Is Per Diem Nursing a Career Choice for You?
Per diem nursing jobs are a great way for qualified nurses to make extra money. But is that all they are? With a huge shortfall of nurses predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and costs in the healthcare system ballooning, the demand for per diem nurses is growing.
Is this the move you should be making? Isn’t per diem nursing just a stopgap between ‘proper’ nursing jobs? We thought we’d examine five beliefs that current nurses have about per diem nursing.
1. Per Diem Nursing Is Only a Way to Earn Extra Money
Partly this is true. Per diem nursing is a great way for nurses to earn extra money, by doing what they love best. If you have a day off and want to earn a little extra toward your family vacation, per diem nursing certainly fits the bill.
However, it’s also a great way to build your skillset, experience new disciplines, and perhaps discover a healthcare facility where you’d be happiest in a full-time role.
Per diem nursing is also proving increasingly popular as a career choice in nursing. You retain flexibility, add to experience fast, and get to create the work/life balance you desire.
2. You’re Not Considered Part of ‘The Team’ Where You Work as a Per Diem
The world has moved on. Per diem nurses are recognized for the skills and experience they bring, and the quality of care they provide.
With the demand for registered nurses set to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028 (much faster than the average growth of jobs in the United States), the use of per diem nurses is likely to grow rapidly. Per diem nurses are and will continue to be critical to efficiency and effectiveness, and you’ll be onboarded quickly and treated as part of the team.
3. A Per Diem Nurse Has No Control Over Hours
This is something we hear regularly from nurses considering per diem work for the first time. If you think your life will be controlled by the hospital or other facility you work for, think again.
You have a huge say in where you work and the hours you work as a per diem nurse. You won’t be forced to do hours you really don’t like, and you’ll get to choose those roles that you most enjoy. Of course, there are likely to be some compromises that must be made, but far fewer than you believe. The quality of life that per diem nursing allows you to create is one of the major reasons for choosing per diem as a career, especially for those who have young families or an important outside interest.
4. You Might Get Paid More, But There Are No Benefits
Again, this is a belief that dates back to the dark ages of nursing. It is part true, though: you may very well earn more as a per diem nurse than you would as a full-time nurse. However, the best agencies provide benefits. For example, we provide health insurance, liability insurance, free scrub tops, and a huge range of CEU courses free of charge.
You’ll also benefit from a range of facilities to work in, meaning that you have a wider choice of assignments and a bigger earning potential. And some agencies – like QS Nurses – offer referral bonuses that mean you can earn while you’re not working!
5. Healthcare Facilities Won’t Employ You in Full-Time Roles
Are you kidding? The experience you can build up as a per diem nurse makes you highly valuable as a full-time nurse further down the road of your career. You’ll have been exposed to many healthcare settings, worked under different systems, and gained skillsets that you may never otherwise have had the opportunity to.
How Do You Choose the Right Agency for Per Diem Nursing?
Whether you are considering per diem nursing as a career, to make extra money, or a stopping post between full-time positions, your success is likely to depend on the agency you work with. Here are three questions you should ask before signing with an agency:
· How many healthcare facilities do you work with?
You’ll want to work with an agency that has the connections to offer you the work you love to do and provide plenty of it. Ask about the type of client they work with, and the amount of work you are likely to receive from them.
· What if I’m not enjoying an assignment?
A good agency will always try to match you to an appropriate assignment, but there may be the odd occasion when things don’t progress as you’d expected. The work may be different to what you were told, or you may have a clash of personalities with a supervisor. Thankfully, such events are few and far between. If you aren’t comfortable in an assignment, though, you want to know that the agency has your back.
· What insurance do you provide?
You’ll want to know that you are covered for all eventualities, so do ask about the liability insurance cover that will be provided to you.
· Do you provide benefits
Think about the benefits that are most important to you, and ask whether the agency provides them. These might include benefits such as health cover, local work, competitive rates of pay, free scrubs, and continuing education.
· When do I get paid?
How and when do you get paid? You want to know that your money is guaranteed to you, irrespective of which healthcare facility you work at.