Per Diem vs. Full Time

Per Diem vs. Full Time Workers: Who’s More Cost Efficient for Facilities?

Cost is a crucial consideration for healthcare facilities making hiring decisions. When it comes to whether it makes more financial sense to opt for per diem vs. full time nurses, you don’t have to compare associated expenses for long to see the major cost incentive of the per diem model. 

Per diem healthcare specialists provide facilities with the expertise they need to fill staffing gaps. Better yet, they do so without the need for additional administrative spending on things like paid time off, retirement, and overtime pay. Learn more about why per diem nurses are the most cost-effective solution for facilities and get the info required to make the wisest economic decisions for your organization. 

What is a PRN Employee in Healthcare?

To comprehend why it pays to hire per diem and PRN employees, it helps first to have a full understanding of the general PRN or per diem meaning in nursing, plus the many benefits these types of workers offer. (Do note, however, that while we use PRN and per diem interchangeably, other facilities and healthcare organizations have differing definitions. To avoid confusion, be sure to make it clear to those hired what your expectations are). 

Per diem and PRN nurses, while not employees in the true sense of the word, are temporary staff members brought in on an as-needed basis to fill staffing gaps and shortages and ensure high-quality care for patients. Healthcare roles that can be filled on a per diem or PRN basis include CNAs, BHTs, med techs, and certified caregivers, as well as both RNs and LPNs. 

Hiring per diem employees in healthcare is a way for facilities to avoid tricky (and costly) situations like staff burnout and excessive overtime pay. These types of workers can take on a single shift or multiple shifts over the course of weeks or months, depending on their own availability and the needs of the facility. In doing so, they provide facilities with top-notch talent at a much more affordable rate than new full-time staff members. 

Why Do Hospitals Hire Per Diem? It Starts with Cost Efficiency

Since 2020, the healthcare workforce has taken a major hit, leaving many hospitals and healthcare facilities to crunch the numbers of hiring per diem vs. full time staff members. 

Of course, costs aren’t the only factor to consider when making hiring decisions, but it’s hard to underestimate the per diem and PRN pay differential, especially in the face of ongoing staffing shortages. With that in mind, let’s look at some differences between per diem vs. full time pay and how such differences can save facilities money. 

4 Key Factors Behind the Per Diem and PRN Pay Differential 

The cost-efficiency of hiring per diem healthcare professionals over full-time employees comes down to several factors, each of which makes a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line.

  1. Hourly Rates Instead of Salary

Hospital expenses have increased significantly over the past few years, and that includes expenses related to salaries. By hiring per diem, healthcare facilities are able to cut overall spending on salaries by nixing cost factors like insurance costs and paid time off. This can quickly offset the sometimes-higher hourly wages of per diem or PRN nurses since there are no additional benefits to consider. 

  1. Less Spending on Training

It costs a lot to train a new nurse. Fortunately, per diem nurses tend to walk in the door with a higher level of training than their full-time counterparts, in addition to a more diverse range of on-the-job experience. The result is less spending on orientation and training and more time with a skilled worker on the floor. 

  1. Less Turnover Spending

Just as it costs a lot to hire somebody, it also costs a lot to replace them. As such, a significant cost benefit of hiring per diem vs. full time nurses is reduced costs on recruitment and training associated with employee turnover. If a per diem nurse or the facility hiring them decides it’s not a good fit, they can simply not schedule any more shifts. 

  1. Avoidance of Overstaffing Costs

One of the many reasons healthcare professionals choose to work per diem is that it affords them flexibility over their schedules. Facilities get flexibility, too, mitigating the risks of overstaffing and overtime pay and gaining the ability to adjust their staff based on patient demand. 

Start Hiring Per Diem Today

If cost efficiency is the goal, it’s hard to go wrong bringing on more per diem or PRN nurses and other professionals. Ready to take that all-important first step toward reducing out-of-control hiring costs? Visit our facilities page to join the nurseIO platform and quickly connect with per diem and PRN professionals with the skills, expertise, and availability to fill staffing gaps at your organization.

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