Pick Up PRN Shifts While on a Travel Nursing Assignment

travel nurse picking up a local PRN shift
Written by
Lori Fuqua
March 5, 2024

Are you a travel nurse with too much time on your hands while on assignment? Travel nursing can be fun and exciting; nurses often dive in with hopes and plans for exploration and sightseeing on their time off. 

But what about when your assignment is 13 weeks long, and you've already seen and done everything on your exploration list by week three? Have you considered working per diem (PRN) shifts to pass the time and increase your earnings?

Can You Work PRN as a Travel Nurse?

Many travel nurses pick up PRN nursing jobs in between or while on assignments. This practice keeps their skills sharp, keeps paychecks coming in, and allows them to leave for a contract quickly. Travel nurse jobs can be lucrative, but they also expose nurses to potential instability for the following reasons:

  • Facilities can cancel travel nurse contracts: Reasons for cancelation by a facility often are tied to a drop in patient intake, successful hiring of full-time staff to fill vacancies or financial concerns.
  • Delays in license processing for other states: Many travel nurses have compact licenses, but those who do not and those who have signed contracts in non-participating states must wait for their nursing licenses to be processed before they can practice.

Picking up per diem nursing shifts between assignments is an efficient and financially savvy way to earn income. You commit to one shift at a time, leaving you available to go on short notice for your travel contract.

Maintaining PRN While Traveling

Before you sign up for Nursa and start picking up PRN nursing jobs while you're on location for a travel nursing assignment, we encourage you to consider the following:

  • You must review—thoroughly—your travel nursing contract. You need to check if your travel nursing contract stipulates picking up PRN jobs as an independent contractor at other facilities.
  • Talk to your travel nurse recruiter. Explain that you have free time and pick up PRN shifts with Nursa as an independent contractor when you're at home. Ask if your travel nursing agency has a policy against independent contract work while on assignment.
  • Additionally, you have to consider your travel nursing job schedule. You are contractually obligated to work the agreed-upon number of hours or shifts. So, if your travel nursing schedule varies and they can call you on short notice to come in, you have to be sure you don't end up double booked.
  • Lastly, suppose your travel assignment schedules you for three 12-hour shifts in a week (which admittedly leaves several days of free time) and has a stipulation forbidding OT. In that case, we suggest you avoid picking up a per diem shift at that facility or one that is part of their health system. While technically, picking up PRN nursing jobs with Nursa is independent contractor work, showing up at the same facility could cause confusion and is likely contrary to any standard travel nursing contract.

Once you've determined that you are available, sign in to your Nursa account and browse the PRN shifts available in your location. You can adjust your search filters by location, license, and facility type.

How PRN Nursing with Nursa Differs from Travel Nursing

Although both options offer temporary work, they differ, particularly concerning their time commitment. Per diem nursing with Nursa means you are an independent contractor, committing only to one shift at a time. Alternatively, as a travel nurse, you are usually an employee of an agency and make longer commitments. 

Travel nurse assignments are often 13 weeks long, although strike or crisis response travel contracts may be as short as four weeks. For a more in-depth look at the differences, check out "PRN vs Travel Nursing: What's the Difference?"

PRN Nursing Is a Sustainable Option

The number of traveling nurses grew by 39% from 2021 to 2022 to over 160,000, according to industry research conducted jointly by Staffing Industry Analysis (SIA) and the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO). However, in mid-2023, a sharp decline occurred, and many travel nurses experienced a significant drop in their hourly wages while on assignment. 

As patient intake numbers relaxed and federal funding via FEMA and CARES stopped, hospital and facility administrations began analyzing budgets and looking for more affordable solutions—many turning to the PRN staffing solution, Nursa. 

Travel Nurse Pay is Decreasing

The jaw-dropping travel nursing contracts that had registered nurses all over the country reconsidering their full-time staff jobs appear to be primarily a thing of the past, leaving many travel nurses wondering, "Now what?"

When working PRN jobs with Nursa, you don't have to worry about being stuck in a contract and having your hourly rate dropped. Nor do you have to worry about packing up your things and putting personal obligations on hold to go away for a while, only to be told later that you aren't needed.

The short, shift-by-shift commitment benefits hospitals and healthcare facilities as much as it benefits nurses and nursing assistants because they can react quickly to patient intake fluctuations and staff call-offs

Hospitals and facilities post their per diem shift needs in real time. When you log in to Nursa and browse shifts near you, you'll see that the hourly pay rates for PRN shifts are generally higher than what traditional employment offers. The flexibility and autonomy inherent in our service model are also advantageous.

Join Nursa and Work PRN Nursing Jobs Wherever You Are

Pick up per diem shifts on your terms, when and where you want. How do you get started? Check out our blog article, "How to Pick up High-Paying PRN Jobs in Healthcare," for more information.

Sources:

Lori Fuqua
Blog published on:
March 5, 2024

Lori is a contributing copywriter at Nursa who creates compelling content focusing on location highlights, nurse licensing, compliance, community, and social care.

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