Top 6 Pros and Cons of Working a Per Diem Nursing Job

 per-diem-nursingBy Jennifer Larson, contributor

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to working a per diem job.

In fact, flexibility is one of the key benefits of being a per diem nurse. But there are other benefits, too, according to Nicole Tauber, senior recruitment manager for Nursefinders, who weighs in here with some important feedback about the realities of working per diem.

As you consider whether per diem work is right for you, consider these pros and cons.

Pro:  You can choose your own hours. 

If you cherish flexibility, then you may be very well-suited to per diem work. “You can make your own schedule,” Tauber said.

How it works: you use the Nursefinders mobile app to book your own shifts. Open the app, view the available shifts by day and time, and then select one if it suits you. Book it and you’re ready to go! You might even find a same-day shift to pick up for some last-minute work.

And if nothing suits you, just wait. Or if you need to take some time off for a few days (or even weeks), just wait until you see a job posting that does work for you and your scheduling needs.

“Shifts are posted in real time, so as soon as they get posted, you could sign up for one,” said Tauber.  

Plus, there’s no minimum or maximum number of shifts required by Nursefinders, she added, so you don’t have to feel pressured to pick up a per diem shift. You just can’t pick up shifts that total more than 40 hours per week, without prior approval.

Pro: You can block book.  

You might assume you can only book one shift at a time. And some people do prefer to do that, for maximum flexibility. But you can also book several weeks of consecutive shifts at once. It’s called “master booking,” or “block booking.” That way, you can enjoy the continuity of a set schedule for a certain period of time, but you’re not locked into a long-term assignment.  

Pro: You can keep an eye out on the job market.  

Even if you’re working full-time at a regular nursing job, you can still pick up an occasional per diem shift.  You can use the Nursefinders app to monitor shift availability in your area and just see what’s out there! You might notice a job posting or two from a particular hospital or healthcare organization that interests you.

“You could then go back to your recruiter and talk about that,” said Tauber.

And if you spot a shift at a facility where you’re not yet qualified to work,  Nursefinders’ team of experts can help you complete all the necessary paperwork and credentialing to qualify to work there--a process called compliance.

Pro: You can get to know some potential employers. 

Maybe you just moved to a new city. Maybe you’re interested in working at a new facility. Or maybe you’re just interested in learning more about the employers in your area. Pick up a few shifts for one of those hospitals or clinics and get some firsthand experience.

In fact, it might even make it easier for you to get hired in a permanent job in some organizations. You can impress them with your clinical skills and knowledge.

“It’s a really good foot in the door experience,” said Tauber. “It’s good exposure. You get to know the managers, and you get to know a lot of other people there, too.”

Con: Hours are not guaranteed.  

Most of the time, if you book a per diem shift, you just show up at the beginning of the shift, ready to work. But occasionally, an employer will cancel a shift.  So, you could receive a cancellation call up to two hours beforehand--or receive a cancellation notice through the app.

Con: You might have to float.  

Travel nurses and even staff nurses in many facilities have to float to other units or floors from time to time, depending on the current patient census and the staffing situation. Per diem nurses have to float sometimes, too. 

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