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Nurse First News Blog

Per Diem Nursing - What do I need to know?

Posted March 4, 2019

Before you embark on a nursing career and the application process for it, ask yourself, “what nursing position is right for me?” The per diem nursing role is one you might want to consider. You might be wondering, what does per diem mean exactly? Translated, per diem means “by the day” and loosely translated it means “allowance or payment for each day”. In the nursing industry per diem essentially refers to a nurse needed day by day. A per diem nurse is brought on board to assist with shortages that occur at a facility for a variety of reasons. 

Per Diem Nursing at PRN Healthcare

At PRN Healthcare, the majority of our per diem nurses work within long term care facilities in WI and IL.  We do have per diem needs in our hospital settings in WI, IL, Michigan City, and MO as well. However, the frequency of needs is less and differs depending on the area. Currently, there are over 90 facilities in WI and over 70 in Illinois that we work with on a consistent basis!  We assist these facilities with their staffing shortages, whether predicted or last-minute openings.

A nurse is expected to work a minimum of four shifts per month.  This can be any four days, no requirements for weekends or holidays. Every employee keeps a calendar of availability online letting our schedulers know exactly which shift and what days they are available to work. As our facilities send us openings, we are simultaneously reaching out to our active nurses to fill the needs. Besides last minute daily openings, facilities give their needs to PRN Healthcare anywhere from 2-8 weeks ahead of time.  This helps us to solidify schedules for our nurses in advance. Per diem nurses can work the minimum of four shifts per month (supplemental income on their days off), part-time, or can elect to work on a full-time basis for PRN Healthcare.

Why Work Per Diem at PRN Healthcare?


I’m sure you’ve probably dreamed of working in a nursing position where you could create your own schedule (imagine being able to make it to every t-ball game or participate in every holiday tradition if you’d like, yay!), work the weekends and holidays you want (have I mentioned weekends and holidays are always paid at a higher rate as well?!), never be mandated, and be able to choose any shift you want. If you want all the benefits of working as an agency nurse, with the added flexibility to do it on your own terms, per diem nursing at PRN Healthcare may be for you! 

Trying New Facilities

Per diem work allows you to have the flexibility to move around to different facilities (a typical nurse works between 3-6 different places in their area) which can aid your personal development by giving you a well- rounded experience level to speak to. If you go to a facility and determine it’s not a fit for you, you don’t have to go back. A per diem nurse chooses where they want to work! With PRN Healthcare you can set preferred facilities for yourself so that you get notified first of their openings. This way we can assure you are able to go where you want when you want!


Thinking this all sounds great but not ready to take the plunge because you need insurance/benefits? Well, you’re in luck! PRN Healthcare does offer insurance and benefits to per diem employees that maintain our full-time status which is 30+ hours/week. We offer health, dental, and vision insurance as well as a great 401k plan as soon as you meet the qualifying criteria. Add to that a higher pay rate… who wouldn’t want to work in the world of per diem?!

Who Is Per Diem Not For?

If you have friends in the nursing profession that work per diem through an agency, you have probably asked yourself, “why am I not pursuing agency work?” When you begin to consider the ability to create your own schedule, the option to pick and choose where you work, no requirements of working on weekends or holidays, and a high pay rate…it is difficult to think of any reason you wouldn’t want to work per diem, right? While per diem nursing has many positives, it isn’t always for everyone – it takes a special nurse to fill per diem shoes. Here are a few reasons why per diem nursing may not be the right fit for you.

You Don’t Like Change

When you are in a per diem position, you have to be one of the most flexible people on the planet. Since per diem nurses are in high demand, you are typically only going to get one hour of orientation at each facility before your first shift. Nurses have to be ready to hit the ground running, and flexible to work wherever they are needed within the facility. They also need to be able to jump right in and start helping despite not always knowing the computer system, where everything is on the med cart, or what all the residents’ names are. Per diem nurses have to be willing to ask questions when necessary and step outside their comfort zones at new facilities that may do things differently than they are used to.

You Need a Set Schedule

Per diem RN jobs allow for flexibility when it comes to a schedule; however, there are no guaranteed schedules or set number of hours, which means that your shifts can be canceled at any given time.  It can be difficult to “bank” (pun intended) on a certain paycheck amount if a shift or shifts suddenly become unavailable. 

There may be days where, for example, only the PM shift is available when AM is your first preference. In order to get the hours they are looking for, a per diem nurse may need to be willing to work a variety of shift times. Is working per diem worth it? If you don’t have the flexibility to work a couple of different shifts or if you are a nurse that wants a 10-minute commute at all times, per diem nursing may not be for you.

The Choice is Yours!

As a recruiter, my job is to be open and honest with you about all the good and the bad. Though there are downfalls of working per diem, the perks are pretty darn good! Hopefully, I’ve laid out enough information for you to make the call if per diem nursing is right for you. Any additional questions? Give us a call!


Employee Applicant Statement

I certify that the information provided by me in this application is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that if I am employed, any false statements or omissions can lead to immediate dismissal, and I agree that Nurses PRN shall not be held liable in any respect if my employment is terminated for that reason. Nurses PRN is hereby authorized to verify the information I have supplied and to conduct any investigation of my personal history records. I authorize the companies, schools, and persons named in this application to give any information requested regarding my employment, character, and qualifications, and release and hold harmless Nurses PRN and the companies, schools, and persons from any liability. I understand and agree that if hired, my employment is at-will, for no definite period and may be terminated at any time without prior notice and without cause. I further understand that any offer of employment may be conditioned upon the results of a physical examination, including tests for the use of controlled substances in accordance with applicable laws.

If hired, I agree to abide by all rules and regulations of Nurses PRN, which I understand are subject to change by Nurses PRN at any time for any reason without prior notice.

Nurses PRN is an equal opportunity employer. Nurses PRN considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally-protected status. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or the interview process should notify Nurses PRN and request such accommodations.

Should an investigation or legal proceeding adversely affect my professional license/certification or ability to perform the functions of the job, I understand that I am obligated to immediately report said occurrence to Nurses PRN’s Chief Nursing Officer at 888-830-8811. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

I represent and warrant that I have read and fully understand the foregoing.


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