A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Being A Per Diem Travel Nurse

Author: Coast Medical Service

Posted: April 2, 2021

Travel Nursing

A traveler experiencing the benefits of being a per diem travel nurse

Per diem registered nurse jobs are often the best way to gain experience and make extra money in the medical field. But most professionals don’t know everything they should about what those gigs actually involve, especially when they combine per diem and travel. So we at Coast Medical Service put together this list of a few things you might not know about working as a per diem travel nurse!

Per Diem Nursing And PRN Nursing Are Not The Same

“Per diem” is Latin for “per day.” Working per diem registered nurse jobs means that you only get paid for the days you work. On the other hand, PRN is short for “pro re nata,” which is Latin for “as needed.”

PRN nursing means that you’re employed by a specific unit, and while there’s still some flexibility, you have to meet the minimum requirements of that unit, like a certain number of weekend or holiday shifts, to maintain employment. While they’re both similar, a per diem nurse has a little more flexibility, since they don’t have to meet any minimums.

Per Diem Travel Nursing and PRN Nursing Are Extremely Similar

Despite everything said in the section above, a per diem travel nurse specifically is very close to a PRN nurse. They’ll be sent to a location by their agency for a given amount of time, provide their availability, and then be guaranteed a certain number of hours or shifts within that time.

That’s why a per diem travel contract is also known as a hybrid contract. A nurse working one will have to meet a minimum number of hours or shifts within the boundaries of their contract. The only difference is that they can pick and choose which contracts they want to work, instead of being employed by a single unit with the same regular needs.

You Don’t Have To Stick To Your Primary Nursing Specialty

If you’re looking to switch specialties, looking for per diem registered nurse jobs is a great way to test the waters. So long as you have some training, taking a few shifts in the specialty you’re looking to move into, like ICU or telemetry, can prove if you actually like doing the work without having to commit to it long-term.

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to try a new specialty that you have absolutely no training in. But if you want to change your career path and make some extra money at the same time, getting a per diem travel nurse gig in that area is the best first step.

A woman working a per diem registered nurse job

Per Diem Nurses Make Higher Wages Than Regularly Employed Nurses

If you’re looking at take-home pay alone, then it’s true! Working per diem will net you a higher rate than the nurses who work a full-time job at the same hospital. There’s a reason for that: the hospital doesn’t have to pay you benefits for your work.

This is an ideal situation for nurses looking to moonlight and pick up a little extra money. But before you quit your full-time job to become a per diem travel nurse, be sure to do the research into the agency you’d be working with. Some provide great benefits, but not all, and those monetary gains can quickly diminish when you have to pay for your own insurance.

A Per Diem Nurse Can Be Employed By More Than One Hospital System

Not only can a per diem nurse be employed by more than one hospital system, but it may even be a prerequisite. Hospitals usually want to avoid paying overtime to nurses, even if they’re working in a different unit or location. And, despite getting per diem travel nurse gigs through an agency, if you’re putting in the hours for the same employer, that’s exactly what they’ll have to do.

Of course, check your own hospital’s rules if you do also have full-time employment. And if you don’t, it widens up your options dramatically when you can work anywhere, so long as you have the right licenses for that state.

Working as a per diem travel nurse is a great way to get knowledge, experience, and a little extra cash. If you want to dip your toe in the water of a new location or specialty, there might not be a better way to do it!

Share This Article

Related Blogs