Per Diem versus Part Time

  1. Hi all! I've been a lurker/member here for a while now but have never posted. Greetings!

    I am hoping someone can help me with some general information. I'm a relatively new RN - worked on a telemetry floor for about a year and a half. Then I quit for a few months in order to pursue some music dreams and am now looking for the best way to start working again with more flexible hours.

    If I were to work Per Diem for a hospital, are you guaranteed a number of hours a week? How does scheduling work out?

    Are Part-Time jobs more difficult to get, and do you have to put in for your schedule dates at the same time full-time RNs do?

    Thanks for any and all help!
  2. Visit Noxi profile page

    About Noxi

    Joined: Nov '04; Posts: 17; Likes: 13
    Tele RN


  3. by   luvmy2angels
    Usually you arent guaranteed a certain # of hours with per diem, basically you work whenever you are available and they are in need. Part time would give you that "security" of having a certain # of hours.
    Sometimes with per diem you are required to work at least one weekend a month, and maybe 1 or 2 holidays a year, depends on the facility.
    Our facility has a needs list book with all the days and shifts that need to be filled so the flex people usually come in and see if they want any days and then the rest of us pick up whatever is left.
  4. by   glenwood
    I loved working per diem I could take two weeks off when I wanted. Their was always full time work if I needed it. Ask the nurse recruiter at the facility you want to work at or a supervisor. every place has its own rules.
  5. by   TazziRN
    BUT.....working per d you do not get benefits. No insurance, no vacation time, no sick time, nothing. If you do not have another job with benefits or earn enough working per d to buy your own health insurance, it's better to go part time.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I work perdiem and love it. But my dh has a benefitted job, so we have med/dental w/his job. I have none of the hassles of being part or full time and make 15% more being PD. Also, I work when I want to. I am not obligated anything beyond 4 shifts/mo. It works very well for me. I work when I want to and am off when I want to be. Flexibility is a two way street, however, and I will work w/my coworkers and manager to help out when needed, if I can.'

    The facts are these:

    -you will get a Per Diem differential in lieu of benefits, ranging, usually from 10-20% above base pay for regular nurses.

    -you will generally get no benefits, such as medical/dental/educational or paid time off (PTO), BUT do get to participate in thrift savings/retirement plans, such as 401K (which I max out and have since I became employed).

    -you accrue no seniority when it comes to securing positions within the organization. this means, when stacked up against 'regulars", you will not have points seniority-wise, when applying for positions within your organization. this can hurt if you want to get a job in another department or go from day to night shift in yours----the regulars, full or part time will take priority over you, every time. but you WILL get pay increases by year, just as "regulars" do.

    -there are no "guaranteed" shifts and most places, perdiems are cut first when census is low---so it's possible you will have "zero" paychecks, if you are cut enough.

    -you get the "leftover" shifts, meaning, the regular staff sign up for what they want first, and then you fill the holes.

    -you generally get to take vacation and time off when you want, albeit unpaid. This means, no having to stand in line behind others based on seniority, you just tell them when you are available and when you are not, and then you take off. I love that.

    -you will be mandated/obligated to work at least "some" shifts in a given schedule. Many places, this means 2 regular shifts and two weekend ones. And most places, this also may mean at least one major holiday, such as Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving etc.

    Make sure you ask your Human Resources personnel for details on how Per Diem works in your hospital.

    Per Diem is the ONLY way to go for me----I love the flexibility.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 14, '06
  7. by   floatRN
    Where I work, the per diem nurses aren't guaranteed hours. They can sign up for shifts that are short staffed. However, if the census drops, they often get their shift cancelled-sometimes with only a couple hours notice.
  8. by   Noxi
    Thanks to everybody for their help and insight!! Its invaluable to me. Based on what I've heard here I think I'm going to look into applying for Per Diem at 2 different hospitals. I'll see what the nurse recruiters have to say. I've got my benefits figured out and I'm pretty good at living "on-the-cheap", but I can't have too many scary zero paychecks
    Really craving that flexibility. If it doesn't work out my next move will be part time.

    Thanks again! This helped so much! Cheers and have an excellent day
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Good luck. BTW, I live in WA as well!