The growing practice of hiring per diem employees in healthcare facilities is a result of the current nursing shortage. This worrying shortage of healthcare professionals may worsen in the coming decade—and in the meantime, healthcare employees are increasingly overworked and susceptible to burnout and absenteeism. To combat this, many facilities are turning to professional per diem workers to fill staffing gaps left by these full-time nurses and other essential healthcare workers.  

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper into the definition of per diem staffers, take a closer look at the benefits of short-term staffing, and compare and contrast the two main options available for hiring per diem healthcare professionals.

Per Diem Staffing Definition

In Latin, the phrase “per diem” means “for each day.” When it comes to staffing healthcare facilities, that’s typically what it’s referring to: temporary workers whose services you can hire by the day (sometimes referred to as PRNs, meaning “pro re nata” or “as needed.”) Facilities may need these professionals for just a single shift or for as long as a month.   

However, facilities, agencies, and staffing platforms may define this term differently. As requirements and benefits can vary greatly, requesting clarification from those you’re working with is recommended.

How Many Hours Can a Per Diem Employee Work?

The number of hours per diem professionals are required to work depends on who their employer is. If working directly through a facility as an employee, the amount of work depends on the set of rules and regulations established by that facility or hospital. When working as a per diem employee through an agency or as an independent contractor through an agency or staffing platform, the rules are subject to them. 

The Benefits of Per Diem Nurse Staffing

Per diem employees in healthcare facilities come with several distinct advantages. Whether you have per diem employees working directly for your facility or utilize local resources like the Nurseio app to bring on PRNs who are independent contractors, you can expect the following:

  • Cost Savings: Because per diem staff isn’t on permanent, full-time contracts, there are no employee benefits to cover, plus no sign-on bonuses or professional development and training costs.
  • Flexible Staffing Options: A big perk of per diem staffing is its flexibility, particularly when filling temporary shifts on an as-needed basis without hiring full-time staff. 
  • More Supported Workforce: Having more hands on deck, precisely when those hands are needed, means that permanent staffers won’t feel so overwhelmed and unsupported, two critical issues concerning burnout.
  • Temp to Permanent Potential: While you may only need a temporary solution, consistently working with a per diem professional allows you to assess their abilities and how well they fit with the team, which, in many cases, leads to a longer, more satisfying commitment for both parties.  

How to Hire a Per Diem Nurse

If you’re a healthcare provider struggling to find full-time employees or simply want the flexibility and cost savings that per diem nurse staffing offers, there are two main options to choose from:

  1. Traditional Healthcare Staffing Agencies – In the past, staffing agencies have been the only option for healthcare facilities to hire per diem professionals. Typically, these agencies either provide “travel nurses,” who are locked into a 13-week contract with a guarantee of around 40 hours per week, or “seasonal” nurses, who are under contracts that last three to six months.
  2. Healthcare Staffing Apps – In recent years, many healthcare facilities have begun turning to app-based technology platforms such as Nurseio to connect with local healthcare professionals looking for flexible work. Not only does this streamline the staffing process by off-loading HR and Payroll responsibilities, but it allows facilities to manage the current nursing labor shortage more efficiently and cost-effectively with no contracts. 

In addition to providing a true short-term, cost-effective solution to your staffing needs, an app-based platform like Nurseio can:

  • Minimize burnout
  • Provide workforce flexibility
  • Improve patient care
  • Save valuable time
  • Maintain compliance
  • Boost workplace morale

If you’re a healthcare facility looking for a web-based staffing platform to help flex your workforce and fill shifts, be sure to give Nurseio a try today!