How Does Per Diem Nursing Work

A per diem job in the healthcare field means that you’ll be working only when there’s an immediate need for your skills or services instead of being on call for emergencies at all times. 

For example, suppose you’re applying for a job as a physician assistant. In that case, the medical facility might hire you on a per diem basis if it needs help covering physicians or if it needs help setting up new patient care areas requiring medical expertise.

The term “per diem” is a Latin word, meaning “for each day.” You’ll find the term used in business for many things other than health care jobs.

For example, hotels and catering companies use per diem expenses to describe costs incurred only daily rather than over a more extended period. Want to know more? Let’s get started.

What Does It Mean to Work “Per Diem”? 

In the medical field, it plays a crucial role other than indicating the number of days that one is expected to work per week. 

It refers to short-term jobs meant for temporary relief, but they could eventually become permanent positions because no specific timeframe has been specified for them.

It may seem like an excellent opportunity for those who couldn’t get permanent employment at first, but such jobs come with risks as well.

It is especially true since you have no idea how long this job will last and when there will be regular income to support your family’s needs.

What is a PRN nurse?

If you’re trying to find a job as a per diem nurse, you should know that there are different types of such jobs available, and they’re given different names. 

For example, if a healthcare facility wants to hire you on a short-term basis, it might call the position PRN (which stands for “on-call”) instead. 

The PRN designation is usually reserved for positions that require more specific knowledge or skills than what the employees hired permanently can bring into the facilities.

How Does Per Diem Nursing Work?

Per diem nursing jobs entail working at different facilities and different locations for days or months in a row. It is considered more appealing than having permanent nurses work for you because it gives more flexibility to the employee’s personal life. 

It spreads out the load among several nurses who are willing to travel from one place to another daily so they may never have to do the same thing twice, which means that monotony will not be set in their work environment.

What Are the Benefits of Per Diem Nursing Jobs?

As a nurse, you have to consider many things before working on any job. First, you need to know all about the work and its demands to prepare yourself well and put forth a good performance in front of your employer and other people who are associated with the company. 

In such situations, nurses nowadays prefer per diem nursing jobs because they are more flexible than permanent positions.

The biggest advantage of per diem nursing jobs is that they could help nurses have a more flexible schedule because they do not need to be in one particular location delivering services day after day. 

So if you want to take up a job as a professional nurse and work on weekends too, but your permanent position won’t allow it, this would be the best choice for you. 

There are also times when you are required to travel for several days straight, so you may want a job like this, particularly if you plan on having children someday and need to be there with them at all times.

When it comes to per diem nursing jobs, most of them are high paying since there is no insurance coverage attached with this kind of job, unlike full-time employment, which usually goes for about 40 hours per week.

With Per Diem Nursing Jobs, you’ll be able to spend more time with your family. That’s because there will be several jobs waiting for you and you’ll only accept the convenient ones for you. 

Therefore, if one job asks you to work in the evenings while another wants you around during days, it’s easy for you to find out which works best for your schedule and take up the one offering working hours that fit your daily routine.

One other benefit of per diem nursing positions is that they offer a better balance between work and. You get to choose the jobs that you want, and you can plan your work schedule accordingly. 

For example, if you’re taking care of a sick parent during the daytime and are working as a nurse at night, then it’s likely that you’ll have to take upper Diem nursing jobs since most companies won’t have positions available round the clock. 

However, with these kinds of positions, there’s no compulsion for you to accept all types of assignments, which means that you can look out for those that fit into your routine.

What Are the Disadvantages of Per Diem Nursing Jobs?

Per diem nursing jobs do not usually provide you with a stable income because there is no assurance of how long this job will last. Also it does not provide you any health care benefits. 

There are times when you may find yourself in between assignments for weeks and months, so you may need to take up a second part-time job to give your bank account some breathing space. 

It’s quite hard on the body, too, since you would need to be stressed out all day all over again, killing time while waiting for another assignment. 

Another reason why per diem nursing jobs are not the right choice for someone looking for a steady job is that these positions do not allow one to be very selective when choosing an assignment. 

In addition, the practice of taking on per diem assignments often includes going to places that are undesirable or unsafe for many people. 

Therefore such work arrangements can be very disturbing and dangerous if you have small kids or elderly parents whom you might be required to take care of when you are away from home attending a per diem assignment.

What Should You Consider Before Accepting Per Diem Nursing Jobs?

You have to make sure that you are ready for this kind of job before assuming that it is the right choice. It’s quite hard and can be very stressful at times, so if you cannot handle pressure well, this is not the best career path for you. 

You may want to consider that there are times when per diem jobs may last long, so, during these periods, your family needs may not be fully supported financially or emotionally. 

Also, your family may have to relocate, and that is something you should not overlook. It’s also good to know what kind of people you will be working with daily because this could help you determine whether or not the job suits you well.

Does Per Diem Nursing Pay Well?

The pay for per diem nurses is usually based on the type of work they will be doing. In general, it does not pay as much as permanent positions, but those who take upper Diem jobs do it mainly due to the flexibility, so they don’t care about money.

What matters most here is that you can adjust your schedule according to your personal preferences without giving a reason behind it. 

How Do You Become a Per Diem Nurse?

The process of applying for per diem nursing jobs is really easy and can be done by anyone with a registered account in any job board or agency. It usually takes about three months to complete, but it should not take you long to finish this process since there are no special requirements. 

Once hired as an employee, you should get started on the training given to start working immediately. 

The only problem here is finding out which company needs your services and how much they will pay you when hired. Since each company has its special way of hiring employees, it’s best to look around first before deciding on accepting one offer or another.

Requirements and Education for Per Diem Nursing

Per diem nursing jobs don’t require any specific academic degree since all employers are interested in can perform the task well. Some companies may want you to have a certain diploma, though, such as LPN or RN, which might take an average of 3 years for completion. 

They may also ask what kind of work experience you have, and some even do not mind taking on new employees who do not have any prior training.

How Many Hours Can a Per Diem Employee Work

Each employer has his own set of rules and regulations regarding the number of working hours expected from per diem nurses. Usually, you can work about 10 to 12 hours daily for five days a week, and this would already sum up to an average of 60 daily working hours per week. 

You may be required to work even longer than that, especially if they have no permanent staff on hand at the moment, but in general, it does not exceed more than 80 hours weekly.  

Once you accept an offer, there will be some limitations set forth by your employer based on how long he thinks is enough time for you to finish the task given to you, so just remember that there are times when overtime is necessary but only as much as needed.


Typically, nurses who work per diem earn more per hour than their full-time counterparts. Per diem nurses are paid differently by each hospital. Also, agencies pay nurses differently according to their location, specialization, and shift. 

However, it is not uncommon for per diem nurses to earn around $70-$100/hr in northern California. With overtime pay and shift differentials, they can earn over $2000 per shift. 

All in all, per diem nurses, usually enjoy their work and are always willing to help others, so if this sounds like something you can do, then go ahead and apply now.

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