What is Per Diem Nursing?

Two nurses reading a patient chart

Are you looking for some extra shifts or just a change of pace in your job? A career in per diem nursing offers individuals the option to be in the driver’s seat of their career! Choose the shifts that fit your life schedule and the facilities that you want to work in when you have a per diem nursing job. Learn more about per diem nursing and what a nursing career with MAS Medical Staffing could look like! 

What is Per Diem Nursing?

In Latin, per diem means “per day,” which is fitting because as a per diem nurse, every day is different. When you work as a per diem healthcare employee, you are working as a support staff nurse to facilities that need extra hands. It is common for staff to work on-call and float to different facilities.

So, how does per diem nursing work, exactly? Per diem staff are the cream of the crop and are quick on their feet. Picking up last-minute shifts or offering a helping hand wherever they are needed. The knowledge that these health care professionals heroes have is zero to none. One day a nurse could be working in a hospital and the next offering support in the home care field. 

There is a common misconception regarding per diem nursing jobs. Some believe that as a per diem employee, there are limited hours, and facilities are only looking for part-time. In reality, this could not be farther from the truth. 

The real benefit of being a per diem nurse is you are able to take control of your nursing career! You are able to pick up shifts that are convenient to you and work in the facilities you want. There is never a shortage of open shifts available, and because of this, nurses are able to work full-time and have the option for overtime shifts. 

Work when and where you want. Learn more!

How Do I Start as a Per Diem Nurse?

If you are interested in beginning a career in per diem nursing, here are a few steps on where to start for the nursing job

  1. Become a Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, or Registered Nurse by completing your degree in nursing and take your state-specific nursing exam.
  2. Apply for a state license. Refer to resources on getting a nursing license to help you with the process.   
  3. Connect with a local agency to learn more about their PRN nursing job nursing opportunities and how to proceed
  4. Once you have picked the agency, start creating a career that is right for you! 

Whether you are getting started as a new grad or you have several years of experience, per diem nursing offers opportunities for everyone. Working per diem is also a great way to gain new experience in different facilities or specialties to see what you really enjoy. 

MAS Medical Staffing offers a team of recruiters to help find the perfect position for you in a healthcare facility. We like to understand what you are looking for in a job because this is your career, and we are just here to help!

Start Your Per Diem Nursing Career 

Despite the various pros and cons of per diem nursing, it is a very rewarding career that allows you to get your feet wet as a nurse. Luckily, MAS Medical Staffing is here to support you on your career path. Connect with one of our recruiters today to learn more about per diem nursing, per diem employee benefits, and if it’s a good fit for you!

Per Diem Nursing FAQs

What is the difference between PRN and per diem?

PRN is an acronym for pro re nata, which is Latin for as needed. Meanwhile, per diem is also Latin means per day. In healthcare, both terms are used interchangeably. Typically, PRNs or per diem nurses are assigned to medical units that need assistance when hospitals expect nursing shortages. We’ve seen a surge in demand for extra staff in various departments after COVID-19, which promises a stable job outlook over the next decade.

What are the pros and cons of working per diem?

No job is perfect. While there are advantages to being a per diem nurse, it also has its set of disadvantages. Here are the top pros and cons:


  • Flexible schedule – you control the hours you want to work
  • Potential high hourly rate – MAS will help you earn competitive pay for your shifts
  • Additional income – per diem work is a great way to pick up extra shifts and income
  • Try different facilities in your area


  • Periods where you can’t find work
  • No fixed benefits (However, this can vary by staffing agency. For example, MAS provides benefits to full-time nurses who partner with us). 
  • Constantly adjusting to each facility

Luckily, you can sign on with a per diem nursing agency like MAS Medical Staffing who can immediately connect you to viable positions to advance your career.

How long does a per diem assignment last?

It depends and is ultimately your choice. As a per diem nurse you choose what shifts you want to pick up at local facilities. Some per diem nurses can choose to commit to a local contract for multiple days or weeks. 

Is it worth being a per diem nurse?

Per diem nursing is a great choice for someone who wants more flexibility and control over their schedule, wants to pick up extra shifts to increase their income, or likes working in different facilities. On the other hand, if you crave stability and an established routine, then you can look into a local contract or travel nursing jobs to gain a similar sense of adventure, with a little more stability. The bottom line is you should only give it a try if you think it suits your personality and way of life.

Reviewed By: 


Maurizio Marchese, Business Developer

Maurizio has been with the company for three years and in the staffing industry for over twelve. On top of this, he works as a Theology and Faith Formation Teacher and has for over four years. Maurizio and his dear partner live in Rhode Island with their two adorable cats. Outside of work, they both enjoy adventuring to new states together and seeing things for the first time.



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