How to Maximise Your Work Opportunities as a new Agency Nurse

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As a new agency nurse, you may be a little concerned about the volume of shifts you’ll have the opportunity to work, but there is no need to worry. First Choice Care (FCC) nursing agency wants to help you maximise every chance you’ve got! This article explores the ninja tips you’ll want to know to land shifts which not only suit you and your lifestyle, but also your growing skill set as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse or midwife.

Maintain Your Availabilities

Are you able to work today? Tomorrow? Next week? FCC wants to know so they can best support you in obtaining the shifts that you want to work. The best and easiest way to update your availability is via the FCC Live Portal on the website. You can email or SMS your availability preferences as well if you are on the go. Prefer to do it “old school” – no problem! Feel free to give the allocations team a ring and discuss your availability.

As nurses we know that communication is key! So ensuring you update your availabilities as well as communicate any changes to those availabilities is pivotal to agency nursing.

It’s best practice to update your availability at least weekly, but if anything was to change during this time, we suggest you let the team know either via the portal or a phone call. The allocations team at FCC will prioritise staff who they know are wanting to work over those we haven’t heard from! Making it a habit to refresh your availability will ensure you have first access to upcoming shifts. 

Be Contactable

You have updated your availabilities, now you just need to make sure you have your phone on are able to be contact by the FCC team when the call to offer you shifts. This is not only important when picking up last minute shifts, but it ensures you are giving yourself the best chance to obtain block bookings which are multiple shifts at the same facility.

Being contactable, particularly in the early days, shows you are reliable and somebody FCC depend on for important upcoming shifts. It also allows the team to contact you if anything were to change or notify you of any new and exciting opportunities arose perfectly matching your skill set.

Be Willing to Travel

Though it may be nice to secure work at your closest hospital or facility, accepting work a little further away from home can open up job opportunities leading to more financial reward.

So you might be thinking, “well, how far are FCC expecting me to travel for a shift?” There is no specific distance or travel time from your home in which FCC will ask you to go and they do try to keep you as close to home as possible because it means you will be happy to take the shift and the health facility is getting a nurse arrive sooner rather than later!  However, it’s up to you what is a reasonable distance to travel taking into consideration the time of day, traffic conditions and your other responsibilities. Though being open to go that little bit further when you can, may pay dividends in the long run.

Remember, First Choice Care wants to support you in obtaining the shifts which suit you. Being honest about your mode of transport and why travel may be difficult at times of day is useful information and can help the team find shifts that align with you and your preferences.

Be Open to All Shift Types

One of the best ways to make extra money, build relationships with employers who request to hire you personally and to maximise your shift opportunities is to request to work all kinds of shifts. Yes, this includes night shift, weekends, public holidays and within both the public and private sectors.

Though these “not so popular shifts” may not be your first preference, it can be extremely beneficial to you to jump into these shifts! The opportunity to build a connection with Nurse Unit Managers (NUMS), Assistance Nurse Unit Managers (ANUMS), and other senior nursing staff during times which may not be as busy is priceless. Returning to a facility in which you feel supported, enjoy working and receive pay as an agency nurse is like hitting the jackpot – and FCC wants to help better your odds!

Jump onto the FCC live portal or call one of the friendly staff within the Allocations Team on 1300 307 241 to see which “not so desirable” shift you can put your name to so that you ultimately come out on top!

In summary, the beauty with agency nursing is that you get to choose when you work, to align with your commitments and lifestyle. But to really thrive as an agency nurse, you firstly need to update your shift availability regularly and be contactable to FCC staff. Secondly, being open minded about your travel and shift preferences and considering those shifts that are a little further away or trying some night shifts are great ways to build relationships with key nursing management, secure more shifts more often and make more money!

First Choice Care are excited you have come on board and want to help you maximise your work opportunities so don’t be afraid to call and speak to one of our friendly staff  about how we can help you make the most out of your agency nursing shifts.


Emma Smith

Registered Nurse

Join the team that cares about you as much as you care about your patients