What is Per Diem Nursing?
Per diem is Latin for per day. Per diem nurses are essentially the equivalent of substitute teachers. When a healthcare facility needs coverage because a staff member is out sick or on vacation, it calls per diem nurses to cover the gaps. Per diem nursing assignments are temporary assignments for one or several days.
The Benefits of Per Diem Nursing
Control your schedule. Unlike traditional or travel nursing, per diem nursing doesn’t require you to commit to any specific facility, location or shift. Per diem nursing allows you to work when you want to — and not work when you don’t. You never have to miss a school recital or birthday party again. You completely own your schedule.
Earn more money. Per diem nurses typically receive higher pay than regular staff because they generally do not receive benefits. Many career nurses also take per diem shifts in addition to their scheduled shifts as an extra form of income.
Try new specialties and facilities. Interested in trying a new specialty or facility but not sure if it’s the right fit? Per diem nursing gives you the freedom to dip your toes with as many shifts as you need to determine whether a new position or place is right for you.
The Cons of Per Diem Nursing
No guaranteed hours. In the same way that substitute teachers are beholden to the staffing needs of local schools, per diem nurses fill in as needed at medical facilities in their area, which means that there may not always be work available. Staffing agencies such as Emerald City Medical Staffing can help you find opportunities in your area.
Last-minute call-ins. The flexibility of per diem nursing is the primary draw for many, but with that flexibility comes a requirement for spontaneity when it comes to picking-up shifts. Many per diem shifts open as a result of someone calling out sick for the day, meaning you might have just a few hours notice before your next eight or twelve-hour shift.
No benefits. Although per diem jobs typically offer higher pay, they rarely offer benefits which may be difficult for those looking to make per diem their sole or primary source of income.
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