The PRN abbreviation is used frequently in the medical field for different reasons and in other settings. In this article, we'll review what the acronym stands for and what it means, then dive a bit deeper into what it can mean for you if you are a clinician.
What Does PRN Stand for?
The acronym PRN is taken from the Latin term "pro re nata." Pro re nata can signify "as needed" or "when the need arises."
Shortening a term into an acronym is common practice in various industries, and often the acronym becomes more familiar than the meaning behind it.
Another Latin term, "per diem," means "by the day" or "for each day" and is often used interchangeably with PRN. So, what's the difference? Is there a difference, or are they the same thing?
Is PRN and Per Diem the Same Thing?
When you apply either term to a nurse, both refer to a clinician who has agreed to work not on a set schedule or pre-determined number of days but has agreed to work for a shift (or shift) to meet a need.
What Does Per Diem Mean in Healthcare?
The PRN medical abbreviation is commonly seen in medical prescriptions, as well. Physicians often prescribe certain medications as needed instead of on a set schedule. Alternatively, per diem nurses (i.e., registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and medication aides (CMAs)) refer to nurses who pick up a shift(s) to meet a staffing need.
Language has a way of evolving over time, and we're in a time where the nurse staffing shortage continues to grow as a looming challenge that no facility is immune to, whether they are retirement homes, assisted living communities, inpatient hospitals, outpatient medical centers, or urgent care facilities.
Consequently, quickly sourcing qualified clinicians to meet immediate staffing needs has become a priority and one of the best efficient tools for hospital and healthcare facility managers to ensure quality patient care and safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, which further leads to more use of and, therefore language surrounding the terms PRN and per diem.
Per diem RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and CMAs are also referred to as PRN nurses or clinicians, and the shifts they pick up are often referred to as PRN shifts. Regardless of which Latin term you use in these circumstances, the key is the meaning that we can ascribe to either PRN or per diem; there is a need, and often that staffing need is imminent.
What Does PRN or Per Diem Mean for You?
Let's explore the meaning of PRN in healthcare and how it may be applied to you as an RN, LPN, CNA, or CMA.
Pick up PRN shifts for a flexible income stream. There are no long-term employment commitments. You only agree to work a specific shift. Numerous PRN shifts are available now (an indication of the turnover and unbalanced supply and demand in the industry), and you can find PRN shifts that fit your schedule.
PRN shifts often offer a higher hourly rate than the average staff position for the same shift. For some, that alone is motivation to work PRN shifts. Some clinicians work only PRN shifts, while others work PRN shifts alongside other employment.
More variety in your work.
PRN shifts are available through Nursa in various settings in cities and towns across the United States. Pick up shifts in the ER, a skilled nursing facility, a surgery center, a research hospital, or a town hospital. You set the geographic parameters on your search filters and work as near or far away from home as you want.
Bolster your learning by picking up PRN shifts that won't interfere with your studies and will support your textbook learning by providing you with working experience that can be applied to your studies. You can pick up shifts in a unit or setting to help you learn new skills. Or you may want to further your education and have considered an LPN to RN bridge program but can't make it fit around a routine work schedule, or you're a CNA/CMA wanting to take the next step to become an LPN. If so, PRN jobs can help you reach your career goals.
Become a Per Diem Clinician with Nursa
Make PRN a part of your resume and become a per diem clinician with Nursa today. Download the smartphone application (it's free) and set up your account. You'll be prompted to make a professional profile and verify your license or certification. Browse hundreds of PRN shifts available at hospitals and healthcare facilities near you and pick the one that suits your needs.