Only per diem nurse?

  1. I am considering a career change. Currently elementary school teacher. I've been taking small steps to try and get in to a local 2 year RN program. I also have 2 small children and am just wondering, if I even get into it, finish the program, etc....could I just work prn for a while? Like starting out? I'd love to just work a couple of days a week for a few years. Just wondering if that's something you can do without experience. I'd be at a rural hospital.
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    About careerchanger2

    Joined: May '18; Posts: 3
    from TN , US

    8 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    PRN is not usually available to new graduates, although there are occasional exceptions. My PRN position required a minimum of two years experience.
    As PRN staff, I am also the first to be floated and canceled. I've been canceled for six weeks at a time during some low census times. At other times, I get daily calls begging me to work extra.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Depends upon the needs of the employer and what they will agree to. However, you should consider getting X amount of full time nursing experience under your belt in the beginning to solidify your confidence so you don't prolong the fish out of water effect.
  5. by   JKL33
    I don't think that is the approach that will give you the best chances at a solid start to your career. I don't think it is very possible in acute care, and in other areas (home care, PDN, etc.) I would be concerned that you'd be putting yourself into a situation where you're working without both the solid background and without many support systems/references around you to consult. LTC also doesn't seem like an area where you can practice safely by working now and then and never developing a solid footing.

    A nursing career (with a solid foundation) is great for being able to do your plan eventually. 5++ years down the road. IMO it should be front-loaded by achieving solid competence, if not expertise. And in 5++ years, you may enjoy having your kids' schedule...

    Curious - - anything in particular compelling this change?

    And, in what type of setting (acute care, LTC, clinic/office, homecare, PDN, etc) do you see yourself eventually working?
  6. by   Emergent
    I got into nursing with part-time work for the same reasons. It worked well for me.
  7. by   JKL33
    ...for what it's worth, I don't know that I would've given the same answer 10-15+ years ago.

    So much has changed, everything from the acuity of patients who are deemed sick enough to have someone pay for nursing services all the way to companies' relationships with employees. And everything in-between.

    But "caution" could've been my middle name, so my $.02 comes with that grain of salt.

    The most likely scenario where I would see the OP's wishes being possible these days would be a small hospital where there's still some semblance of employer-employee relationships, and the ability to work full time for at least enough of a period of time to get footing (say, work FT or nearly-FT hours for a few months in order to be oriented properly, get the lay of the land, and be minimally comfortable with the care requirements). What I wouldn't try is working now and then while starting as a novice for an employer who already had the extra revolving doors installed...
  8. by   chacha82
    Backwards answer I know...but...

    "A few days a week" can be full-time work in nursing. (3 or 4 days). If your true passion is NURSING, go ahead and pursue this, but it will not feel like "a few days a week" while you are in school. Do you know you can work at this small hospital? My experience with smaller hospitals is that they don't have a lot of PRN positions, they just go without the extra staff. Anyone else, feel free to jump in and correct me. PRN work is best found in large health systems that can move a lot of people around, or in other settings that may not be new - grad friendly.

    If your goal is to simply work a few days a week instead of M - F as a teacher, why not just look for a position with your educator's experience (private tutoring, substitute teaching) and work 3 days a week? You will be taking a pay cut but you will also be taking a pay cut going from full-time teaching to nursing school, then to being a PRN nurse.
  9. by   careerchanger2
    Thank you for responding. A lot of these responses help me put into perspective that I would not get a correct footing for the job while being part time. I feel like I do have a true passion for nursing- it just may not be the right time.
  10. by   careerchanger2
    I agree totally. This sounds crazy- it it really wasn't something I thought much about until you say it that way. I def don't want to start without a solid foundation.

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