Per diem jobs empower nurses as equal partners in determining their work schedule, offering them a flexible, high-paid work option and allowing them to choose shifts in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or other healthcare centers. This sense of autonomy allows nurses to actively shape their careers and lifestyles while enjoying the benefits of diverse work environments and competitive compensation.
What Is Per Diem Nursing, and What are PRN Shifts?
Per diem literally means “per day,” and in nursing it refers to working jobs by the shift. Nurses decide which available shifts are right for their lives.
The healthcare community also uses the term PRN—derived from the Latin phrase “pro re nata,” meaning “as needed”—interchangeably with “per diem.” The shifts vary, but typically last from six to 12 hours and can be on days, evenings, or nights—just like regular nursing shifts, with duties based on the unit, organization, and professional qualifications.
What Experience Is Required to Be a Per Diem Nurse?
Standardly, at least one year of experience is required to pick up shifts in a specialized hospital unit, as there is no time for on-the-job training when it comes to PRN nursing. However, new graduates may be hired in certain healthcare settings.
For example, a new graduate would never be hired for a per diem shift in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU), but they may very well be hired for a shift at an assisted living facility.
What Advantages Does Per Diem Nursing Hold for You?
With its independent mindset, per diem nursing provides a path to finding relief from nursing burnout, enjoying higher pay rates, experiencing diverse work environments, strengthening adaptability and skills, and building your network—all elements that can shape a nurse’s career in various ways.
Here are some of the top features of per diem work for nurses:
1. Flexibility – A Relief from Nursing Burnout
Since the jobs are short-term —usually one shift at a time— per diem nurses find they can muster their energy to provide untiring professional care, knowing that at the end of the shift, the commitment is over; they are free.
They can find and schedule more jobs if that is the priority, or they can allow themselves more time for family, self-care, further education or maybe sports or music.
Nursing burnout is a critical concern, demanding our serious attention, with a 2020 survey showing that 62% of nurses experience this burden, and a still higher percentage among younger nurses.
To learn how to deal with stress read about Emotional Intelligence for Rewarding Nursing.
2. Higher Pay
Beyond flexibility and dealing with burnout, the most attractive advantage of per diem nursing is the pay (yes, the pay!).
Per diem nurses usually earn a far higher hourly rate compared to their staff counterparts. This is partly due to the urgency and sometimes last-minute nature of per diem work, often covering unpredictable shifts, filling in on weekends and holidays, or handling higher patient acuity. The pay is even higher on holidays or for last-minute vacancies.
You can check out the pay offered for per diem work through the Nursa website.
3. Enhanced Professional Adaptability and Skill Development
One of the often overlooked advantages of per diem nursing is the unique opportunity it provides for nurses to develop their professional adaptability and skills. Encountering diverse healthcare settings and patient scenarios demands a high level of flexibility and resourcefulness from per diem nurses. Embracing these challenges helps you quickly adapt to new environments, protocols, and team dynamics, making you all the more versatile and adaptable as a healthcare professional.
Furthermore, exposure to a wide range of medical cases allows per diem nurses to continually expand their skill set and enrich their professional expertise, staying abreast of the latest advancements in healthcare and ultimately bolstering their long-term career growth and success.
4. Knowing Your Options in Terms of Work Environment
As a per diem freelancer, you have the chance to work in various healthcare facilities and environments. This allows you to gain first-hand experience with different institutional cultures, patient populations, and medical practices, facilitating practical knowledge to make an informed selection of work environments that best suit your own personality, needs, and preferences.
Working in diverse facilities, you develop a better sense of what you may be looking for in a long-term position and a broader grounding for decisions on your career path.
5. Expanding Your Professional Network
Per diem nursing brings you into contact with many more healthcare professionals, including nurses, doctors, administrators, and support staff, and opens doors to developing meaningful professional connections. These contacts can prove invaluable for career growth, as they may lead to future job opportunities, mentorship possibilities, or referrals. Additionally, a robust professional network provides access to valuable insights and knowledge sharing within the healthcare community, enhancing a per diem nurse’s overall understanding of the industry.
In addition to meeting and working with many professionals and organizations, the flexibility of per diem work makes it easier for you to attend nursing conferences, which is ideal for networking.
Actively pursuing per diem opportunities allows nurses to reap the benefits of higher pay and flexibility while investing in their professional development. This investment fosters increased resilience, knowledge, and adaptability, shaping them into highly adept and skilled healthcare professionals.
How Do Professionals Find Per Diem Nursing Jobs?
Say goodbye to the hassle of finding nursing jobs! With Nursa, RNs, CNAs, LPNs, and other nurses can easily connect with hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare organizations needing personnel.
The app is easy to use, and once you upload your license and Nursa verifies it, you can browse the available shifts, choose one or more, and apply. Your next shift could be just a click away!