Nurses Achieve Work-Life Balance through PRN Work

Advantages to PRN Jobs,Challenges for Nurses,CNA,LPN,RN
Written by
Laila Ighani
August 1, 2022

When was the last time you were home with your kids on their birthdays or the last time you went to visit your parents? Have you been able to cross anything off your bucket list? Most of us learn early on to put personal goals on the back burner while we prioritize work, but shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we work in order to have the life we want and not simply live to meet our bosses’ goals? 

As Nigel Marsh so wisely stated in his 2010 Ted Talk about work-life balance, “...we need to face the truth that governments and corporations aren't going to solve this issue for us. We should stop looking outside. It's up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don't design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.” PRN work is a way for nurses to be the designers of their own lives, to work as much as they want when they want, and overall to see work as a means to an end and not the end in itself—in other words, to achieve work-life balance. 

Reach Your Financial Goals with PRN Shifts

Working PRN jobs, which are temporary jobs created as needed by healthcare facilities, is not only a way to make some extra income to supplement your salary but also a career path in and of itself. Clinicians can decide to do PRN work full-time, which can allow them to reach financial as well as other personal goals.

With PRN work, you are in control: You pick your schedule, workload, setting or unit, vacation time – everything. Naturally, this freedom comes with greater responsibility as well. Making a monthly budget is always important, but if you are doing PRN work full-time, a budget becomes indispensable. As a PRN worker, the first step to creating your budget is to document both fixed and variable expenses to help you determine how much money you need to earn each month. This means you need to consider the following expenses in your budget:

·        Housing (rent or mortgage payments, home maintenance costs)

·        Transportation (car payments, gas, tolls, parking, public transit)

·        Food (groceries, work lunches, food delivery)

·        Utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewage, cell phone, cable, internet)

·        Medical and Healthcare (dental care, prescriptions, medical devices and supplies)

·        Insurance premiums (health insurance, car insurance, life insurance)

·        Childcare and Education

·        Taxes (property taxes, income taxes, self-employment taxes)

·        Saving and Investing

Debt Payments (credit cards, other loans)

·        Vacation

·        Miscellaneous (entertainment, personal spending, gifts)

Based on your monthly expenses, you can determine how much money you need to earn and therefore how many shifts you need to pick up each month.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to revise your budget each month to include extraordinary expenses, such as upcoming home renovations or a baby grand piano for your future concert pianist.   

Create a Schedule as Far in Advance as Possible

One of the best aspects of PRN work is that you have complete flexibility with your schedule. You can set aside days each month when you don’t want to work, such as family members’ birthdays, your wedding anniversary, special school events, etc. Furthermore, if it is important for you to be home for dinner and be able to spend time with your kids over the weekends, you can choose to only book day shifts. On the other hand, if you don’t have schedule constraints, you can book only the highest paying shifts – usually nights, weekends, and holidays – which in turn could allow you to take more time off. Imagine taking a week off every month to focus on other interests: traveling, reading poetry, writing a memoir, painting portraits, working in the garden. Right now, it’s a dream, but you can make it a reality.

Keep in mind that although it’s possible to pick up shifts on a day-to-day basis, requesting shifts farther in advance increases your chances of getting the shifts that you want; in addition, having every day that you want to work booked will give you peace of mind, knowing that you will meet or even exceed your financial goals that month.

Switch Things Up to Stay Motivated and Avoid Burnout

Naturally, each person has different work-schedule preferences; nevertheless, consider switching things up a couple of days every week or maybe one whole week per month to give yourself the chance to socialize in different settings and to carry out a variety of activities. If you normally work nights, you could take a Thursday off (to catch up on sleep), then work the day shift on Friday and still be able to go out with friends. On the other hand, if you tend to prefer day shifts, you could work a few swing or night shifts per week to attend a class you are interested in or even take those days off and work over the weekends. This is the beauty of PRN work: You can custom design your schedule month by month or week by week to accommodate your personal preferences, goals, and interests.    

Another tip to stay motivated is to give yourself time off if you meet your monthly goal ahead of time. Take a long weekend off or even a full week and go on a road trip with friends or your partner, visit family, or treat yourself to a spa day. Also consider checking an item off your bucket list. Have you always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon or learn to surf? Well, here is your chance.  

Finally, make sure you set aside money for a vacation fund. You might prefer to have your vacation coincide with your kids’ school break, or you might want to spend as much of the winter months as possible on a tropical island; however, consider taking shorter vacations throughout the year to avoid burnout. Keep your eye on the prize and work even harder than usual during the weeks leading up to your vacation; you’ll know that you’ll be able to unwind and catch up on rest shortly. That being said, always prioritize your physical and mental health; gauge your levels of energy and stress and don’t push yourself beyond healthy limits. Take the same advice you give patients, family members, and friends: Treat yourself with love and respect; take care of yourself.

Find PRN Jobs for Nurses and Achieve Work-Life Balance

Now that you know how to manage your full-time PRN schedule to meet your financial and other personal goals, you are ready to begin searching for those PRN shifts. With the Nursa healthcare staffing app, finding PRN work is easier than you could possibly imagine. It will only take you about 15 minutes to download the app, answer some questions, and upload your license for verification. After that, you’ll be able to browse the app for PRN work in your area or in any state in which you would like to work. Request the shifts that interest you and begin filling your schedule as your shifts are approved. Remember these tips for nurses, and you’ll be well on your way to achieve your very own idea of work-life balance. 

Read our article about the ban on noncompetes, which frees up healthcare professionals to take control of their careers and ultimately, destinies.

Laila Ighani
Blog published on:
August 1, 2022

Laila is a contributing copywriter and editor at Nursa who specializes in writing compelling long-form content about nursing finances, per diem job locations, areas of specialization, guides, and resources that help nurses navigate their career paths.

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