What is a PRN Worker in Healthcare? RNs, LPNs &; CNAs Land Gig Freelance Jobs

Healthcare Jobs

Freelance work has been on the rise for years alongside technology advancements. Despite the “Great Resignation” due to the pandemic, the freelancing portion of the U.S. workforce is sitting solidly at 36%, with significant growth in skilled freelance work. Freelancing is not exclusive to one industry; it is spread across a swath of them, and the healthcare industry is one of the many that benefits from a skilled freelancer talent pool. 

Specifically, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are helping hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country fill shift vacancies by working freelance (also referred to as gig) nursing jobs. These freelancer nurses and assistants are often called PRN workers. Keep reading to learn the difference between a self-contracted nurse and an employee, the benefits of PRN jobs, and how to find per diem shifts for LPNs, RNs, and CNAs.

What’s the Difference Between a PRN Worker and an Employee or Staff Nurse/CNA?

It’s essential to qualify the difference between freelance PRN jobs in healthcare and staff nurses and assistants (who may occasionally be asked by their employer to work PRN from time to time). PRN is the acronym for “pro re nata,” which means on-demand or as-needed. When a nurse works PRN, they work only when needed. Let’s clarify.

What is an Employee or Staff Nurse?

Staff nurses and assistants are directly employed by a hospital or healthcare facility. The conditions of their employment stipulate a set number of working hours or shifts per week, which may be full or part-time, and the hospital or facility determines the shift schedule. Moreover, staff nurses and CNAs receive agreed-upon benefits packages and typically earn paid vacation and sick leave over the course of their employment.

What is a Self-Contractor or PRN Worker in Healthcare?

Freelance PRN jobs are for RNs, LPNs, and CNAs who work as self-contractors or freelancers through a healthcare staffing app like Nursa. This distinction applies not only to their tax status but also to their scheduling and work environment. They contract out their work availability, which means the hospitals and healthcare facilities that hire them do not pay them directly, nor are they eligible for benefits. PRN nurses and CNAs can work in hospitals, skilled care facilities, long-term care facilities, assisted living, surgery centers, medical outpatient centers, or emergency care facilities.

5 Benefits of Becoming a PRN Healthcare Worker

When you read that a self-contractor nurse doesn’t earn benefits, did it make you wonder why RNs, LPNs, and CNAs are working PRN consulting jobs? Even though PRN workers aren’t eligible for hospital or facility benefits, there are many other benefits to working as a self-contractor.

  1. Work when you want. The most appealing characteristic of freelance work is its inherent flexibility. When you work as a freelance PRN nurse, you choose the shifts you want to work instead of having a set schedule. This facet of PRN work allows clinicians to schedule their work around the other responsibilities they have in life. This means all the RNs, LPNs, and CNAs who couldn’t otherwise work because they couldn’t commit to full or part-time staff schedules can find opportunities to help with the nursing shortage, stay current in their profession, and earn an income.
  2. PRN work often offers a higher hourly wage. Yes, PRN workers are only eligible for some of the regular benefits of staff clinicians, yet the PRN hourly rate is usually higher. 
  3. PRN work provides work environment variety. When medical professionals use Nursa to search for PRN jobs in their surrounding area, they can choose from various hospitals and healthcare centers offering PRN shifts. They may work at a hospital one night and a skilled nursing facility the next. They can even find PRN shifts in other towns that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. This variety can undoubtedly help prevent boredom and can also help combat burnout.
  4. PRN work allows for distance from workplace politics. PRN workers aren’t part of the routine staff schedule and, as such, aren’t likely to be pulled into workplace politics. They show up, do their job with compassion and focus, and clock out at the end of the shift.
  5. PRN workers often have other jobs or studies. PRN clinicians usually schedule their shifts around another job or college course. The flexibility of PRN work means that there is no minimum quota of shifts to be met. If one week is too busy with the other job or exams, there is no pressure to work.

How Does Nursa Work?

A PRN worker in healthcare can find Nursa, download the smartphone app, create an account, verify your nursing license, and start browsing PRN shifts near you. You apply for shifts directly through the app, view your scheduled shifts, and track your work hours all in the app. Download the app today and get started!

Written by Miranda Booher, RN

SEO Content Marketing Administrator Miranda has been a registered nurse since 2007 and has a healthy background in travel nursing, healthcare IT, and digital marketing. She brings an interesting combination of stellar SEO content management and copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has an impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Bolivia, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her spending time with her family traveling in the Andes Mountains.

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