What is a PRN nurse?
A per diem nurse is a nurse who is employed “by the day,” or as needed by a medical facility.
PRN is a Latin term for pro re nata, which translates in English to “as the situation demands.” Both “per diem nurse” and “PRN nurse” have essentially the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.
Whether your nursing job title is per diem nurse or PRN nurse means you only work when that institution has additional staffing needs that they cannot fill with their own “career” nursing staff. With the increasing needs of today’s healthcare environment – per diem nurses are in high demand, and many institutions are looking for a trusted per diem nurse staffing agency.
About per diem/ PRN nursing
Most hospitals have their unit of staffed per diem nurses. These nurses may be assigned to one particular group in a hospital or be resource nurses who cover many different specialties. Hospital staffing needs usually increase during holiday seasons or during high census times in the hospital (such as during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Searching for the best per diem nurse agency? There are nurse staffing agencies that set up outside nurses to work in hospitals with additional staffing needs. These nurses work for “per diem nursing agencies” and may end up working in various facilities. Often, these nurses might work a few shifts at one hospital, and then a shift in another facility, all in one week.
Per diem nurse vs. full-time nursing: What should I choose?
Most nurses work full time, at least for their first few years after graduating from nursing school. Novice nurses need to put the time in and develop their clinical and critical thinking skills. It takes many years to build up nursing expertise at the bedside, which is why I would never recommend that a new grad nurse work per diem. If you consider per diem as a nursing avenue for your career, make sure that you are experienced enough to manage the stress of working in many different working environments.
As a per diem nurse myself, I have found many benefits to working per diem that I would not have had if I worked as a “staff” or “career” nurse. If you are teetering on making a change into the per diem nursing environment, these are benefits of working as a per diem, or PRN, nurse.
Benefits of being a per diem/PRN nurse:
Higher pay then a career nurse
Per diem nurses are usually paid more money per hour than regular staff because they generally do not receive benefits, and do not have set hours.
Some states pay more per hour than others. For example, California is known for having a higher hourly wage than many other states with a lower cost-of-living, like South Dakota or Illinois. Per diem nurses in California have even been known to make over 15K or more in a single paycheck by working multiple days in a row, and taking advantage of overtime pay!
You can make your nursing schedule.
One of the most significant benefits of working per diem is that you can choose precisely when you want to work. As a working mom, it is much less stressful to know that you won’t be scheduled for a time you don’t have childcare.
Per diem, nurses can pick up seasonal work.
There are times when more nurses are needed to meet staffing needs, such as flu season or summer time. During the current COVID-19 global crisis, there are many hospitals with increased staffing needs in coronavirus “hot spots.” Per diem nurses who are willing to be flexible and work in new facilities have the opportunity to work more often.