What Are Per Diem Nursing Pros and Cons?

Every job has its pros and cons. Per diem nursing is no different, but after reading this article, you might agree that the pros outweigh the cons. Take a look as we outline everything you need to know before jumping into a career as a per diem nurse.

What is Per Diem Nursing?

Before we delve into the pros and cons of per diem nursing, let’s answer: what is per diem nursing? “Per diem” is Latin for “by the day.” Essentially, per diem nurses are nurses that are on call. These nurses don’t necessarily have a fixed shift. There might also be cases where a per diem nurse fills in for a regular staff nurse. Usually, per diem nurses are assigned by a nurse staffing agency to work in different health care units. In most hospitals, float nurse and per diem nurse are used interchangeably, but they are not actually synonymous. While per diem nurses are usually in the floating pool (meaning belong to a group of nurses without a fixed department or healthcare facility) the per diem status means you get paid by the day.

Requirements of Per Diem Nursing:

To be considered a per diem nurse, you must first be a registered nurse. Nursing professionals considered for the role should not only have the license to practice, but also the experience to back it up. The staffing agency might ask if you’ve had experience working in different health care departments, such as emergency, ICU, NICU, etc. Regardless, because per diem nurses are assigned to departments that require the most patient care, the nurse staffing agency would like to know you are capable of being in any department.

Work when and where you want. Learn more!

Pros of Per Diem Nursing:

  • Make your schedule: Work when and where you want to! Per diem nursing means you get to take control of your career and pick the shifts, specialties, and facilities you want. 
  • Competitive compensation: Earn some extra cash while picking up per diem shifts. Competitive salary and the ability to work are offered to per diem nurses to make that extra holiday cash when other staff may want time off. Working in the per diem field, you can receive top dollar for the hours you work. This compensation could be your next vacation or the perfect Christmas gift!
  • Working in multiple specialties: When you float to different units, you can float to different specialties! A per diem nurse can work in every specialty in every age demographic. You will never have to choose just one specialty; you can have them all! 
  • Balancing work and play seamlessly: A work-life balance is becoming more and more important for employees. Taking time to spend with family or going on a vacation is exactly what the doctor ordered. With the ability to make your schedule, you never have to get your time off approved. 

Cons of Per Diem Nursing:

  • Hours are not guaranteed: As a per diem nurse, you never know how many hours you will be working. A typical week could consist of several hours of overtime or no shifts at all. It is a blessing and a curse; you can pick up shifts when you want to, but you also are at the liberty of a facility’s staffing needs, perm staff, and full-time employees. 
  • Inconsistent paychecks: With no guarantee for hours, this will affect your bottom line. Working various hours each week, it is hard to know how much you will be making. Additionally, as a per diem nurse, you are likely working in different facilities, which means different pay rates. 
  • Last minute shift changes: When you are working per diem, you agree to be on call. This means that you are subject to last-minute shift cancelations or being called in on your day off. It also means that the location you have been scheduled is also subject to change. All of these last-minute changes can impact the work-life balance that working in a per diem career is known for! 
  • Float expectations: Being required to work on-call and go where needed, you will likely be floating between different units and possibly different facilities.

Pursuing a Per Diem Career

MAS Medical Staffing offers opportunities in per diem nursing! We work in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. We have plenty of opportunities for you to jump-start your nursing career in a position that puts you in the driver’s seat. Speak with one of our recruiters today and start working when you want to.

Reviewed By:

Dawn Porreca Antaya, Company Leader – Dawn has been with the company for over 13 years and in the staffing and home care industry for over twenty-four.  She lives in Glocester, Rhode Island with her devoted husband and their working line, German Shepherd.  Outside of work she is passionate about organ donation, specifically living donation and enjoys nature, meditation and music festivals . A true New Englander, her day starts with an iced coffee from Dunkin!



  1.  https://theothershift.com/working-per-diem-nursing/ 
  2. https://www.nurse.com/blog/2021/08/16/is-per-diem-nursing-for-you-weigh-the-pros-and-cons/
  3. https://www.masmedicalstaffing.com/blog/6-benefits-of-per-diem-nursing/ 
  4. https://www.masmedicalstaffing.com/blog/common-per-diem-myths-debunked/
  5. https://www.masmedicalstaffing.com/blog/3-benefits-of-working-as-a-per-diem-nurse-during-the-holidays/ 
  6. https://www.registerednursing.org/articles/what-does-mean-per-diem-nurse 
  7. https://all50medical.com/travel-nursing/per-diem-nurse/ 
  8. https://allnurses.com/per-diem-float-na-t365413/
  9. https://www.nurse.com/blog/2009/07/10/what-is-the-difference-between-a-part-time-and-per-diem-position/



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