Is the gig economy on the rise? In an era of shifting employment models, the gig economy is emerging as a prominent force, transforming the traditional work landscape. Amid this evolution, the nursing field has witnessed a substantial increase in clinicians working per diem—an arrangement that offers flexibility, competitive pay, and learning opportunities.
The gig economy’s growth has prompted a reevaluation of conventional employment structures, leading professionals to explore alternative work models. A report published in May 2023 projects a remarkable increase in the global per diem nurse job market, reflecting a transition towards more dynamic employment patterns. From $8,535.69 million in 2021 to $15,071.18 million by 2031, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.85 percent. Per diem nursing is the wave of the future.
What Is Per Diem Work?
Per diem work—a term derived from Latin that means ‘per day’—refers to jobs engaging freelancers on an as-needed basis and offering hourly pay. PRN (pro re nata), meaning ‘as the need arises,’ is also used for the same kind of work agreement. Some occupations that commonly use PRN workers are healthcare, law, accounting, interior design, writing, and transportation.
Many experienced organizations maintain a diverse workforce composition to establish seamless operational efficiency, encompassing full-time, part-time, and per diem workers. This strategic approach strengthens comprehensive coverage for schedules and tasks, ensuring preparedness for diverse scenarios that may arise.
What Does Per D.I.E.M. Mean in Nursing?
In a per diem job, healthcare organizations contract nurses by shift to meet their clinician coverage needs. For instance, facilities might need per diem nurses to substitute for regular staff during vacations or other absences, provide essential support during peak seasons with more cold and flu outbreaks, or cover sick calls.
Shifts can range from a couple of hours up to twelve-hour periods. The number of shifts—and, of course, hours—fluctuates weekly, depending on the nurses’ preferences and the facilities’ needs. Nurses’ pay reflects the number of hours they work.
Is Working Per Diem Worth It?
Whether or not to work per diem is a personal decision, but consider the turns in the working world and the well-known advantages of per diem nursing. Significant benefits have to do with the combination of flexibility, higher pay, and learning opportunities—not to mention riding the crest of the wave into the future.
1. Flexibility with Higher Pay
Make more for every hour you work and, simultaneously, have more time for your life. PRN hourly pay is significantly higher than the average nurse salary. Per diem nursing allows you to work as much as you want: You decide whether you want to work to live or live to work. You may also have a regular job that you love but need an extra income now and then on top of your monthly salary. Per diem jobs also offer this possibility.
2. Exposure to Different Healthcare Settings and Facilities
Per diem nurses work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. This experience allows you to understand the differences in patient populations, facility cultures, and healthcare delivery across different settings.
3. Capacity Refinement
The diverse exposure enhances your clinical knowledge and skills as you encounter varied patient populations and gain experience managing different health issues. Per diem nursing often involves adapting quickly to new environments and patient needs, helping you develop essential skills such as adaptability, critical thinking, and problem-solving. You’ll likely become proficient in adjusting to new workflows, learning new equipment, and collaborating with unfamiliar colleagues.
4. Career Exploration
Through per diem work, you can explore different areas of nursing and healthcare. For example, you might work in hospital departments, such as medical-surgical or pediatrics, or you may work in assisted living or other types of long-term care facilities. This exploration can help you identify which areas align best with your interests and strengths. Enhanced self-awareness can guide your decisions about further education, specialization, or career advancement.
5. Introduction to Technology
Healthcare facilities often utilize varying technologies and electronic medical records systems. As a PRN nurse, you’ll have the chance to learn and adapt to different technological tools, improving your digital literacy and making you more versatile in technology-driven healthcare environments.
6. Insights and Practice for Personal Growth
Per diem nursing challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and adapt to new situations regularly. This experience can lead to personal growth by boosting your confidence, sharpening your communication skills, and increasing your ability to manage stress and uncertainty. Interacting with diverse patient populations and healthcare teams prompts you to reflect on your values and priorities as a nurse. It can lead to a deeper understanding of why you chose nursing and how you want to contribute to patient care. Per diem nursing exposes you to various situations that encourage introspection and self-discovery. By paying attention to your reactions, decisions, and emotions in different scenarios, you can gain valuable insights into your personality, strengths, limitations, and the areas you’d like to develop further.
In summary, PRN nursing work provides a dynamic and multifaceted learning experience that significantly enriches your nursing career by exposing you to various healthcare environments, patient cases, skills, technologies, and personal development opportunities.
The gig economy is profoundly changing the future of healthcare, with higher respect for autonomy and work-life balance. As the landscape evolves and gig workers become an increasingly integral part of the healthcare workforce, managers embrace these dynamic job types while maintaining top-notch standards.
By working with the gig economy, hospitals, long-term care organizations, and other healthcare systems can provide exceptional patient care while keeping both staff and per diem healthcare professionals satisfied, happy, and fulfilled in their roles. PRN nursing is becoming the vital missing piece that completes the healthcare scheduling puzzle. As Curtis Anderson, founder and CEO of Nursa, summarized in a recent Becker’s Hospital Review article:
“Traditional nurse staffing models often are inefficient and nontransparent. Worse, they don’t offer the level of flexibility that certain segments of nurses—from single parents to CNAs to nurses in the 25-to-40 age group, the hardest age demographic to retain—especially crave. Innovative hospital leaders are beginning to flip their thinking around how to staff nursing shifts by leaning into a tech-enabled model that allows nurses to select which shifts they work, where they work them, and even whom they work with.”
According to a McKinsey report, those who work in the freelance economy by choice are the most satisfied group within the workforce. So, go ahead, try it, and find out for yourself!
How Can I Find RN Per Diem Jobs near Me?
Nursa connects nurses with facilities for per diem jobs without going through an agonizing, long job hunt. Try out Nursa and quickly find per diem jobs with a user-friendly app or directly on your browser.