Per Diem Nursing

  1. I am currently working as a per diem nurse on a surgical floor. There is no additional pay per hour for per diem vs. being a part-time or full-time nurse. Is a per diem hospital nurse typically paid slightly more per hour to compensate for loss of all benefits? I realize not all hospitals have the same policy, but I was wondering if anyone knows the industry standard for the hospital per diem nurse. Any information would be appreciated.
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    About A working nurse

    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 4


  3. by   nurseyperson
    I work per diem, or as we call it at our hospital and others, PRN. I have done it for 5 years and it has its ups and downs. When I started, I got 25% above the base for RNs because of no benefits. If you work over 1000 hours per year, the government mandates that the hospital has to give you retirement. That is the only perk I got.
    Then there were lots of changes at the hospital and all wages were raised (except mine!) the wages for PRNs were changed to the top of the pay scale for whatever class you were in...LPN, Staff RN, etc. Well, I was already making more than that with my 25%, and so they left mine there; Grandfathered in my wage. I have gotten one perk lately...I went to the bosses and requested (again) that they pay for my ACLS since it was required for my position in ICU.
    I work in lots of areas, ICU, ER and NeoICU. It is very tough sometimes to get the amounts of hours you want and need. It is either feast or famine. Staff nurses often get mad at you because "you make the big bucks" and "you don't have to work weekends or holidays" But we are often called off and floated and may not get to work at all if staffing if good and census is low. Our hospital also has a policy about having to work a certain amount of hours if called, we can be put on the schedule like regular staff (after it is filled out and if there are holes and regular staff doesn't want the OT) and we have to work a full weekend every quarter (3 months) and have to work one winter and one summer holiday. It depends on where their home department is and how much the treasure the PRNs if everything is enforced and how well we are accepted. Sometimes people realize we are there to help, other times people use us and gripe about our schedules, etc. Oh well. You can't please all the people all the time. All in all, it has worked well for me. I sometimes work a lot more hours than what I want to (two 12 hour shifts is almost as much pay as 3 at regular pay (not quite)) but you work when you can if you can to make up for the lean times. I am also worked PRN at a clinic and home health and another hospital all at different times to fill in when my main areas are fully staffed, but that doesn't last long any more!!!
    Hope this helps.
  4. by   A working nurse
    Thank-you for taking the time to reply to my inquiry regarding per diem. I suppose it is time I went to my nurse manager and ask for a raise! (When I went from part-time to per diem I lost my vacation benefit with no increase in base pay).
  5. by   nurseratchit
    At my hospital (in So. Cal) I make about 10$ more an hour working per diem and I love it. I actually work full time hours, I just like the flexibility and freedom that per diem allows. I work nights in the ER and I've never had a problem getting hours in the 2 years since I've gone per diem; in fact more often than not I work more than the full-timers. I am still required to fulfill a certain # of weekend hours and holidays (no xtra holiday pay), but for the most part I just put in my schedule and I get what I want. Working ER, if I'm scheduled, there's no chance of being called off. My minimum requirement is 6 shifts per schedule. When I want to take a vacation, I don't have to put in for it and wait for approval, I just go! In fact I'm going for 3 weeks in 2 days and still fulfilling my minimum.
    The cons:no benefits, but I do get the pension plan and can participate in the 401K with employer matching. I'm a 30's healthy female so health insurance is inexpensive for me.
    No PTO
    Was not included in the across the board pay raise this year (which was onlyy2.5%, but still...), but I still make much more than many of my peers and as much as nurses who have worked there for 10 years or more.
    I rarely get that per diem stigma, but when I do, I let people know that there is definitely my situation it's worth it for me. I must say I wouldn't feel that way if I was not getting paid more. Even with the trade-offs, I feel like I'm getting paid closer to what I'm worth as an RN.
  6. by   AJACKT33Z

  7. by   Pegbert
    Hey working PRN is a no brainer! I double my income working PRN, and trust me, I have no trouble getting hours where I work. I work in Long Term, but while LPN"s are struggling for l3.25 an hour in my area, I am doing 20.00 an hour. Benefits? Married a Teacher! So, it works for me, but I agree, you want time off, don't schedule yourself, vacation, you get to pick the time, and not some Manager that does not give a heck about you.
  8. by   PPL
    AJACKT33Z, you never DID tell us the story that you mentioned above. Also, are you going to march in the Million Nurse March?
  9. by   LaurieCRNP2002
    I recently went per-diem at my facility, at the end of November. Like nurseratchit, I basically work full-time hours. I am in graduate school and love the flexibility. If I want a day, or two, before a test off, I just don't schedule myself! I don't have to put in a request and then wonder if it will be honored. I had been working full time nights and had spoken to my manager about decreasing my hours. Although he seemed receptive to the idea,he didn't do much about it, which is his typical "modus operandi". So I decided, forget this,I'm doing what I want! I have had NO problems getting hours, not necessarily on my "home floor" but other floors are short, so between signing up for time and people asking me to work for them, my schedule has filled up very quickly! :-) I am hoping to try agency work after the new year...more of the agencies in my area are offering benefits for full-time. The trade-off, as others have mentioned, is the lack of benefits. As I said, though, if I like agency enough, I may go full time and will be able to get my benefits that way. Working per diem has provided me with such peace of mind, knowing that I can take what time I need off for school. It is well worth the trade-off of no benefits.

  10. by   babs_rn
    I second the sentiments of the other posters. To answer your question, yes, perdiem nurses generally are paid more per hour than the full time nurses are in lieu of benefits. Since you are not getting that, I would suggest you look elsewhere (agency, perhaps? Then you can get the higher rate of pay and a few bennies to go with it). The real perk is the fact that you are not owned by the hospital - face it, most hospitals do feel they own their nurses on and off duty. They sure do control their lives with the scheduling. I haven't been able to plan anything more than one work schedule in advance.