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Flexibility is the key

Sometimes in life, one group of professionals are disproportionately blamed for everything that is wrong with society — thus every banker was painted as a reckless gambler after the financial crash of 2008; journalists were collectively pilloried for the phone-hacking scandal; and estate agents ...well, they get blamed for pretty much everything else.

When it comes to healthcare, one group seems more routinely maligned than any other, whether for ballooning budgets or poor continuity of care. Despite plugging gaps in services, providing much needed holiday and sickness relief, and generally propping up creaking wards and community units, agency nurses often attract lurid headlines such as ‘How nursing agencies making billions are bleeding the NHS dry’ and ‘Trust pays an agency nurse Ł2,200 a day’. But behind the headlines, what is the truth about agency nurses? Are they really money-grabbing opportunists, or is there more to the role than meets the eye? I spoke to one agency nurse, Maggie Scott, to find out what motivates her to put flexibility above a full-time position.