n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Experiences of agency nurses regarding their placement in private hospitals in East London, Eastern Cape : nursing professional challenges

Supplement 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Staffing hospitals effectively and efficiently has become a difficult process due to the world wide shortage of nursing staff and increase costs of health care. This has led to an increase use of agency nurses, which now forms a large part of the workforce in both private and public hospitals. There are many problems related to the use of agency nurses for both the agency nurse and the hospital. Little is known regarding this workforce; therefore it is important to determine the experiences of nurses who work through the agency in the private hospitals. A qualitative research design with an exploratory and descriptive approach was used. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the participants. A semi-structured interview guide was used based on the general questions of the study and validated. Nurses were selected from one agency from all categories which included registered nurses, enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing assistants. Interviews were audio taped and transcribed. Most agency nurses described working through the agency as the only way to be employed and shared feelings of disappointment of not been employed permanently. Agency nurses shared their relationships with permanent staff as conflicting and difficult but shared that there was team work between them. The advantages of working through the agency appeared to be that the nurses were able to gain experience and grow through working as agency nurses. Disadvantages expressed by the nurses were the unreliable salaries and insecurity of their job. Some agency nurses choose to work through the agency because of the flexibility of working hours and control over their shift as well as to improve their monthly income. Some of the nurses described difference between private and public hospitals as a challenge because practices were different but some described the difference as a learning opportunity.

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