PRN different than per diem?

Nurses General Nursing


I've been scanning a lot of want ads and such lately for RN positions, and I was just wondering....are PRN positions different than per diem positions? I personally find all of the different classifications that employers have to be very very confusing. For instance, one hospital I'm interested in has 5 different classifications of "per diem" and with a couple of those

classifications you can have medical benefits. That's what is confusing me, because I thought that PRN and per diem positions were basically the same thing and meant that you work when you want to work (if they can use you) but aren't guaranteed any hours, you have a higher rate of pay, and are without benefits. Does it just vary from employer to employer or do I just not understand this stuff? Anyone else find that all completely confusing to try and muddle through?


235 Posts

Hospitals are getting very creative with staffing to attract more people. Ours currently has regular full time, flex full time, regular part time, limited part time, prn, and per diem. Per diem people are scheduled a set number of days in a pay period, and are guaranteed these days. Prn staff are not scheduled at all. They are called when needed, and come in only if they are available. There are different levels of benefits for each type of scheduling. Full time and flex full time get full benefits. Part time is pro-rated, and those people pay part of their own. Per diem people get very limited benefits, but a higher pay rate. Prn staff get no benefits, but the highest pay rate. Each hospital is different in what they offer. The best thing to do is ask about the different plans when you interview, and then negotiate for what you want.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I agree with RNinICU. You have to talk with the particular employers you are interested in. In general, the terms per diem and PRN are used to indicate the same types of positions that include a decreased scheduling committment, fewer or no benefits, and more cash. However, as employers experiment with different options, there are lots of variations out there.

Each person simply has to ask, get all the information on all the available options, and then make a choice that they can live with.



656 Posts

No committment with per diem -- you work when you want. You are the first cancelled & first to float. No "prn" nurses at my facility, yet.

Specializes in Mental Health, MI/CD, Neurology.

So how does a position that is labeled as "casual" fit in?


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

Every facility gets to define these terms however it wishes.

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