Hiring an agency nurse is an excellent solution for many medical facilities looking to fill staffing gaps. These nurses are typically highly experienced and can provide much-needed support during times of increased patient demand.

However, not all agency nurses are created equal, and it’s important to understand the key qualities to look for when choosing an agency nurse partner. That way, you can make an informed decision and ensure that you’re getting the highest quality care for your patients. These are the top 5 qualities we think an agency nurse should have.


  1. Clinical Competence

One of the most important qualities to look for in an agency nurse is clinical competence. When you’re working with an agency nurse, you need to be sure they have the necessary skills and experience to care for your patients. This includes a strong understanding of clinical protocols and best practices, as well as experience working with a wide range of patient populations. You should look for an agency nurse that has a strong track record in the areas of care that you need support in, whether it’s in the ICU, pediatrics or general medical-surgical care.

It’s also essential to select an agency that employs highly qualified and experienced nurses. Ask the agency for a list of qualifications, certifications and pertinent experience. Ensure that the agency can provide documentation of the nurse’s qualifications and experience, including previous client references.


  1. Communication Skills

Communication is key when it comes to nursing, and this is especially true when working with an agency nurse. You need a partner who can quickly integrate into your team and work collaboratively with your existing staff.

They encounter new doctors, nurses and patients in different hospitals and clinics regularly, and communication is vital to ensure continuity of care. A nurse should be able to communicate effectively with the patient, the medical team and the family to ensure everyone is on the same page. This includes not only verbal communication but also written communication, such as charting and documentation.


  1. Adaptability

You should look for an agency nurse who is flexible and can quickly pivot to meet the changing needs of your patients and staff. This includes being willing to work different shifts and take on different tasks as needed. There may be instances where a nurse is needed at short notice or may be required to work outside standard hours.

Agency nurses should also be flexible and adaptable to new work environments, schedules and routines. Look for nurses with a track record of successful adaptability in different settings to ensure they can handle the challenges they may face.

Furthermore, employing an agency that offers flexible nurses’ schedules is vital in such situations. Ensure that the agency is available and willing to provide staff when required, even during the holiday seasons, weekends or late-night hours.


  1. Professionalism & Integrity

Professionalism is another key quality to look for in an agency nurse. You need a partner who understands the importance of maintaining a professional and respectful attitude in all interactions with patients, families and other members of the care team. This includes being reliable, punctual and adhering to all hospital policies and procedures.

A good way to evaluate professionalism is to see if they’ll fit well with your culture, mission and values. Be sure to ask questions during the interview process to assess their values and work ethic. And, more importantly, if they match yours.


  1. Positive Attitude & Team Player

Finally, you want an agency nurse who has a positive attitude and can bring a sense of optimism and energy to your team. Nursing is a challenging and demanding job, and it’s important to work with someone who can bring a sense of positivity and motivation to the workplace. Look for an agency nurse who is passionate about their work and can inspire those around them.


  1. Dependable & Reliable

Facilities that are already hurting from staffing shortages don’t need an unreliable agency nurse adding to that stress. So, being dependable and reliable are must-have qualities. Avoid nurses who habitually miss their shifts, have high levels of sick leave and turn up late on a regular basis. Look for someone who has a track record of following through with their contractual obligations and doing what they say they will.


The Best Partner for Your Team

Hiring an agency nurse can help alleviate the nursing shortage and provide additional staffing support when needed. But you must choose wisely. By looking for the key qualities outlined above, you can be sure you’re choosing the best partner for your team and your patients while promoting quality care.

Need help finding an agency nurse that matches these qualifications? QSNurses can help! We ensure our nurses possess the qualities you’re looking for by fully vetting them not only for clinical knowledge but for those all-important soft skills as well. Contact us today to get started.