How Nurses Supplement Their Salary with Bank or Agency Shifts

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Nursing is one of the most rewarding professions, but it can also be challenging, both physically and emotionally. From ensuring patient safety to maintaining a good work-life balance, the demands can be overwhelming. That's why many nurses decide to supplement their salary with bank or agency shifts. In this blog post, we'll delve into the specifics of bank shifts and agency work, and explore the average bank rates for nurses in London across various specialties.

Bank shifts vs. agency work

Bank shifts and agency work refer to two different ways of working outside your regular nursing job. Bank shifts are shifts offered by the hospital or NHS trust where you're a permanent employee. Nurses can opt to work extra shifts, either to make extra money or to keep up their skills. Agencies, on the other hand, are private companies that are hired by healthcare facilities to source temporary staff. Nurses who sign up with agencies have the opportunity to work at various locations, sometimes at higher rates than the bank.

How to become a bank nurse

Working on the bank is a popular option for nurses who want to supplement their income. To become a bank nurse, you need to be a registered nurse with a valid nursing PIN. Your employer will then add you to the bank staff list, and you will receive notifications of available shifts. You can usually choose when and where you want to work, and the rate you'll be paid will depend on your skills and experience.

Average bank rates for nurses in London

According to recent surveys, the average bank rates for nurses in London range from £20 to £38 per hour, depending on the specialty. Nurses who work in critical care or high-dependency units (HDU) can earn the most, followed by theatre nurses, with rates of up to £38 per hour. Ward nurses and healthcare assistants can expect to earn between £20 and £28 per hour. Specialty nurses, such as those in oncology or cardiology, generally fall somewhere in between, with rates ranging from £24 to £30 per hour.

Pros and cons of working bank shifts

Like any job, bank nursing has its pros and cons. On the positive side, you can choose when you want to work, which gives you more control over your work-life balance. Additionally, you have the opportunity to gain experience in different specialties, which can help you develop your skills and advance your career. One of the main drawbacks is that bank shifts are not guaranteed, and you may have to deal with last-minute cancellations or changes. Additionally, you'll need to be self-disciplined when it comes to managing your availability and keeping up your skills without the usual support structure of a regular team and training budgets.


Supplementing your nursing salary with bank shifts can be a great way to make extra money, gain experience, and build your professional network. If you're considering it, keep in mind the pros and cons, and be prepared to adapt to new working conditions. With the average bank rates for nurses in London ranging from £20 to £38 per hour, depending on the specialty, there is certainly an opportunity to boost your income while becoming a more rounded healthcare professional.

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