Should I stay per diem with my old job?

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Should I stay per diem with my old job?

Hi Nurse Beth,

I am transferring to an Endoscopy clinic soon and am very excited about the experience, team and schedule of the clinic. I have a little over a year of experience at a step down unit. A mentor suggested to me to stay per diem at my hospital unit step down so I can retain seniority, as my new job will be non union.

Do you all think it would be manageable to work full time with 4 per diem shifts? Would it be worth it for the pay and maintaining my skills in critical care? I'm worried completely transferring to the clinic may limit my options in the future. Appreciate any feedback, Thank you!

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,316 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Worried,

Balancing a full-time job with four per diem shifts can be manageable, but it also depends on your circumstances, work ethic, and ability to handle the workload. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if this arrangement is worth it for you:


Maintaining Skills. Working per diem shifts in your step-down unit will help you retain and hone your critical care skills, which can be valuable for your career and provide a safety net in case you ever need to return to critical care nursing.

Income Boost. The extra per diem shifts can significantly boost your income, which can be advantageous for various financial goals, such as paying off debts, saving, or investing.

Seniority. Maintaining seniority is advantageous if you plan to return to your step-down unit or if you value your current position in the unit.


Workload Balancing a full-time job with per diem shifts can be demanding, and ensuring you don't become overworked or tired is important. When you're per diem, you must attend staff meetings and complete assigned education and competencies.

Time Management You'll need excellent time management skills to juggle multiple shifts, responsibilities, and potential schedule changes.

Burnout Risk Working two jobs can increase the risk of burnout, negatively impacting your well-being and performance in both roles.

Quality of Life Consider how this schedule will affect your personal life, relationships, and overall quality of life. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for long-term well-being.

Ultimately, the decision should align with your career goals and personal priorities if you value maintaining critical care skills, earning additional income, and retaining seniority, then working per diem shifts while in your new Endoscopy clinic position could be a good option.

However, be mindful of your capacity to handle the workload and ensure it doesn't negatively impact your well-being.

It's also worth discussing this plan with your new employer to ensure they know your intentions and can accommodate your per diem schedule alongside your full-time position. Additionally, periodically assess your situation to ensure it continues to meet your goals and needs.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

3,797 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

If staying PRN requires 4 shifts a month and if you are already working M-F at your new job that essentially requires you to work every other weekend to get those 4 shifts in.  So the big question is are you willing to go such a long stretch working when you have to pick up those per diem shifts?  Is only having 4 days a month at most that you don't work OK with you?  

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