Per Diem Roles in Nursing: Pros & Cons

Per diem roles are one way for nurses to take back control of their nursing career and schedule. But what are the other pros and cons to this role?

Many nurses are exhausted and stretched to their limits because of the demanding schedule that they keep. Balancing home life, work life, and personal life is not an easy task! 

One way that nurses can take back control of their nursing career is by choosing to work a flex schedule through per diem or PRN roles. 

Per Diem is a Latin term that means "for each day" or "by the day." A similar term, PRN, is often used as well. PRN is an abbreviation for the Latin term Pro Re Nata, means "as the circumstances arise" or "as needed."

Now that the semantics are out of the way, let's talk about the actual pros and cons to working per diem or PRN roles in nursing. 


1. Flexible scheduling - this is GOLD. Need a day off to attend your kid's school event? You can make that happen. Need a month off because you want to go on an extended vacation? Do-able. 

2. More free time - PRN or per diem employees often have less administrative and extra responsibilities in the workplace than full-time or even part-time employees. 

3. Opportunity to work in multiple roles - are you a nurse who enjoys more than one thing? Perhaps you like the pace of urgent care, but you have always wanted to try hospice nursing. PRN or per diem roles provide an opportunity to work in multiple roles simultaneously. 

4. You can say "no"! - in per diem or PRN roles, you get to say no if you are not available or simply do not want to work a shift. You are not obligated to work any hours. But keep in mind that the employer is also not obligated to provide any hours. Being a team player is the best approach, and most employers appreciate and expect per diem or PRN employees to pick up at least 1-2 shifts per pay period. 


1. Flexible scheduling - while this is a huge PRO for some, it may be a CON for others. Though hours in per diem or PRN roles are not guaranteed, you likely will have the opportunity to pick-up at least some hours ahead of time. 

2. Keeping up - since per diem or PRN employees may work less often than full-time or part-time employees, it can be challenging to keep up with required training, meetings, and emails. Keeping an open line of communication with your manager is important, particularly if you will not be working for an extended period of time. 

3. Feeling rusty - while working per diem is amazing because you can choose your schedule, if you are not working as frequently, you may find yourself feeling rusty when you return to work. This is why it is important to have baseline experience before taking on a per diem or PRN role in nursing. 

Questions? Join the Purpose-Driven Nurses Facebook Community, and let's connect! 

Stay tuned for Per Diem: Fact Vs. Myth

Categories: : Getting Hired for Nurses, Tips for Nurses