Per Diem Nursing: Everything You Need to Know!

Those who work as per diem nurses love their career’s flexibility and freedom.

Rather than working a set schedule at a specific location, per diem nurses select their agendas based on their availability.

They also have numerous opportunities to work at various facilities throughout the state.

If you love nursing but want more flexibility and a better work-life balance, per diem nursing may be for you.

It’s also excellent for those unsure about remaining within the nursing profession.

As a result, those working as per diem nurses enjoy the advantages and pay of nursing without the stress.

The information presented here offers as much accurate information as possible.

However, always review your per diem agreements and contracts, as they may vary from the specifics mentioned in this post. 

This article covers the pros and cons of per diem nursing. With that said, let’s begin with the 14 excellent benefits of becoming a per diem nurse.

1. Better Work Schedule Flexibility

Perhaps the best part of per diem nursing is customizing your work schedule.

This profession is ideal for those who want work adaptability and aren’t interested in being tied to a specific full-time schedule.

If you enjoy vacations or need time off, you don’t have to ask permission to take days off.

Another benefit is choosing not to work weekends and holidays!

It’s great for nurses who don’t want to miss important family events or specific times of the year.  

With that said, you only get paid for the time you work.

Therefore, you won’t make money if you decide not to pick up the extra hours.

You book work shifts depending on the hospital’s needs to establish your weekly schedule.

It means taking shifts that are either pre-scheduled or receiving calls for same-day work shifts.

Taking on same-day calls is excellent for nurses that have a slow day and want to earn extra money.

You aren’t required to accept the work shift and can decline the offer.

Nevertheless, determine your work agreement to make sure you fulfill your work obligations as a per diem nurse.

Your best option is to work with multiple agencies and healthcare institutions to be successful as a per diem nurse.

It allows you to negotiate wages better and maintain regular hours at locations that need openings filled.

Finally, per diem nursing is a great way to earn extra money for nurses with another full-time job.

You pick up additional hours in your free time and earn an excellent wage for your services.

2. Per Diem Nurses Make Good Money

Per diem nurses earn money at an hourly rate, just like full-time nurses.

However, most per diem nurses earn higher hourly wages than full-time and PRN nurses for their services.

As a result, full-time per diem nurses can earn more than general registered nurses.

In some ways, this is a best-of-both-worlds opportunity.

It allows more freedom to customize your schedule, and you can earn more money for working as a nurse.

That said, some facilities don’t always guarantee steady hours in this line of work.

Therefore, you must determine whether pursuing full-time per diem work is right for you.

Whether you have another job, want to make extra money, or enjoy better schedule flexibility, per diem nursing is a good option.

To make the most of your income, per diem work can be combined with another profession or utilized as a second job for full-time nurses.

Even those working strictly as per diem nurses can earn extraordinary incomes with the proper contract and opportunities.

3. Numerous Assignment Opportunities

Per diem nurses can be employed by several agencies, per diem contract services, hospitals, or healthcare facilities!

It allows them to select multiple job openings and choose the best shifts for their schedule.

Nurses who work for large institutions can work at various hospitals within the organization.

It’s outstanding for nurses who love operating in different states, settings, and locations.

If you sign up with several agencies and hospitals, you can customize your schedule and choose rewarding work.

In fact, for some per diem nurses, this is the primary reason they love their occupation.

Not having to work at the exact location every day and variation in work shifts provides good variety and satisfaction.

4. Great Career Diversity

Another benefit of per diem nursing is the diversity of nursing professions you can explore.

Those interested in trying alternative fields can pursue scheduled openings within their practice scope.

As a result, you can learn about new technologies, expand your skill set and explore alternative career paths.

For nurses unsure which career specialization is correct, per diem nursing lets you explore work in various settings.

5. Per Diem Contracts

Per diem contracts provide benefits for nurses that want to travel and make money while away from home.

Perhaps, the best part of per diem contracts is that if the facility cancels your shift, you can still get paid for work (based on the contract).

Compared to non-per-diem contracts, you don’t get paid for canceled shifts.

That said, make sure you determine your contractual agreements before accepting work.

It can vary widely per assignment basis!

A per diem contract is an agreement that specifies your allotted daily allowance while away from home.

These contracts occur when a per diem nurse works outside their general area.

The purpose of the allowance is to cover travel expenses necessary to perform work duties.

It may include money for food, hotels, travel, and related expenses.

Per diem contracts are essential because unavoidable expenses could affect your earnings.

To cover those expenses, hospitals/institutions hire you upfront the cost or reimburse your expenses. 

That said, their pay depends on the location and the employer.

Therefore, you’ll want to determine your expenses/earnings before taking the contract.

Another benefit of contracts is that you’re guaranteed regular hours during the contract’s life.

Some per diem nurses obtain 30 – 40 hours per week during their contractual arrangement.

Combined with the freedom of travel, this is great for those that want to see new locals and experience different locations.

Finally, per diem contracts require nurses to adhere to specific policies and agreements.

As a result, you want to carefully read the agreements and ensure you can comply with their concessions.

Benefits of Contract Work

  • Travel expense reimbursement
  • Opportunities for increased hourly wages
  • Stable hours while on assignment
  • Chance to visit new locations
  • Ability to network and establish connections

Although there are other benefits to doing contract work, these benefits are incredibly enticing.

You travel, make money, establish relationships, and have unparalleled experiences.

6. Fewer Workplace Politics

Although many nurses love their jobs, not everyone enjoys workplace politics.

As a per diem nurse, you work your schedule and go home for the day.

It’s great for those that don’t want to deal with the day-to-day politics of a particular facility.

Furthermore, per diem nurses can work at numerous locations when taking on assignments.

It allows them to determine the facilities they enjoy working for and focus on those locations.

If you love a specific place, you can even seek full-time employment if they have an open position.

7. Possibility of starting a Side Hustle

For entrepreneurial nurses that want more occupational versatility, per diem nursing gives you the freedom to pursue a side hustle.

It’s excellent for nurses that have an interest they’d like to invest more time into and understand.

Numerous nurses have gone on to start financially successful blogs, brands, and nursing products.

For those who don’t want to start a business but still want to explore other passions, you can also pursue those interests.

The additional flexibility in time allows for many career opportunities and hobbies.

8. Excellent Work Experience

Diverse and experienced work backgrounds can benefit nurses looking to enter specific specialties.

As a per diem nurse, you can examine numerous settings, develop skills, and network with medical professionals.

It helps you establish a professional nurse resume that is beneficial when looking for full-time employment.

You also benefit from examining different healthcare facilities, nursing specialties, and environments.

In turn, you’ll be more informed when determining which career path you want to pursue.

Finally, you to establish beneficial relationships that help you obtain employment if you decide to go full-time.

Per diem nursing is about diversity, schedule flexibility, experience, and building relationships.

9. Less Burnout

Working full-time as a registered nurse in an active hospital can be stressful and lead to burnout.

It’s challenging for nurses that want to stay motivated throughout the years.

Therefore, reducing your hours, taking less demanding jobs, and changing the pace keeps things interesting and exciting.

Whether you need a break from full-time work or want to reduce burnout, per diem nursing allows you to work a less stressful schedule.

10. Better Job Security

Those concerned with job security or non-permanent work can supplement their income as per diem nurses.

It helps those with separate careers that may not be stable or long-term to earn additional income.

Nurses also used per diem work when their main job had layoffs due to unexpected circumstances.

For per diem nurses, this occupation is a security blanket and a second source of income.

When you need extra hours, you can take additional shifts to compensate for the revenue you’re no longer receiving from your other job.

11. Great for Maintaining Your Resume

Employers want to ensure that you maintain steady employment when seeking employment at various jobs.

Therefore, per diem nursing allows you to keep your resume up to date and fill in employment gaps when you aren’t working full-time.

Few things are as crucial for nurses as keeping a clean and established resume.

Those working per diem shifts can more easily explain taking time off from their regular job.

Plus, the continued work experience shows you can perform your duties effectively and are up to date on the latest nursing practices.

Even if you need a break from nursing, you can take limited per diem work.

It might involve working one shift per week or several shifts monthly.

12. Essential for Remaining Active as a Nurse

For nurses that no longer want to work full-time but desire to maintain a healthcare career, per diem nursing provides an excellent balance.

It’s essential for those that need to maintain their skills and keep their position within the nursing profession.

By working per diem, you limit your hours while remaining active as a nurse. And unlike part-time nursing, you’re in control of your weekly schedule.

It’s also essential to ensure you sustain your nursing requirements, CEUs, and license.

It’s especially true for those concerned with losing work opportunities or experience.

You don’t want to spend years in nursing school to forget your training and let your license lapse.

13. You Can Consider New Facilities Before You Commit

If you’re interested in a particular healthcare facility, per diem work lets you experience the facility without committing to employment.

You can essentially spend several weeks/months at the facility, develop relationships, and decide if you like the work.

If you apply for a position, you’ll have work experience, connections, and an understanding of the facility’s practices and guidelines.

Beyond that, you can work at other locations to see if they offer better opportunities, wages, and benefits.

That way, you don’t have to settle on a job at a location you don’t enjoy.

14. You Can Transition Careers More Easily

Finally, per diem nursing allows you to transition into another career easily.

Nursing isn’t a long-term career for everyone.

There are numerous reasons you decide to change careers or work fewer hours.

Some nursing students have expectations of the nursing profession and feel disappointed with the reality.

Others love their work but are stressed out from long hours and demanding work shifts.

If you’re stressed out in your career or need to recharge, consider per diem nursing to help you transition.

Doing this allows you to transition more easily into another occupation that better suits your needs.

It’s beneficial for those who don’t know what career to pursue.

You can take more risks with your career choices because you have per diem nursing to fall back on.

As a result, nurses feel more freedom because they don’t have to jump into another career they might dislike.

If the new job doesn’t suit you, you can still earn money per diem nursing until you find the right career.

Cons of Per Diem Nursing

This article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the cons of per diem nursing.

The following section provides the downsides to working in this profession.

It includes a lack of healthcare benefits, floating to other units, and uncertain hours.

Those working in this profession usually believe the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

There aren’t many cons besides the previously mentioned examples.

No Healthcare Benefits

Although per diem nurses make more than regular hospital staff, they don’t receive healthcare benefits.

Instead, the additional money helps go toward their earnings.

In this case, nurses pay for their health insurance to cover their medical needs.

If the facility has recommended insurance agencies, they may offer special pricing.

Also, you won’t earn paid time off because you’re not a full-time employee.

That said, contract nursing can offer employees dental, life, and health insurance during their contract if they work full-time hours.

At the end of the contract, nurses may transition health insurance to another plan or keep it without interruption if they maintain full-time hours.

Again, the institution or healthcare facility will make the final decision.

You must consult with them to determine your healthcare options.

Steady Hours Are Not Guaranteed

Another con of per diem nursing is that hours are not guaranteed!

Depending on your location and the demand for nearby facilities, weekly schedules can vary significantly.

As a result, per diem nurses’ best workplace places are in high demand.

It allows them to maintain work flexibility while having the best chance to pick up extra hours.

If you decide to become a per diem nurse, you must adjust your income expectations to account for how your hours will change.

Before converting to per diem nursing, consult your hospital/institution to determine whether you’ll receive enough hours.

Also, make sure you meet the company’s commitments.

It includes maintaining your license and CEUs, working a set number of hours monthly, and other agreements.

Hopefully, this per diem pursuing pros and cons list helped you decide whether to pursue this profession or keep your current position.

Is Per Diem Nursing Worth it?

If you can cover your financial obligations, per diem nursing is worth it.

Having more control over your personal life, schedule, and free time is highly beneficial.

This occupation is excellent for those that love traveling, spending time with family, or pursuing hobbies.

However, if you need regular hours, prefer healthcare benefits from an employer, or want long-term employment with a particular organization, per diem nursing may not be the best option.

Ultimately, it would be best to weigh the pros and cons of per diem nursing.

This profession has numerous benefits if you’re flexible and willing to try new things.

It can even lead to better career breaks for those transitioning into full-time employment.

As a per diem nurse, you’ll network, explore various nursing professions, and select jobs at different places.

The best part is that you get paid to do what you love on your schedule.

You can spend the weekends, holidays, and memorable moments with your family.

Make sure you maintain your work commitments and work hard to establish your reputation for new career opportunities.