PRN confusion

  1. I am a new graduate and had some confusion with the PRN jobs.

    The hope is that I score a FT job soon. After I get a month or two under my belt, I'd like to add on some PRN time. I'll be doing 3 12-hour days so I'm looking for something for at 1-2 other days during the week or the weekends. The joys of single life, hahaha. I am hoping to relocate within a year so I'm trying to get as much experience and money so I can do that.

    Just wondering the general consensus about the PRN jobs and about how much I can expect to make working 1-2 days a week in addition to the FT job? And I know most people advise waiting on the PRN job until you've got some more experience, so what's your input there as well? I'm trying to get an idea of the timeline for when I can start looking at moving. Thanks for the advice!!
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    About kate99

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 4; Likes: 2


  3. by   amarilla
    I suppose it will really depend on what type of job you're able to get and the state of the job market where you live.

    That being said, I'm not sure you'll be ready to work PRN or per diem after just a month or two on the job. You'll be busy learning how to be a nurse - your foundation skills, time management, delegation, prioritization and all that good stuff - for *at least* the first year or so. If it were me - and it was, just a few years ago - I would concern myself with landing a good first position and learning all I can there before beginning to branch out. Perhaps you might want to get your first job wherever you're going to relocate? The job market is getting so tight that even the magical '1 year' experience is becoming 2-3 years; you might want to give yourself a longer window or move sooner.

    The reason people say you need experience - at least a year, if not more - to work per diem or PRN is because you are expected to walk into the role with minimal training and do the job. On my last PD job, I received one night training on a general surg floor before working on my own, (basically: those are the forms we use, I hope you know how to use the computer, there's the supply room and here's a list of phone numbers with your assignment.) Some jobs will offer more training, some even less, but all of them will expect you to have foundation skills in your area and be able to work independently with minimal supervision. That's just not something I see any new grad doing safely or competently, (JMO). PRN/PD rates are higher than regular staff because you will not receive benefits, accrue PTO or have the benefit of guaranteed hours, (you will be first to be floated and cancelled, also), but don't let rates fool you into accepting assignments you aren't ready to handle. It will come in time - it does for all of us.

    If you want extra work, depending on what your first job ends up being and the preceptorship you complete, plenty of folks give flu shots, spend a day or two working for a private practice or doing private duty. There is usually something out there to do for extra money, though I don't know any of these areas to pay the rate you're talking about, (most pay much less than acute care, in my experience, particularly if you're a new nurse.)

    Good luck.
  4. by   kate99
    Ok thanks! I figured it would take more experience than that. Where can you look for opportunities for clinics and things like that? I'm in a VERY rural environment. And it really isn't feasible for me to move immediately there, I just don't have the money starting off to establish myself there.
  5. by   itsnowornever
    Some smaller hospitals here will hire new grads PRN and then once or twice a week link you with a preceptor. You get taught how to do the job, but dont overwhelm the preceptor by being there on every single shift.
  6. by   turnforthenurse
    A majority of hospitals require 2-3 years of experience in order to work PRN.

    Are you PT now? Are you eligible for overtime at your facility? Places typically won't allow you to pick up overtime until after you 90-day probationary period, however.
  7. by   ChristineN
    I have worked PRN jobs on and off since I had 2 years experience. It is a great way to broaden your horizens, but there is no way in hell I would hire a nurse with only 2 months of experience to work PRN. You need to be able to hit the ground running, and to have a good understanding of what to expect to see in the area you will be working. At my first PRN jobs I had all of a 3 day unit orientation, that's it. Which was fine for me because I had worked as an RN on a similar unit elsewhere for 2 years and was already very comfortable, but 3 days would not be enough for a new grad. At 2 months you probably will not even be done with orientation.

    I recommend after orientation picking up an extra shift a week or so on your unit, in order to get extra money.
  8. by   DoeRN
    I wouldn't recommend PRN as a new grad. I work PRN now and I am expected to come in and get to work. I had 1 1/2 days of orientation. I say 1/2 because the computer crashed for half the day. I wasn't able to make that day up. I always get floated and even when I'm floated I am expected to know what to do. And a lot of times new grads will come to you with questions because it is assumed you have a lot of experience. Yes, I make $$$ more money than regular nurse but I don't have benefits and I'm suppose to have more experience. I've have been pulled to be a charge nurse during desperate times. See if you can work OT at your FT job after orientation.
  9. by   RNewbie
    I agree with above posters about the experience needed to work per diem or PRN. I think it would be a better idea to wait until you are off orientation and pick up extra shifts. I guess it depends on the hospital but when I first started out there were plenty of extra shifts available. As long as your facility doesn't have a problem with you getting overtime they should be happy to give you extra shifts vs having to call in an agency nurse. Good luck!