Career Advice

The Flexibility Per Diem Work Provides Nurses

To achieve a healthy work-life balance, nurses can choose to work on a per-diem basis. Per diem work is a contraction of “per day.” When nurses choose to work on a per-diem basis, their schedules, the hospital’s demands, staffing requirements, and their ability to maintain their lifestyles outside of work can all be taken into consideration. In this post, we go over the various ways that nurses can have flexibility by taking on per diem jobs.

The definition of per diem

The term “per diem” describes the daily sums of money a company gives an employee to offset the costs of business travel. The travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals can all be covered by the allowances, in whole or in part. Per diem payments are typically made by employers through reimbursements or business credit cards.

Keep in mind that the Latin phrase per diem, which means “by the day,” can also apply to a type of wage where the company pays the employee each day. Each day the employee works, or by the quota, they have been given, they get money. Workers on a per-diem basis generally operate on a transitory or contract basis. The standard for full-time employees who receive their salary on a biweekly basis differs from the per diem remuneration model.

What does the term “per-diem nurse” mean?

A per diem nurse is employed by a hospital or other facility as needed. The number of hours employees put in affects how much they are paid. Although it may only be temporary, certain nurses choose to work per diem rather than as staff nurses full-time.

Being a per diem nurse entails working coverage-related shifts, including last-minute openings. Because of staffing shortages and coverage deficits, per diem nursing positions will continue to exist as an alternative for nurses. You can cover shifts for nurses who called in sick, took a vacation, or when a ward is low on nurses.

The flexibility provided by per-diem jobs

Encourages switching careers

Per-diem nursing is a fantastic method to investigate changing careers. You can check out different institutions and specialties thanks to the flexibility and need for per-diem nurses. The following are additional benefits of per-diem nursing:

  • Assists you in your present employment by exposing you to new skills and practicing them
  • Aids in preparing you for potential future employment positions that you could be interested in

Testing new areas of expertise

Being a per-diem nurse can be interesting since you get to try various specializations. Your experience as a per-diem nurse will help you understand how different floors operate and what specialized skills you will need to adequately care for patients. Per-diem nurses can pursue a variety of specialties, including:

  • Telemetry
  • Surgical/Medical
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics

Some hospitals may train you if you accept a per-diem nursing position on a floor other than your current one. Additionally, you will receive an orientation to help you get ready to provide care to patients with particular needs.

Facilitates relocation

Per-diem work is advantageous when relocating to a new city. While picking up shifts at a different facility in a different city, you can keep working at your full-time job. Aside from picking up useful skills at your per-diem work, you can also scout out the area to see whether it’s a suitable fit while you’re there.

You can benefit from per-diem work if you:

  • Easily adapt to the new city
  • Earn additional money when relocating to a new city
  • Facilitate the transition to a new role


Per-diem nursing offers flexibility. Due to the flexibility of their schedules and availability, nurses prefer working on a per-diem basis. Per-diem nurses may be required to work a particular number of hours and days by some institutions.

Checking out new hospitals

With per-diem nursing, you can examine several hospitals. Every hospital operates differently. By operating on a per-diem basis, you will get a firsthand view of how the clinic runs and the procedures that are in place by operating on a per-diem basis. If you enjoy how some things are carried out at your per-diem employment, you may always recommend modifications there if you work full-time at another hospital.

Gives you the freedom to set your hours

Per-diem nurses often work the hours that are assigned to them by the hospital where they are employed. However, per-diem nurses could be free to pick their hours based on the facility. Per-diem nurses occasionally need to plan and save aside money for their schedules because the facility’s hours could change at the last minute.

How to be a per-diem nurse and succeed

If you are prepared and given the right advice, you can be a per-diem nurse. A sustainable schedule that prevents burnout is essential if you work a full-time job in addition to per-diem. Success as a per-diem nurse depends on your ability to:

  • Organized
  • Versatile
  • Planned

Listed below are a few instances of other nursing-related areas where you can succeed:

Present well-organized bedside reports.

It’s crucial to be well-organized and concise when providing a bedside nursing report. You might not visit the facility as frequently as other professional nurses because you work on a per-diem basis. When delivering a report, keep in mind to:

  • Be prepared
  • Start by providing current patient data.
  • Pose questions
  • Be persistent

Stick to the requirements of the position

It can be challenging to decide to work per-diem at a different facility and specialization if you are accustomed to doing things a specific way. It’s crucial to dedicate yourself to the work’s requirements. Be aware that it will take a while for you to adapt to new behaviors, but just like anything else, it will get easier.

Be attentive

As a per-diem nurse, pay attention to what other nurses are doing. You can develop your abilities over time. Keeping an eye out for small facts can also help prevent a patient’s health from changing in a life-threatening way.

A per-diem nurse must have the necessary training and experience.

A nurse practitioner with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an Associate in Nursing (ADN), or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) qualifies as a per-diem nurse. Before accepting a per-diem position, you must have at minimum six to a year of experience. To help you obtain as much experience as you can, this is done to safeguard both your license and your patients.


Working as a per-diem nurse requires either an ADN or a BSN. Per diem work is often available as your first employment or six to twelve months after beginning a full-time workplace. You can start working your per-diem job once you’re comfortable and have gained some experience.


As an LPN, you may also work daily. After completing a year of school, nurses can become LPNs. They can perform per-diem work at a facility like a long-term home or a skilled nursing center while also working at the bedside in clinics and/or other facilities.

Guidelines for handling per-diem nursing assignments

Working two jobs may seem daunting, but you can manage it by incorporating the following industry standards into your routine and way of life:

1. Create a budget

When a nurse works on a per-diem basis, budgeting is essential. It’s crucial to set aside any surplus cash. Create a savings account just for the money you earn from per-diem work. A strict spending plan can aid in debt repayment, and a designated savings account could help you set aside funds for living expenses, vacations, and other unforeseen costs.

2. Keep an open mind

Always be open-minded. Always keep in mind that although per-diem nurses have the freedom to choose their schedules, there are situations when you may be required to be adaptable. The hospital might need you to work on a certain day or take up extra shifts. Ensure that they return the favor.

3. Maintain good health

As a per-diem nurse, stay healthy. Working a full-time job plus per diem work can be harmful to your body and health. Make certain to:

  • Consume nutritious foods including fruits, nuts, veggies, and whole grains.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Take breaks by scheduling regular vacations.
  • 150 minutes a week or more of your favorite pastimes should be spent exercising.

4. Strengthen your communication abilities

When operating on a per-diem basis, communication is essential. Assumptions and blunders are avoided through communication. Never forget to share any issues or worries you have regarding your schedule or clinical management with your nurse management.

What exactly are per diem reimbursements?

A worker receives a per diem reimbursement from their employer as recompense for legitimate business costs. You can typically locate each company’s specific reimbursement plan in its travel regulations. For example, some businesses only refund pre-authorized costs and demand an expense report outlining every charge. Other businesses might automatically repay employees for the maximum daily per diem without needing them to produce receipts or reports.

Employees frequently use business credit cards for their purchases and submit expense reports. If a worker does not have access to company credit, they may pay for business-related expenses out of pocket and obtain reimbursement after their return from the trip. For per diem charges, some businesses provide their staff with a check in advance. The employer requests an expense report detailing the employee’s expenses when they return from business travel. In this case, the employee sends the employer any unused amount of the advance.

What is the per diem rate for travel?

The amount that an organization reimburses for each type of business expense is known as a per diem rate. For instance, the highest per diem travel fee for food maybe $50 per day. The employer might decide not to reimburse an employee for the $13 they spent more than their daily allotment of per diem for meals if they spent $70 on meals a day.

It should be noted that the United States General Services Administration determines the per diem rates for payment of federal government employees. Private companies may have different per diem rates, but if they are higher than the federal rate, the employee must pay taxes. The surplus money might be sent back to the employer to avoid paying taxes. The sum is not taxable if a firm’s per diem rate is equivalent to the federal rate. It should be noted that independent contractors are limited to using a per diem for food expenses.

What exactly is per-diem work?

A per diem work is one in which the worker is paid daily. They typically take their shifts by their preferred scheduling preferences and are contractors or other on-demand workers. This kind of position is typical in the education and healthcare sectors. Schools usually pay substitute teachers on a per diem basis, instead of by the actual number of hours they work. The number of days the replacement teacher works when the main teacher is absent due to illness will depend on their availability and the demands of the school.

A per diem job is a travel nurse’s job in the medical field. Hospitals that may require additional coverage frequently offer short-term contracts to travel nurses. They could work with a recruitment company that offers them contracts or can help position them at other hospitals across the nation. The number of shifts that travel nurses must work throughout their agreement may be specified in their contract.

The distinction between part-time employment and per-diem work

Per-diem employment and part-time employment have different characteristics. Among the variations are:

Per diem

  • No fixed timetable
  • You can either make your timetable or choose days that are open depending on the demands of the floor.
  • You might have to accept a specific number of shifts.
  • No hours are promised
  • You might not receive any advantages.
  • Premium pay, or compensation that is higher than what a full- or part-time nurse would earn
  • Sometimes you have a choice as to where you work.


  • Set a timetable
  • Regular hours
  • You could gain advantages.
  • Because you don’t work full-time hours, your pay is lower than that of a full-time employee.

Advantages of Per diem jobs

Per diem work has numerous advantages, such as:

  • Adaptable timetables
  • Possibilities to work in numerous places
  • Possibility to develop your talents by working for different companies
  • The potential for increased salaries

Advantages of per-diem nursing

The following income advantages come with taking per-diem nursing shifts:

  • Reducing debt, like credit card and student loan debt
  • Putting aside cash for the future
  • Saving money for a trip
  • Putting money aside to purchase a vehicle
  • Observing how other hospitals operate


Nurses have scheduling freedom when they work per diem. Per-diem shifts may pay more than typical nursing shifts because they are available on short notice.

Boost your nursing knowledge.

You can be allowed to operate on a new unit when you have a per-diem job.

Work in a variety of facilities

As a per-diem nurse, you can work at numerous hospitals, care homes, clinics, etc. Because it enables her to network and meet new individuals Caitlin appreciates that she may work at various hospital departments. She is also able to work on projects that are distinct from those she does for her day job.

Develop your career by pursuing a variety of specializations

You might choose to work in numerous specializations as a per diem nurse. For instance, you might wish to take on shifts in the pediatric ER if you operate in the adult ER. You may receive training before working at some hospitals. You can expand your skill set, accumulate more experience, and advance in your profession by being exposed to various disciplines.

Increased pay

For many reasons, nurses who work per-diem positions often earn a higher salary. These prices differ from one state to another. They receive a higher salary because:

Benefits including medical insurance, personal time off (PTO), and sick days are not required to be provided by hospitals.

  • Shifts frequently must be filled last minute.
  • During holidays, nurses take on shifts.
  • Specialty floors like labor and birth or the intensive care unit may pay more.
  • The number of hours you put in affects your payment immediately.

Seasonal employment possibilities

Seasonal per diem work is also an option. Holiday vacations, such as Christmas or summer break, are popular with nurses. During this season, hospitals may employ additional per-diem nurses so that their employees can take vacations.

There have been many nursing per-diem positions available since COVID-19. These shifts include some time spent at testing locations or beside patients’ bedsides. Although these shifts are brief, several nurses appreciate that they offer a solid buffer for additional money.

Disadvantages of becoming a per diem nurse

Being a nurse full-time can be demanding and exhausting. This is something to keep in mind while accepting per-diem shifts. Spreading oneself too thin can result from taking on too many shifts.

Absence of advantages

Be ready to work full-time per diem if you don’t want medical insurance. To maintain their benefits, per-diem nurses typically maintain their full-time status at a single facility. Some nurses decide to continue receiving healthcare benefits from their spouse or partner.

There is no assurance of hours.

Working per diem may not guarantee specific hours. Working on a per-diem basis has this drawback. You may be canceled by hospitals at any time. Working with a nursing workforce business that provides a variety of per-diem nursing employment could help you avoid this.

Be prepared to move between floors

You can float to various floors if you decide to work on a per-diem basis. The term “floating” describes transitioning between different units. Per-diem nurses may or may not think floating is advantageous. Although moving to a new floor may be nerve-wracking since you are unfamiliar with how things are conducted there, some nurses may find that doing so helps them to advance their nursing skills.

Is it worthwhile to work per-diem shifts?

You can use per diem work to pay off debt or save money for a specific purchase. To accomplish those aims, discipline, and tactics are necessary. According to Caitlin and Kristine,

  • Be present and driven by yourself.
  • Set reasonable goals.
  • Be adaptable
  • Be reliable.
  • When you are having difficulty or if you have attained your goal, evaluate again.
  • Continue setting new objectives.

When accepting per-diem shifts, they suggest the following measures to prevent burnout:

  • To rest and heal, only work every other week.
  • Never forget to set aside a day or two for yourself. Take care of yourself by getting regular massages and facials.
  • Regular exercise
  • Set aside per diem shifts for activities that are typically lighter, like office work or giving immunizations.
  • Rest

Working on a per-diem basis might be a great way to save money and add to your income. It offers a chance to learn about other nursing specialties and disciplines, network with new nurses, and get a glimpse into how various hospitals run.


You can have a lot of flexibility if you want to become a nurse. Per-diem nursing positions give nurses the flexibility to plan their schedules and strike a healthy work/life balance. For a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to work on different floors and with different specialties, the chance to network with other nurses, and scheduling flexibility, nurses operate per diem or flexible staff.

Frequently Asked Questions about per diem work

  • What distinguishes part-time employment from per diem work?

The majority of part-timers work a regular schedule with fixed hours. Usually, they are scheduled for fewer than 30 hours each week. Companies, however, do not promise per diem workers a regular schedule. When a facility has poor coverage or is particularly busy, businesses may call them in as needed. Employees on a per-diem basis could put in as many hours as full-timers.

  • How many hours is a per diem worker permitted to work?

A per diem worker may put in as many hours as the organization’s policy allows, which varies from center to center. Employees paid on a per-diem basis could fill in for full-time or part-time workers with various shift lengths and timetables. If they are filling in for a specific employee or simply meeting the facility’s basic employment requirements, their shifts may also vary.

  • What privileges are available to you as a per diem worker?

Before beginning, you might inquire with your institution or recruitment agency about the conditions of your job or contract. Some per diem workers get facility updates, performance reviews, and feedback as required. To perform their jobs, per diem workers typically have access to the same equipment and software as full-time and part-time workers.

Per diem workers usually do not have access to perks like paid time off or health insurance. For the per diem personnel they strive to place with various firms, several staffing agencies may offer compensation packages. Furthermore, some organizations might categorize per diem workers as independent contractors. This implies that since taxes are not deducted from your weekly paychecks, you may need to put money aside for taxes throughout the year.

  • How can I discover jobs that pay per diem?

If you operate in a field where per diem workers are widespread, you can frequently inquire with a potential employer about if they require per diem coverage.

Per diem positions or open availability may also be listed in job postings. Several of a company’s clinics may require per diem workers; therefore, the job posting may specify more than one location.

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