Top 5 tips for your first day as an agency nurse or HCA

Healthcare and Nursing Agency

Whether you’ve recently begun a job in agency healthcare, just thinking about it or already an experienced relief nurse or healthcare assistant who wants to brush up on the basics, our consultant Kerry Phelan has compiled a handy guide to start you off on the right foot.

Come prepared
Regardless of whether you’re starting work in a nursing home, hospital or any other healthcare facility its always important to arrive ready to start working. Make sure you have your uniform, ID badge, timesheets and any other essentials you need for your working day, and if in doubt contact your recruitment consultant! This is what they are there for, to help you out as best they can.

Show up 15 minutes early
This may sound obvious, but it shows the facility your willingness to learn and work with their nursing or healthcare team. As an agency nurse or healthcare assistant, you are entitled to a full and detailed handover when coming into a new nursing home, ward or service including being shown the layout of the facility and being briefed on any special procedures they may have. Arriving early gives you the chance to get a detailed overview of what’s expected of you, be shown around the facility and hopefully meet some members of your new team!

Ask lots of questions!
Make sure to ask as many questions as you can. The staff on the ward or in the nursing home may presume things they do every day will be common knowledge or may think certain things are obvious when they may not be. They will be unaware of how much you know or don’t know and may take So be sure to ask as many questions as possible. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Remember your basics
Sometimes in your job as an agency nurse or healthcare assistant, the best thing you can do is the basics. While the senior staff sift through mountains of paperwork or computer systems and the regular nurses or HCAs deal with the specific or niche needs of patients, the small things can often be put to one side. The clients are not expecting you to know everything or handle something you’ve never done before but it is most appreciated when you can make life easier for the busy staff. Such things as assisting residents with their daily care, asking patients about themselves and ensuring that they feel respected and dignified will be most appreciated by staff, by clients, patients and their families.

Communicate
Always communicate how you feel about any working situation to your consultant. Often as an agency worker, you may be expected to adapt like a duck to water in a facility, or some permanent staff may come across as unhelpful. There is no need to worry though, you can always report any feedback you have to your recruitment consultant, and the best part of agency jobs is you don’t have to go back if you don’t like the work in a particular facility.
At Excel Healthcare we value our agency nurses, HCAs and healthcare workers. We want to make your job as an agency healthcare professional as easy and as enjoyable as possible. We are compassionate and understanding, and will always be here to help you as best we can.

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