Can New Nurses Work Per Diem?

Can new nurses work per diem?

Working as a nurse allows you to explore almost limitless possibilities in your career. A lot of new nurses think working full time is the only way to go — but that isn’t necessarily true! Work-life balance is important to many people, and new nurses are no exception. That’s how working per diem can help.

Working per diem means that you only work when and where you want to. You’ll only work on an as-needed basis. Depending on your education level and certifications, you could start working per diem as a new nurse.

What to Know About Working Per Diem

Per diem isn’t the same as working part-time, although it may seem like it at first. If you work per diem, you don’t have a set work schedule; instead, you can pick and choose which shifts you’ll work.

The shifts offered to you totally depend on what an employer needs to ensure patient safety. For example, you could be offered and sign up for holiday shifts to help cover paid time off for full-time employees. Or, you may choose to work two or three shifts every couple of weeks to give you the time to fulfill your personal responsibilities.

That’s the beauty of per diem nursing — you’re not set into a schedule created by an employer. Working per diem allows you to fit your work life around your personal life. You can also pick up as many shifts as you’d like, within the employer’s parameters.

In some cases, brand new nursing professionals can work per diem immediately after earning a license. For instance, many skilled nursing facilities hire certified nursing assistants (CNAs) for per diem work soon after completion of their education. Other facilities may require a little more experience — for example, certain organizations require registered nurses (RNs) to work for several months or years before picking up per diem work. The exact requirements depends on the employer.

Perks of Per Diem: Keep These in Mind!

There are many benefits to working per diem that people working other shifts can’t match. You might enjoy some of these perks yourself!

You don’t have a set schedule

Per diem offers the ultimate flexibility in nursing. You’re free to make your own work schedule, so you’ll only work when it fits into your life. This is a great benefit for parents raising children, people taking care of elderly parents, or those who have other responsibilities or obligations to fulfill. Plus, working per diem can also help you maintain your active nursing license without working full-time.

You can try different work environments

Working per diem connects you with employers at a variety of healthcare settings. You could choose to work in a hospital setting, a rehabilitation facility, or in skilled nursing care. Keep in mind that different facilities usually have different requirements in terms of experience — you may need to work full-time somewhere to get a little experience before working at certain facilities.

You’ll get paid more, sooner

Working per diem means you can start earning cash quickly. Plus, many per diem shifts pay more per hour than the typical full-time hourly rate for nursing professionals. This can be a great thing, but there’s something to remember — because you’re not a full-time employee anywhere, you may not be eligible for employee benefits like health insurance. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker though! Places like IntelyCare hire nursing professionals as W2 employees, which gives them access to health benefits, 401(k)s, and employer-contributed taxes.

You can work full-time and per diem

Since you’re picking up the shifts you want to, it’s possible to have a full-time job and work per diem on the side. Many nursing professionals choose this option as a way to earn extra cash without burning themselves out. The extra money you can earn can add up to a significant yearly bonus!

There’s a lot of work available

There’s no shortage of work available for nurses working per diem. Many online sites, including IntelyCare, connect nurses with available shifts in facilities nationwide. It’s very possible that you’ll be able to pick and choose when and where you’d like to work!

Working per diem can be a great way to get nursing experience while still living the life you want. Per diem nurses are an important part of the healthcare team, and there are opportunities almost anywhere for you!

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN began writing professionally in 2016 as a way to use her medical knowledge beyond the bedside. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse in multiple specialties, including pharmaceuticals, operating room/surgery, endocrinology, and family practice. With over nine years of clinical practice experience, her unique insights into the healthcare industry help her craft compelling content that targets both healthcare consumers and clinicians.


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