Can Nurses Work In The NHS And Do Agency Shifts?

By Rachel Lamb . 05/08/2021 · 5 Minute read

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Agency work can be a fantastic way to boost your income and comes with various added benefits to your career! But a question that we are often asked by permanent NHS Nurses is:

Can I Work Agency Shifts In Other Trusts?

The short answer is - Yes! As a substantive NHS nurse, you are absolutely able to work within other Trusts as a temporary agency worker.

The long answer is that working for an agency is considered Secondary Employment, so you will need to find out your Trust’s policy on Secondary Employment. This will often include completing a Secondary Employment Form or putting a request into writing.

Your manager will then consider whether it will have any conflict with your permanent job. They might also need to consider the Working Time Regulations – you can’t work more than 48 hours per week on average – but you can choose to work more by opting out of this limit in writing.

Of course, joining an agency doesn’t mean that you have to work more than 48 hours. How much or how little you work is entirely up to you!

So, now that we’ve answered the big question, what else do you need to consider when thinking about joining an agency?

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Joining A Nursing Agency?

There are a whole host of benefits to working through an agency. We’ve listed a few here:

The Pros:

Higher rates of pay: this is probably the most well-known benefit, so it makes sense to put it first on the list. As an agency worker, you’ll get higher pay rates per shift, which can definitely come in handy!

More control over your shifts: agency work is entirely flexible to your schedule, so you can choose when and where you work!

More experience: you can try different work environments and dip your toes into other wards. You might even find a new area of nursing that you are passionate about!

More variety: when you work with an agency in different Trusts and work environments, you’ll get to work with a broader range of colleagues and patients. So you are always learning and improving your skills and knowledge!

Faster pay: getting paid on a weekly basis is a great way to give yourself a little boost – especially when it feels like it’s been forever since your last monthly payday!

And our favourite benefit: 

More confidence: it’s true – working agency shifts can make you a more confident nurse! With more experience and a wider range of patients you can treat, you’ll soon realise that you are much more confident in your capabilities!

Of course, we can’t just list the benefits without mentioning some features of agency work that you will need to seriously consider when asking if agency working is suitable for you:

The Cons

A flexible schedule means that it might not be as predictable as your permanent job: you will need to be prepared for occasions where there aren’t many shifts for your preferred hours or hospital.

You might not be placed on the same ward every shift: which could mean that you have a few different ‘first days’. This means that you’ll need to be able to jump in and hit the ground running – and be prepared to ask questions!

You won’t be eligible for annual leave or sick pay: as an agency worker, you will get paid for the shifts that you work. So, if you are on leave, you won’t receive holiday or sick pay. However, if you are looking to work through an agency alongside your permanent job, you will, of course, get paid leave through your substantive role, so this may be less of an issue.

Agency work will be considered secondary employment, so you will be taxed accordingly: when you work with an agency alongside your permanent job, your income for both roles will be taxed together. As you are likely to have reached the personal allowance (the amount of income you can receive before you are taxed) in your permanent income, this means that you will be taxed for the whole of your agency income. This tax is generally at the basic rate of 20%.  

Is Agency Work Worth It?

Well, we might be biased, but we think the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

At Your World, we have your pick of agency shifts at competitive pay rates. We have also launched Your Loyalty, which automatically enters you into a monthly prize draw once you have completed 40 hours of work with us. It’s our way of showing our appreciation for the care you provide and could earn you luxury prizes such as a spa day or city break (or retail vouchers if you prefer!)

So, if you are looking for some extra money and more varied experience, we think it’s a no-brainer!

Contact our Nursing Team today on 0207 220 0825, or follow this link to browse through our extensive list of nursing roles available to you!


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