Whether you need the flexibility to work odd hours or you want to try nursing in several different fields before settling for one, per diem nursing may be the solution for you. But what is this style of nursing and why do so many professionals prefer it? At Coast Medical Service, we have the answers to help you figure it all out. Check out our break down of the benefits and downsides of working per diem, plus how to make it work for your needs.
Latin for “per day,” Per Diem is a style of temporary nursing that ensures you get paid premium wages in any hospital or clinic in your area. This type of nursing isn’t the same as a stable job and only requires you to work when a specific facility needs more staff at times where there is an unusually high number of people coming in. Flu season, natural disasters, and epidemics are some of the common reasons a facility may hire a per diem nurse.
When you work per diem, there are a number of benefits you can enjoy that help you balance your work life and personal needs including:
As a nurse in this capacity, you can work at more than one place each week and enjoy interacting with new people every day. With no commitment to any one hospital, you can build connections and develop a strong network that will help you achieve success. You can also always pick up last-minute shifts any time!
If you already have a full-time nursing position, you generally still have four days off each week for other work opportunities. If you can’t work overtime in your current position, reach out to a staffing agency for help finding per diem jobs that add to your weekly paycheck. Just make sure that your per diem job isn’t in the same healthcare system as the one you’re currently in. Even if it’s in a different hospital, the system may be the same and you’ll end up going against the rules or technically working overtime. A recruiter can help ensure there is no overlap.
A per diem nurse also generally makes a higher hourly wage than traditional positions, as there are no benefits included for per day positions. If you’re considering leaving a full-time position to be per diem, calculate how much your benefits are worth compared to the pay raise you’ll be getting to make sure it’s actually a good fiscal choice.
While the benefits of being per diem are amazing, there are a few downsides you have to consider. For one, you aren’t offered benefits because you aren’t working for any one facility full time. You also aren’t guaranteed any hours. If it’s not flu season or there is no major need for extra hands, you could be stuck without any work. Being proactive with your recruiter may be enough to help offset slow seasons, but there’s always a chance that money may be tighter for some months.
Finally, you may end up working in units that you don’t like. Since a per diem position might require you to float between units, depending on who needs extra assistance most, you could find yourself in a position that you really don’t want to work.
While Coast offers tons of help for nurses who prefer per diem positions, we’re a flexible staffing agency that also works with Travel Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Licensed Vocational Nurses. If you have any questions about which style of nursing is best for your needs, reach out to a recruiter today to learn more!