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Agency Nursing Rates: Learn How Much You Can Earn

June 21, 2022

If you have ever wondered about the best agency nursing rates, how they compare, or simply whether your agency is paying enough, then hopefully this article will help, as these are the questions we’ll be tackling.

First, let’s look at nurse salaries in Australia and the standard starting income for a newly qualified registered nurse. As an example, we know that in the New South Wales public healthcare sector, a newly qualified registered nurse makes on average around $62,400 per annum. Now for experienced registered nurses, we know they generally earn on average $87,620 per annum. Junior nurses’ salaries are well below the Australian average wage of $83,454, which is why so many Australian nurses are looking for ways to boost their income.

In Australia, casual labour-hire employment and temporary work have been on the rise for the last 20 years and the number of permanent positions has fallen. While there are obvious benefits to working casually, like freedom over when and where nurses work and higher pay rates, there are downsides which should be considered too, such as lack of job security.

One way nurses can boost their income is by signing up to work for a nursing agency, but how much can you earn working for a nursing agency? Let’s find out.

Average Agency Rates for Nurses

A casual shift in a hospital will earn you an extra 18% (for a public hospital) or 25% (in a private hospital), whereas an agency nurse can earn an extra 45% on top of the base rate. In these three arrangements, this increased rate of pay is to compensate for the loss of sick leave, annual leave and the lack of income security.

This extra money is well-deserved. Agency nurses often take on shifts or have their shifts cancelled at the last minute. They are relied upon to hit the ground running and have the ability to quickly build relationships with new colleagues and work in varying environments with people they don’t know.

The average salary for an agency nurse in Australia is $52.91 per hour. Salaries vary widely by capital city (with Brisbane topping the list and Hobart coming in last according to data averaged by Indeed). The average hourly rate in Sydney is $49.86.

So, yes, the average nursing agency rate is higher, and for good reason, as explained above. However, the high fees that traditional nursing agencies charge hospitals are a significant downside to being an agency nurse, because these fees force hospitals to restrict their use of on-demand nurses.

So where can you find casual work? We are glad you asked.

Alternatives to Nursing Agencies?

In Australia, uPaged is the new alternative to nursing agencies. Nurses who are looking for casual shifts can sign up with uPaged, an online platform that connects nurses with hospitals that need shifts filled.

Want to Know Your Nursing Casual Rate of Pay Across Australia?

Your actual pay would depend on factors such as location and experience. Let’s take a deep dive into these factors and understand how you can improve your take-home salary. 

Location  – Your location will affect your salary. Generally, nurses living and working in rural areas can make more money than those in metropolitan areas. This is primarily due to a case of demand and supply. There are more nurses in cities and employers have more candidates to choose from compared to rural areas. 

On the other hand, there’s a scarcity of nurses working in remote areas and they are in greater demand. They are paid an extra allowance which can include travel and accommodation expenses.

Experience – Your experience can play a big role in the salary you earn. For example, an RN/MW1 working casually in a private hospital earns $39.48 while an RN/MW8 can make $55.43.

Qualification – A higher level of qualification is a pathway to senior and high-paying roles. Nursing practitioners earn more than registered nurses as their positions require more certifications, clinical hours and higher levels of education.

Specialisation – Nursing has a lot of specialities – aged care, mental health, perioperative, critical care and many more. Specialised roles attract more benefits and take-home pay 

Check your Rates 

Are you interested in learning your rates when you sign up for casual nursing shifts at uPaged? Simply enter your location, grade, experience and your email address. 

Rates calculator





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Why uPaged is a More Cost-effective Solution?

uPaged was founded and is run by an Australian nurse, whose aim is to provide an alternative to costly recruitment agencies and connect nurses to work that suits their unique skills and experience.

uPaged is a new platform that charges hospitals minimal fees in order to increase the availability of on-demand work for nurses. It’s different to a nursing agency in that it’s a marketplace that profiles nurses and hospitals, allowing both to make an informed choice over their shift or workplace.

Because uPaged keeps fees low, it allows employers to spend money on attracting and retaining quality staff. This means that instead of healthcare facilities paying large commissions to recruitment agencies, employers can offer higher rates to the nurses doing the actual work. #winning

About uPaged

The platform is fully transparent with a two-way rating system for hospitals and nurses. This transparency enables nurses to see which hospitals they would prefer to book with because nurses and employers will be able to see how often either party has cancelled a shift at late notice.

Obviously, nurses elect to choose a more reliable hospital with a lower cancellation rate, than those hospitals which are notorious for cancelling nurses at short notice leaving them out of work and out of pocket. On the flip side of this, hospitals are able to book more reliable nurses, the ones they are confident will turn up for their shift and not leave them understaffed at late notice.

Employers can see the nurse’s work history, skills, references and qualifications before booking, and nurses can see the location, hospital information (including any available parking and uniform) and rate of pay offered. After the shift, both employer and nurse are able to review each other accordingly.

Check out how uPaged compares to traditional nursing agencies on the website Nurse In Australia. If you like how what we do differs from traditional nursing agencies, write us a review on our Nurse In Australia – uPaged profile.

Join uPaged

If you’re a nurse with more than 12 months of work experience, joining is simple and easy. Simply upload your paperwork and start building your profile straightaway. You can sign up using the uPaged app, build your profile and book shifts, all from your phone.

Once your profile is verified and you’ve completed your police check, you’re ready to book shifts and be in control of when and where you want to work. You’ll enjoy a direct connection to hospitals that want you for your skills, with better allocations to patients that suit your experience. Click here to find out more.

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