What is a casual nurse?
A casual nurse is someone that fills in the gaps within staffing where a health facility may not have enough nurses working, this can happen for a few different reasons.
A casual nurse may be from any speciality within nursing and can have the flexibility to choose when they want to work.
A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from an employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days (or hours) they will work. A casual employee also does not commit to all work an employer might offer. (https://www.fairwork.gov.au 2019)
Why do I work casually?
Working casually gives me flexibility, I enjoy working in different healthcare settings, as I see a lot of new things almost every shift. That reminds me that no two shifts are ever the same, learning as a casual nurse is constant.
As a casual nurse, I don’t necessary have a ward that is my base and I know I will be working somewhere different on a shift by shift basis, rotating each day does make me feel like a newbie every time I go to a different ward. But I think overtime you become more adaptable and as a casual nurse I accept that I have to get used to that particular wards routines and systems pretty quickly. Over the years I have developed strategies to fit in the ward environment quickly, all whilst thinking on my feet.
Mind you, you might see me disorientated for a while, turning in circles, trying to find the linen cabinet, just direct me the right way, hehe.
Full-time casual nursing isn’t for everyone, many nurses do have a permanent job and may work a shift casually now and then to supplement their incomes as a little boost to their overall salary.
As a casual nurse, I see how different wards actually function and I can directly see the workplace cultures and dynamics of that area. Going from ward to ward, I like to see the workings of an area and I can compare what works well and what doesn’t.
Benefits of working casually-
- I can choose when and where I would like to work
- Experiencing different healthcare environments/settings
- Meeting new amazing people regularly
- Learning new things every shift
- Having new experiences and hearing new stories
- Opportunities to travel to different regions within Australia
Frustrations/negatives of working casually-
- Being booked for a ward then being cancelled at the last minute
- Mean nurses
- Seasonal downtime
- Not forming a permanent work base social/friendship group
- No accruement of annual leave, salary sacrifice, sick leave and long service leave
Even if I may be in a facility for a short period of time, I get to meet some truly inspiring healthcare professionals. The best part of being casual is working with great teams, when I feel included and part of that workplace, even for that one shift as it seems that the team is working in harmony and can be a positive experience for everyone.
Kind appreciation makes me feel I’ve done my bit & that helps me be ready to take on whatever the next shift brings.