What to Know About Per Diem Travel Nursing

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Written by Laura Gray Content Marketing Manager, IntelyCare
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With per diem travel nursing, you can see the country while remaining very flexible with your schedules, gaining additional experience, and earning extra income. Travel nursing is typically full-time contract work with specific engagement rules, such as the number of weeks you are needed, the hours you will work, and the specific facility you are in. However, it is possible to bring the flexibility of per diem to the world of travel nursing.

Perhaps you’re visiting family in a different state for an extended period, or you want to make some extra money while on vacation. Maybe you’re getting an advanced nursing degree out of state and want to supplement your income. There are per diem travel nurse jobs that you can explore.

What Is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is a registered nurse (RN) that fills in on an as-needed basis in healthcare settings. These nurses travel to a facility that needs additional staff support. They sign a mutual contract for their time and services. Assignments can be located anywhere across the country, but nurses must be licensed in every state where they may be working.

Travel nursing contracts allow nurses to see new parts of the country without having to pay for the move. Travel nurses also have the opportunity to build valuable job experience, both in terms of the types of nursing they may practice and the different facility types they may be working in, all while caring for patients that need support.

When you work as a contracted travel nurse, you can expect to receive housing, healthcare benefits, a competitive hourly rate, and the potential to extend your contract to a longer-term engagement.

What Is a Per Diem Nurse?

You have great scheduling flexibility when working per diem, meaning nursing jobs that you acquire shift by shift. This method allows you to work as much or as little as you need or want to — or you can pick up extra shifts outside of your regular position. You can find per diem shifts for

This type of work is often ideal for someone that is raising a child, in school, or taking care of a loved one. The flexibility that per diem offers means that you can choose not to work holidays and weekends, and that you don’t have to make a larger commitment to a specific facility. These job perks hold true whether or not you’re exploring travel positions — working per diem more or less gives you the option to create a part-time travel nursing schedule.

If you’re hired by a per diem nursing agency as a W2 employee rather than as a 1099 contractor, you may be eligible for employment benefits.

Per Diem Travel Nursing Considerations

Before you pursue per diem travel nursing, there are important factors to take into account. Here are a few of the main considerations.

State by State License

You can pick up per diem shifts while you are traveling — however, you must be licensed in the state in which you want to practice.

If you live in and are traveling to one of the states in the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), then you can use your license across state lines. Check the requirements to make sure you are staying compliant before picking up a per diem shift.

Travel and Lodging Costs

If you are locked into a contract, you will need to stay in one place until that contract is complete. With per diem travel nursing, you have the ability to move freely on your own schedule. However, this means that the travel and housing costs covered in contract travel employment will not be available to you. You will need to be prepared to pay your own way as a per diem travel nurse, or plan to stay with friends or family.

No Obligation to a Single Facility

As a per diem travel nurse, you are not locked into a contract; therefore, there is no obligation to only work for one facility. You can test out different facility types or stick with one you really love. If you decide your travels have taken you somewhere you don’t want to be anymore, you can move to the next location without breaking any contractual obligations.

Find Great Per Diem Nursing Opportunities

Per diem travel nursing can be a wonderful way to gain new experiences, develop your career, and earn a little extra money. Whether you’re an RN, LPN, or CNA, check out all the per diem nursing jobs available across the country on IntelyCare right now.