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Mothers. What is our problem?March 30, 2019
Choosing a nanny agency to work with as a maternity nurse.
*A guest post by maternity nurse and private coach, Anna Wilk
Many of our clients are using agencies to find the right person to look after their precious newborn baby, with the baby industry being a common place for those using employment and recruitment agencies to seek or source work. The baby industry is also very competitive, and it’s none too different for the agencies operating within. Which is why it can be a difficult balancing act to finding a nanny agency to work with as a maternity nurse.
So when it comes to agencies, it’s important to distinguish that some nanny agencies operate nationally, or internationally, however more commonly, many nanny agencies tend to be of the ‘one woman band’ variety.
As a maternity nurse, some agencies specialise in VIP clients, some specialise in overseas work, and some will source night work. There are many different types of work you could choose from, you just need to make up your mind about what is it that you would like to do and who your ideal client is.
Recently, I’ve seen some Facebook posts in where night nannies and maternity nurses have aired their grievances about rates they were offered by agencies, and standards (or a lack there of). And to be honest, I’m surprised at how often this subject continues to come up. So why is there a problem?
> The Individual Maternity Nurse
On the one hand, we’re all self-employed or employed by our own companies. As a self-employed maternity nurse, you *should* have your own terms and conditions, financial goals, rates you set your time at, and your own ideas on how to run your precious “baby” (your business).
> The Agency
On the other hand, there are the agencies with their own terms & conditions, business objectives, set rates charged to the client, and firm strategies in regards to how they run their agency business.
The key here is that if you want to gain work through an agency, you need to accept their rules. It’s that simple, right? Well yes and no. Yes, because that is how things are whether you like it or not and you have to accept these terms if you’re going ahead and signing on the dotted line of a work agreement.
But that’s not to say that you don’t have control. Because on the other hand, you do have a choice as to which agencies you choose to work with, and to stay away from those that aren’t worth the trouble, ensuring both parties are participating in a mutually beneficial partnership.
So how do you choose the right agency to work with?
Firstly, you need to ask yourself a few simple questions.
- Are the agency’s values aligned with my values?
- Will they support me when something goes wrong in my booking?
- How good is their marketing? Meaning how likely is it that they’ll get the good jobs (not to be confused with the ‘shiny’ jobs).
- How organised are they, how thorough they are, and how well they communicate.
These are very simple questions. Unfortunately, I think many maternity nurses, nannies, and night nannies skim over these when looking for the right childcare agencies to work with.
I love connecting with people and it’s easy for me to reach out and connect with others, so when I first started out as a maternity nurse, it was easy or me to pick up the phone and organise a few interviews for the same day.
Some of the agencies I got in contact with became brilliant partners, and I never heard back from others. In another instance, I received a letter from those whom couldn’t make the time to speak with me directly, stating that I didn’t have enough experience. This was a shock to the system at first, but it confirmed my gut feeling that those particular agencies and I weren’t a good match and would not have a positive working relationship.
Once you find and connect with an agency that you feel is a great fit, do everything to keep the communication and relationship top notch. View the working relationship as the same as you would keep a good relationship with your accountant. Because a good agency is just like a good accountant; they’re worth their weight in gold!
A good agency will help you find work for months in advance, position your profile to the client in a way that reflects your experience and personality, and mediate with your client if things go a bit pear shaped during the placement.
When it comes to choosing a nanny agency to work with, you must remember one thing; the relationship goes both ways. Be loyal, be honest, and remember that while working for a client, you represent not only your business but also your agency’s business.
Read More: How To Get Started As A Maternity Nurse
But are good nanny and maternity nurse agencies unicorns?
I don’t think so.
You just need to do your research, and be thorough in your vetting process the same way you would vet a potential client. You need to be proactive and pick up the phone, write an email, and arrange an interview. Ensure sure you have your documents in order, that you’ve presented yourself professionally, and have a great reference to support your position. The first impression goes a long way!
>>> Do you have a story to tell about your great relationship with an agency?
I would love to hear it! Connect with me over my Facebook group where other successful Birth and Baby Professionals hang around and share their wisdom and support each other. You can also connect with Anna on Instagram and Pinterest. // Anna Wilk, Birth and Baby Biz Pro
Anna Wilk is a passionate business coach for Birth and Baby professionals, helping other successful maternity nurses, sleep consultants, and antenatal teachers build and grow heartfelt businesses. Anna also has over 20 years experience in childcare and has been working as a maternity nurse, baby consultant and postnatal doula. She lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, loves countryside walks, kundalini yoga and good food.
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Anna Wilk is a mentor and business coach for Birth and Baby Professionals, she’s also a doula, maternity nurse, and author of the “Made With Love: Your Baby” baby diary.