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A Nursing Agency (also known as Nurses Agency or Nurses Registry) is a business that provides nurses and usually health care assistants (such as Certified Nursing Assistants) to people who need the services of healthcare professionals. Nurses are normally engaged by the agency on temporary contracts and make themselves available for hire by hospitals, care homes and other providers of care for help during busy periods or to cover for staff absences. Some nurses may be seconded to private clients who choose to receive their nursing care within their own homes. English nursing agencies are regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
In the United States, they are also called nurse registries. It is a staffing agency which may provide per diem or locum tenens nursing personnel to hospitals, medical offices and individuals. They are generally small, privately owned businesses. They are also known as "nursing pools" and "nursing staffing agencies". A Nursing Registry as defined (for example) in Florida Statutes 400.462: "Nurse registry" means any person that procures, offers, promises, or attempts to secure health-care-related contracts for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, home health aides, companions, or homemakers, who are compensated by fees as independent contractors, including, but not limited to, contracts for the provision of services to patients and contracts to provide private duty or staffing services to health care facilities licensed under chapter 395, this chapter, or chapter 429 or other business entities.
In Singapore, nursing registry is controlled by Singapore Nursing Board who categorized the nurses into Registered Nurse and Enrolled Nurse. One of the most prominent Nursing Agency is Nicole Consultancy Pte Ltd who has huge database of registered nurses and enrolled nurses. They provide excellent customer service and great track records since 2002.
As with other staffing agencies, a large amount of capital is necessary to operate, since nurses must be paid by the registry as often as they work, but the hospital or other institution utilizing the services of the registry might not pay the registry until several months after the work has been done. Profit margins for this type of business go between 4% and 70%.
Nurse staffing is a seasonal business. During holidays, hospitals often pay their staff overtime pay, and thus the need for external staffing services is diminished. An opposite effect is felt during summer time vacations, when staff employees at hospitals take time off and the services of the nurse registry are in greater need.
Nurse staffing is very demanding and requires a high degree of care and responsibility. There are many liability issues which must be kept in mind. Claims of negligence and inappropriate actions by the registry's nurses may result in lawsuits over bodily injury. Malpractice insurance must be carried by the registry.
As a result of these inherent pitfalls and the progress of web technologies, many nurse staffing agencies evolved to online job boards, which would allow them to match registrered nurse candidates with employers' nursing jobs. The web has transformed the nurse staffing industry, making it a more real-time process. Also, by offering direct contact between the candidates and employers, online staffing sites eliminate much of the liability involved in traditional nurse staffing.