Per diem work is becoming increasingly common among nurses and other healthcare professionals. But while the ability to work when, where, and however much you want is considered a big win for many, there are still a number of misconceptions that hold others back from making the jump, especially in terms of things like job stability and pay.
So then, is working per diem worth it? Contrary to popular belief, there are a ton of benefits to per diem work, including competitive pay rates, flexible schedules, training and continuing education opportunities, and career autonomy.
Below, we’re breaking down common myths and misconceptions about per diem healthcare work to shine a light on what it’s really like to work per diem instead of in a full-time nursing position. From pay to networking potential, here’s what you need to know.
1. Is Per Diem Work Financially Rewarding?
It’s a myth that you forego premium pay when you take on per diem work. In fact, hour-by-hour, many per diem healthcare professionals end up earning more than their full-time counterparts due to high demand and the ability for facilities to eliminate costs related to retirement funds and PTO. And although hours aren’t guaranteed, there are usually more than enough shifts available for professionals to enjoy a comfortable salary, plus additional financial benefits like higher pay for overtime and shift differentials and tax deductions for work-related expenses.
2. Do Per Diem Workers Get Benefits and Job Security?
You won’t get benefits in the traditional sense when you work per diem (such as retirement, paid vacation, and sick days), but there are still plenty of other benefits to be had – including flexible schedules, higher hourly rates, and the ability to diversify your skills and experience.
As for job security, many professionals find that per diem work allows them to establish relationships and develop skills that can be put to use for further career development. The more facilities you bring your talents to, the more opportunities you have to network and show off the value of what you bring to the table.
3. Can You Per Diem as a Full-Time Nurse?
Whether or not you can per diem as a full-time nurse is largely dependent on where you work, rather than the limitations of the industry itself. For those who want to tackle both types of positions, all it takes is a quick check-in with your facility’s policy handbook or HR department so that you know the rules and regulations related to taking on PRN shifts. And if you get the go-ahead, you’ll be able to multiply your hours and pay without giving up your full-time gig.
4. Per Diem vs. Part Time: Are They Really That Different?
It makes sense to get confused by these two terms, but working per diem is actually quite different than working part time. Part-time employees are still employees after all, which means they have to commit themselves to a certain facility for a certain number of hours per week. They are also locked into a contract that may place additional restrictions on their time (for example, on-call requirements) and potential for increased pay and benefits.
Per diem nurses, on the other hand, have a lot more control over their careers, incomes, and schedules. There are no complex contracts to navigate and no minimum hours to meet. And if a facility isn’t a right fit, there’s no need to quit either – just don’t sign up for another shift.
Per diem vs. on-call is another key distinction worth noting here. While on-call nurses must hold availability for emergency coverage when regular staff members are unavailable, per diem professionals work as-needed, and are free to fill staffing gaps at their own convenience.
5. How Many Hours is Per Diem?
Myth: Not enough hours.
Truth: It varies greatly.
It’s true that there are no set hours as a PRN nurse, but per diem healthcare staff is in high demand throughout most of the country and many professionals have the ability to pick and choose their hours, working just a few hours or 40 hours or more. Ultimately, it’s more helpful to think of per diem hours in terms of flexibility instead of guarantees. Healthcare professionals who want to work part-time or engage in other commitments are able to do so, and those who want to work a full schedule generally have no trouble filling up their time.
Is Working Per Diem Worth It? Yes!
The facts around per diem healthcare work make it clear that there’s a lot to be gained from taking on these kinds of jobs. This is particularly true for healthcare professionals who are struggling with the burnout or lack of work-life balance that tends to come with full-time nursing.
If you’re ready to explore the benefits of PRN work firsthand, check out per diem healthcare jobs in your area to see what opportunities are available and to start signing up for open shifts.