Which Nurses Earns More? PRN Vs Travel Nursing Salary

PRN nurses vs travel nurses pay

PRN, or per diem nursing, is an excellent choice for full-time nursing looking for more freedom. That's because PRN nurses work temporarily and get to decide how much they want to work. In other words, PRN nurses cover shifts according to the needs of a local healthcare facility. Consequently, per diem nurses can choose when they want to work with no contracts and excellent pay. It's no wonder why many nurses want to work as PRN nurses and earn a PRN nurse salary. 

Another career choice includes working as a travel nurse. Nursing staff working in temporary positions at healthcare facilities worldwide are known as travel nurses. There are several benefits to travel nursing, including a competitive travel nurse salary that includes rewards like sign-on incentives and the chance to work in opulent settings. In general, however, PRN nurses can make more money per hour. 

That being said, both Travel and PRN nurses have the chance to broaden their nursing expertise while traveling to various locations around the nation. But there are also a lot of disparities between these vocations. Let's find out who makes more money and everything else there is to know about earning a travel nurse salary vs. a PRN salary.

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What is The Typical Travel Nurse Salary?

While location, type of agency, and the nursing degree an RN holds will influence the pay rates for a travel nurse vs. a PRN nurse, one can expect to make a competitive wage in both vocations. So, on average, how much do travel nurses make? Travel nurses can make over $3,000 each week. But remember that the expenses of a travel nurse's benefits—such as accommodation, food, allowances, and transport, are generally deducted from their pay. As a result, an average travel nurse's salary can vary significantly depending on bonuses, hours worked, and the benefits provided.

When it comes to a PRN salary, pay rates will vary depending on several factors. These include the nature of a nursing shift— such as if the nurse will be covering a night shift or an emergency department shift. Furthermore, PRN pay will be relevant to the location of the shift, as well as each nurse's specialty and working experience. That being said, PRN nurses can earn anywhere between $30 and $50 per hour. Additionally, PRN nurses could make more money every shift than travel nurses due to the absence of employment benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. 

Do PRN Nurses Make More Than Travel Nurses?

Working as a PRN nurse requires last-minute coverage and the opportunity for nurses to pick up a shift on the fly. It's an excellent gig for busy nurses looking for more flexibility. With that in mind, medical facilities often pay PRN nurses more in exchange for not offering further perks. In other words, a PRN nurse's salary can be more than a travel nurse's salary because it comes without employee benefits. On top of that, night shifts and emergency care coverage can sometimes offer higher income than day shifts. Likewise, working on holidays may also be compensated more, and some hospitals provide higher hourly wages to staff members who work in less desirable facilities.

What Additional Perks Do Travel Nurses Receive?

Travel nurses are compensated for their travel expenses— they are generally paid a fixed amount but may also be paid per mile depending on how far they commute. Furthermore, a travel nurse's salary frequently includes perks from staffing companies such as 401k plans, health insurance, and other compensations. Housing assistance is sometimes offered, either in the form of an agency-provided apartment or a housing allowance. Some agencies may additionally provide an hourly charge for extra hours worked on top of your agreed-upon hourly rate.

Travel Nursing vs. PRN Nursing: How to Choose?

Travel and PRN nursing are both rewarding careers for nurses, but each has its pros and cons. As a general rule of thumb, PRN nurses have greater flexibility and discretion to approve or reject any shift since they work on an as-needed basis. PRN nurses also typically receive compensation that is far higher than what regular staff nurses are paid. Therefore, PRN nurses may have a lower level of job security. On the flip side, a PRN nurse is responsible for temporarily filling in and alleviating a facility's coverage shortage.

As mentioned, travel nurses enjoy additional benefits, including employment in a state other than their home residence and guaranteed working hours.

Moreover, a travel nurse cannot be terminated as long as employed under an agreement. But, compared to PRN nurses, travel nurses' schedules tend to be considerably less flexible. As a result, they can be expected to work a holiday or every other weekend in this capacity. And lastly, frequent travel is necessary for travel nursing, which is difficult for those who have families.

The Bottom Line 

The kind of nursing employment you want will be unique to your lifestyle. Travel nursing requires more commitment in exchange for benefits and stability while away. But, if you are seeking a job option with a comfortable schedule and high hourly pay, you may want to consider PRN nursing. After learning about the benefits and drawbacks of a travel nurse salary vs. a PRN salary, we hope you can be confident in making an educated career choice moving forward.

Are you looking to get started in PRN nursing? Download our Nursa per diem staffing app today! Fill a shift today and connect with a local health care facility near you.

Blog published on:
July 29, 2022

Meet Jenna, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who writes about healthcare news and updates, empathy and compassion for nurses, how to show staff appreciation and increase retention, and guides that help nurses navigate career pathways.

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