Nursing is one of the top professions young people express interest in. Consequently, the demand is high. However, so is the workload. Registered nursing salary varies based on geography, your skillset, whether or not you have a specialization/certification, and experience level.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the 2020 median pay for registered nurses in the United States was $75,330 annually or $36.22 per hour. The idea of that level of income is enticing to nursing students who can't wait to dive into the world and start earning, especially those with student loans. Yet, that income rate varies widely based on your geographic location, as will the cost of living. For example, South Dakota, Mississippi, Iowa, Alabama, and Arkansas are the states with the lowest average nurses’ salary ranging from $58,340-$60,000 which is quite a bit below the national median.
GoBankingRates published earlier this year the results of a study they conducted about household income in the United States. They determined a "necessary living wage" for each state by pulling data from the BLS and the popular budgeting template 50/30/20. In certain cases, the low cost of living correlates with lower incomes, but not always!
The budgeting template referenced just above sets aside 50% of your income for necessities, 30% of your income for discretionary expenses, and 20% of your income for savings. While the idea of 20% of your income is set aside for savings seems prudent, is it always plausible? Are you setting aside 20% of your income for savings?
Recognize Income Potential with NursaTM
Ultimately, the numbers put out by experts and agencies can serve as guidelines or benchmarks but they are statistics that are averaging (or making a median of) for the entire population of our country. The current U.S. population is over 330,220,000. Therefore, your circumstance could be on paper according to the statistics a comfortable, middle-class circumstance, and yet you may feel finances are too tight occasionally or often. With a job, that (according to the government's statistic experts) actually should set you above the median U.S. household income but for whatever reason in your circumstances doesn't - what are your options?
The answer can be quite simple, actually. Pro re nata. Per diem. As a registered nurse, you have the potential to earn the highest wages when you work per diem shifts (typically abbreviated as PRN). The compensation offered to RNs for PRN shifts is typically higher than the average RN income. Our nurses can make up to $650 in a single shift. There are just a few travel nursing tips to earn the highest wages with per diem nursing jobs:
- Be willing to work in different settings
- Be open to working extra hours or shifts
- Download NursaTM
Let's break those down further.
Be Willing to Work in Different Settings
If you're a person who craves stability and routine, this might be a tough one for you to overcome (but you can!). Working PRN shifts will involve working shifts that are difficult for staffing managers to fill, you might pick up shifts you aren't used to working such as the opposite of your preferred hours (days or nights) or days you are normally off work. Those could be reasons NOT to work PRN, but hold on.
Working these PRN shifts can also bring you into a unit you've never worked in before, thereby gaining new skills and knowledge. Working these PRN shifts may bring you into a totally different facility type. Maybe you prefer night shifts in the city hospital, but when the holidays come around, perhaps the shifts at the nearby long-term care facility are uplifting for your soul.
Maybe you want to specialize, but need the work experience hours in order to sit for the certification. Scouring the PRN shifts available for ones in units that will move you forward to your specialization goal instead of trying to trade or wait for an employment vacancy in said unit.
Be Open to Working Extra PRN Shifts
This one applies in general if you want to increase your income, but isn't a MUST as part of working PRN. If you're an already employed RN, then working PRN to increase your income means fitting in a PRN shift when you aren't already scheduled. You need to know your limits. However, if you can organize your work schedule in a way that just once or twice a month you pick up a PRN shift, that money earned can add up!
Oftentimes, RNs have jumped into the PRN life with both feet, and often work shifts in an ebb and flow fashion. Periods where they grind and then ease off for a while. Demand in the PRN nursing world is high, but it comes with its own rhythm. The longer you work PRN you will become better in-tune with the rhythms of your community's facilities. The bigger your community (aka city) the greater number of PRN jobs that are going to be available around you.
So, where are you going to find all these PRN shifts? By downloading our NursaTM smartphone app, you'll be able to browse hundreds of PRN RN shifts near you that are available in real-time. We've created a platform where you can securely store all your professional information and send it digitally when you apply for PRN shifts in the app. Verify your license. Upload a resume, work references, and other compliance documentation and then you'll have everything ready in one place.
Bottom line, with PRN you choose how much you work and when you work. You have the freedom to decide when your open to new settings and when you're not. Not in the mood to work? No obligation. Conversely, when you're ready to work additional per diem shifts to earn the extra cash it's right there on your phone, just click the NursaTM app.