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What is a PRN Nurse? Benefits of Working Per Diem Shifts

Getting a license or certification to work in the healthcare industry is a sure way to have job security for your future. Whether you are a CNA, an LPN, or an RN; it is a fact that the job outlook for these professions is positive, and continues to grow. Working PRN jobs can go further than simply give you the comfort of job security. Working PRN shifts can give you a power over your own life that you may not have considered previously.

What Is a PRN Nurse?

PRN is an acronym of the Latin term "pro re nata". The term itself can be translated to mean "when necessary" or "as needed". You've likely also heard "per diem". The term "per diem" means "for each day". A PRN nurse is a nurse who is willing to work on an as-needed basis, or on-demand. The same applies to LPNs or CNAs who work PRN shifts.

PRN jobs or PRN shifts do not have the same routine nor the benefits of a permanent full time staff position with a hospital or a medical center. However, working PRN jobs allow you a power different to that of full time staffers, if you are inclined to utilize them to their full potential.

Let's talk more in depth about that power and potential, but first, some quick facts.

Quick Facts

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for each of these professions has encouraging numbers:

For Registered Nurses, they report the median hourly wage as $35.24 per hour in 2019 and an expected job growth at 12% through the year 2028. Similarly, Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses have an expected job growth rate of 11% through the year of 2028 and had a median hourly wage of $22.83 in 2019. Certified Nurses Assistants in 2019, came in at a median hourly wage of $14.25 and have a 9% anticipated job growth rate through to 2028.

Power of Per Diem Nursing

Now that we've established that your career field is ripe with opportunity, we'll dig right in to the power of being a PRN nurse or CNA.

  • You can say no. It's really that simple. When you work as a PRN, you have the power to say no to an offered PRN shift. If your teenager has a ball game Thursday night you don't have to apologize for missing it, nor do you have to organize a trade with a coworker that leaves you pulling a double shift. All you have to do is say "no" to the Thursday night PRN shift. (Politely, of course.)
  • You make your own schedule. Working as a PRN clinician means you arrange your work life to fit around your personal life instead of the other way around. With NursaTM we've made this easier than ever because we provide our clinicians access to PRN shifts at facilities all around. For example: You could work shifts Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at one facility and another shift Wednesday a neighboring facility. Thereby leaving you Thursday through Saturday with time off moreover, still having clocked enough hours in the week to have a paycheck to feel good about.
  • You can make more money. The hourly rate for PRN clinicians is normally higher than that of the permanent staffers. Facilities will pay more for per diem shifts because PRN staff usually aren't eligible for benefits such as insurance or retirement packages. When you combine the higher hourly rate and organize your schedule well you can make more money than others in your field.
  • PRN medical professionals have been essential for combating the novel coronavirus in hotspots where hospitals were swarmed with shocking numbers in some hotspots. Before the pandemic, California is one state that has a reputation notorious for high pay PRN shifts.
  • Last-minute opportunities abound. Whether it's an unexpected life expense such as your car needing some work, or a broken water heater, or your kid wants to learn to play the violin; there are invariably times in life when we feel a financial pinch and would be grateful for the opportunity to bump up our income, even temporarily. PRN shifts can be available at the last minute. When you work with NursaTM, we list available PRN shifts in real-time. If you feel the pinch, pick up your phone and pick up a PRN shift.
  • Learn more about a (new) specialty. On a PRN shift, you may have the opportunity to learn about another specialty by floating and/or cross-training. Working in the ER may give you the opportunity to learn more about psychiatric nursing. Or perhaps you gain experience floating from the ER to the ICU.
  • Let your work-life ebb and flow. You don't have to work 40+ hours a week for the rest of your career. Work a few shifts a week, and then dive in when flu season or holiday season hits and you want extra money for presents or for a cruise with your sweetums. Work hard and then back off for a while, and then ramp back up.
  • Working PRN keeps your license active while you explore hobbies, passions, or retirement. Working a PRN shift here and there while you are officially retired can be a great way to keep your skills fresh, keep your license active, and keep you social. If you left your nursing career to explore hobbies or passion, PRN shifts are a great way to allow you to explore but keep the security of an active nursing license in your pocket without weighing you down.

You Decide: Is Per Diem Nursing Right for You?

Ultimately, every one of those powers to be exercised comes back to the same truth: you make the decisions. If you struggle with feeling tied down, want to pursue other passions in life, maybe your family situation is changing, or you want to make more money; PRN shifts could be the answer you've been searching for.

Download our smartphone application today and join the NursaTM community. Create a professional portfolio that can be shared securely and directly with potential employers. We'll show you the PRN shifts available while you decide when you want to work, and where.


Booher, RN
Blog published on:
July 22, 2020

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