Per Diem vs. Travel Nursing—Which Option Is Best for You?

Working Nurse

After you’ve put in the years of schooling and training to become a registered nurse in Southern California, you might have found yourself wondering if you’re going to be stuck working at the same medical facility that hired you after you received your license. Sure, the pay is good and your coworkers are nice – but what if you’re tired of walking down the same halls and seeing the same faces on every shift?

If you love your job as a nurse but are seeking variety in your workplace, Coast Medical Service has a solution for you, as well as a solution for the nurse staffing shortages at medical facilities in your area. Working as a per diem nurse allows you to provide lifesaving services to patients all over Southern California and also allows you a change of scenery and flexible work hours. These advantages to nurses seeking a fresh location and more variety explain why more and more are choosing per diem or travel nursing.

Per Diem – Maximum Control of Your Day-to-Day Adventure

From the Latin, meaning “by the day,” per diem nursing allows RNs to control their work schedule on a day-by-day basis. Working per diem means you literally can build a schedule that is tailored 100% to your preferences – from the hospitals you work at to your weekly schedule to which shifts you wish to clock in for.

The Good Stuff


While some individuals may relish the thought of having daily control of their work schedule, other people might simply prefer the stability of having a schedule and a routine. In addition, landing consistent shifts as a per diem nurse will still require you to be flexible. The available shifts may not always fall in line with your ideal hours and locations, so you’ll have to decide how to balance your own lifestyle preferences with the needs of local hospitals. Ultimately, it’s about what you feel comfortable with.

Travel Nursing – Change Your Workplace With Every Season

For those of you who enjoy a change of scenery but prefer having a little more structure to their work schedules, travel nursing may be the better option in the per diem vs. travel nursing debate.

As a travel nurse, you establish a contract with a hospital (most assignments are for 13 weeks) and work an agreed-upon schedule as part of the regular staff. Coast Medical Service has relationships with hospitals from San Bernardino to LA to San Diego, and we can help you find the ideal situation for both parties involved.

The Good Stuff


While being a travel nurse does offer you the freedom to see new places, it also means less freedom to choose your own schedule. You may even be required to work holidays or weekends during your contract period. Those shifts would need to be negotiated and settled on before you start, so know going in that you may have to spend a holiday at the hospital while the rest of the staff gets the day off.

Choosing the Best Career Option

Travel Nursing Career

On either side of the per diem vs. travel nurse discussion, the primary thing to take into account is what you want and need in your life.

Ultimately, both career paths offer more control of your working life by giving you the freedom of choice. The debate between the two options may simply boil down to this:

Coast Medical Service Can Help You Decide

Figuring out which option works best for you is something that you can discuss with the team at Coast Medical Service. We are determined to make sure that you find the best travel nursing jobs to fit your skills, needs, and wants – and our four decades of experience means that we can help you choose what’s best for you. Connect with Coast today, and let us work with you to find that perfect assignment!

July 20, 2019Career, Diem Nurse, Travel NursingCharles Stover

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