing the staff at the facilities we place employees in. This helps us make better matches that result in positive outcomes for both the nurse and the facility. We are dedicated to helping the patients of Southern California gain access to high-quality care with optimal shift coverage. To find a job or a medical professional to fill your available position, contact us to get started on matching today!