by Jason P. Smith
More money and flexibility are the two main reasons most nurses decide to become agency nurses, and those are pretty compelling motivators. For three nurses at Parker Adventist Hospital, however, those reasons didn’t outweigh the benefits of becoming part of the staff in Parker.
Alina Lougheed, RN, who works on the OB/NICU floor at Parker had been a Centura employee off and on for a number of years. She went to agency nursing about two years ago, but recently signed on as a staff nurse at Parker in November of this past year.
"I love it here," Lougheed said. "I love the staff, and I love the facility. I think the staff here was my main reason for coming on board.
"I went from Porter to Littleton and did eight years at Littleton," she said. "I had some things going on in my life and I wasn’t able to commit myself, so I went to agency because of the flexibility. I started coming here to Parker through the agency and liked it – the facility is beautiful."
Lougheed gave up the flexibility of agency nursing, but also made a commitment to a substantial drive each time she goes to work as well. "I commute over 45 minutes to get here each day, so it definitely isn’t for the sake of convenience that I signed on," she said. "I really like the staff and the facility.
"The staff did it for me – that was really it. I enjoy the people here – they are genuine, caring and very open, welcoming and appreciative."
According to Lougheed, the staff didn’t have the typical attitude towards agency nurses that she saw in other hospitals. "That attitude of ‘oh, you’re an agency nurse,’ never came up here," she said. "Instead, we got the attitude of ‘welcome – we’re glad you’re here and thanks for doing such a good job,’ which is really nice to hear."
Angela Graham, RN, in Acute Care also made the jump from agency to staff at Parker. She worked both as a traveler and an agency nurse for a number of years and seen a lot of different facilities, but decided to become a staff nurse at Parker.
"I’ve worked in almost every hospital in Denver," Graham said. "I really liked it here. I was coming out here regularly on assignments and I really liked it out here. I live in Highlands Ranch, so it’s only about a 20 minute drive, and I really like everyone I work with, which is very rare."
John Martin, RN, PACU recovery is a staff nurse at Parker, but also still works as an agency nurse as well.
"I came here and really enjoyed the environment and things kind of started falling together with my life and my career, so this seemed like a good opportunity to take advantage of at the time," Martin said. "I really enjoyed the people when I came here."
"As an agency nurse, you meet a lot of different people and are put in a lot of different situations, but have a place you really enjoy coming to is a big deal," Lougheed said. "There’s a lot of teamwork here and a real opportunity to do things differently."