Per Diem question ! ( need help )


I have recently accepted a Per Diem position as a new grad respiratory therapist. A few things worry me about per diem though. How often do you typically get shifts ? Are there any real benefits to Per Diem other than salary increase? At what point do you take a second per diem job and how do you balance the two from conflicting?

I appreciate the help in advance !


2,438 Posts

Per diem typically means you don't have any scheduled hours. You get to pick up the leftovers based on what you want. Generally there are no benefits with a per diem position.

teeniebert, LPN

563 Posts

These are questions to ask the scheduler at the facility/units where you'll be assigned. Let them know when you're available, how many hours you'd like to work, and if you have other commitments (not available Tuesday evenings due to a class, etc.). I'm working per diem through an agency right now, and there are enough hours available that I could work a double shift every day if I wanted to. It varies by the week, though, depending on vacations, maternity leaves, and retirements.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

With per diem, you work when they have time available, if you choose to take it. Sometimes that would mean you work alot, and sometimes you won't work at all. It's good to let the employer know particular days you'd be available, and take hours they offer then, so you establish a relationship and become obvious in the scheduler's mind.

I've known people who work full time hours or more even though they are officially per diem. For one person I know, it was a way to get around having to work nights, weekends, or holidays. Plus he got paid $5 more per hour than the rest of us.

The problem get no benefits at all.


58 Posts

Specializes in ER.

PRN work has its ups and downs. I recently picked up a PRN job with an agency along with my full time job. Sometime they'll call with two places for me to choose from and then other times, like now, I dont hear from them for a week or two.

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

If this is your only job and you need the hours I would always be on the look out for a second PRN job. I work two PRN nursing jobs and it's great. At each facility I can be 100% flexible with my schedule, have off whenever I want, etc. Very easy to juggle both jobs around each other. I like having 2 PRN positions in case one facility has a low census for a long period of time so that I still have a back up job so I can get hours.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I work PRN/per diem at one facility and usually receive a full-time schedule of 36 hours per week. The major drawback is the fact that I do not receive any benefits such as health insurance or the ability to start a company 401k retirement account. The major benefit is that I pick and choose when I want to work. In addition, I am earning $11 more per hour than other full-time staff members at my experiential level.

tyvin, BSN, RN

1,620 Posts

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

Per Diem means per day and you work when you want to picking up all the uncovered shifts, being called for a sick call to cover etc... as has been discussed. The thing with health benefits is that in the states where employers are suppose to offer their employees health insurance if you work 20 hours a week for 4 weeks straight then they must offer you an employee health package. The trick is that you must maintain the hours or the insurance will lapse.

I worked per diem for one year and did > 40 hours per week and had coverage the whole time until they hired me permanently and the coverage continued. But in the states where employers are not required to help cover the employees you get nothing. Also in the states where it is offered the trick to getting and keeping the health insurance is to work those 20 or more hours per week on a continuous basis.


11 Posts

Well luckily I have my own insurance that cannot be beat. I am more or less worried about how you set a home budget having no true idea of how much you will be making. I am an analytical person and it worries me when I don't know if the I's will be dotted and the T's crossed ya know :)

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

You're smart to be thinking about your budget. It's important to have a pool of savings to use during those months when you don't bring in much income. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend money as soon as they make it ... not having anything saved for those "rainy days" or for those months when they don't get called for lots of shifts.


229 Posts

I was just hired for a per diem mental health tech job and hoping I can get plenty of hours. I have one year of nursing school left and have been working full time all along, but my research job is ending in August. I am thrilled I got this one job but will probably look for another per diem or part time job just to be safe.


11 Posts

I am thinking about waiting 3 months to see how it goes, and if I am not getting enough shifts I will look for a second per diem gig to help supplement my income.