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Anyone work only per diem with an agency?


Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

Does anyone here only work per diem with an agency as their only source of income?

I currently work as a full time school nurse and I really hate it. I left 3 years in a Level III NICU to take the school nurse gig because the prospect of no evening, weekends, holiday and summers off was very appealing. Well the work is incredibly dull and, as the only nurse in the building, extremely isolating. In short, I wish I'd never left the NICU.

After I started at the school I signed with a staffing agency to pick up per diem shifts in my old NI unit to pay for a big vacation we are taking this summer. I've been able to get every shift I've wanted to work and have only been canceled once. I have gone through all of the steps required to pick up not only in my old unit but also 2 more hospitals in the area (my area has a TON of special care, Level II and Level III NICUs).

So I guess my question is: Is it possible to make a full time job out of per diem agency work? We can sign up for my husband's health insurance through his employer and I, if I'm doing my math correctly, can make more money working about 24-32 hours a week for an agency versus 40 hours a week at my current dull job. Even though it means working weekends (which I do anyway since that's the only time I'm available for per diem work) I am still not required to work holidays so it seems like a win-win. I'm just nervous about not having a guaranteed paycheck each week!

Advice much appreciated! TIA!

I'd think w/as specialized as your skill set is you would be able to maintain steady work PRN - you can always let it be known you are willing - if you are - to work other units. Another option would be to do local travel contract. I use to work PRN exclusively and never had an issue being called off/finding hours. You could also look to sign up w/a dedicated pediatric home health agency PRN too. PSA is always needing nurses around here w/peds experience.

I understand completely about not liking the M-F job. I'm currently working in a doctors office, which I know many nurses would love, but like you I am bored and unhappy with it & even though it's 8-9 versus 12-13 it's more stressful in some ways. Hope you are able to get out of where you are soon.

Following. Sorry you're hating your job. I'm currently looking into Per Diem work with an agency and looking hear some feedback from current agency nurses.

Hi LPN here working for NurseCore. I only work agency. I am bridging to RN and need the schedulung freedom. I have 6 years experience in sub acute rehab, vent/trach, am very comfortable dealing with ostomies and g/j tubes. I work overnights, Peds, in home and am currently paid $24/hr for 60+ hours a week. I have no life. í ½í¸œ NurseCore only hires +1 year experience and you have to pass competencies to be hired. All the hours anyone cares to work are available!


Has 2 years experience.

I'm thinking of doing the same thing in Los Angeles. I have two years NICU but only want to do 2 shifts per week since I also have an unrelated home business. I'm looking into agencies right now too, so maybe we can compare information!


Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

I did it for almost a year. Short call coverage for everything that was out there within my skill set. It was very high stress, as I was thrown into completely unfamiliar SNFs as a single ACLS certified RN responsible for dozens of patients. But: 1) my agency was really good, familiar with local facilities and did their best to protect me, 2) I was able to finance my future Masters 100% after that one year with some thick leftovers, as I was paid up to $60/hour, 3) the facilities needed help so badly that they treated me VERY well. There was not a noise about any gossip, anything even remotely like the terrors of my first year, and 4) after that, one needs to make a quite substantial effort to scare me with something.

After graduating from nursing school, I went straight to ICU (10 bed) and got myself trained. Like you, therefore, I have very lucrative ICU experience, so it was very easy to find Agency job.

when I was full time staff RN in an ICU, I hated employee meeting, group, must involvement in the Unit, various pet projects, FORCED overtime (they fire people who don't show up in off days), nasty performace evaluation, and I hated all of them.

Now that I only work for Agency as per-diem, I can work as many as 36 hr. to just once a week. It is so great not having to deal with management completely.

I work per diem through an agency. I know I could pick up enough shifts to work full time. I know other nurses who do work agency per diem full time.

I think its a great way to work when and where you want.