There are so many different paths you can take in your travel nursing career. From various specialties to different types of nursing contracts, there is so much room to pursue the nursing job of your dreams.
If you’re looking to get started down your career path in travel nursing, it may be difficult to sort through all these different options. We’ll look at two potential paths: per diem travel nursing and travel nursing.
First, let’s look at what a per diem nurse is. Then we’ll examine how per diem nursing jobs differ from travel nursing jobs. If you are interested in per diem nursing, keep reading to learn more about per diem nursing jobs.
What is a Per Diem Nurse?
You may be wondering what “per diem” means. It is a Latin phrase that translates to “for each day.” In the context of nursing, this is a registered nurse who works on a daily basis rather than having a set schedule or a binding contract.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a flexible schedule. You can choose when and where you work based on your available hours or the hospital’s needs. Per Diem nurses often fill in for staff on leave, cover unexpected staffing shortages, or offer additional support when many people are sick.
What’s the Difference Between Per Diem Travel Nursing and Travel Nursing?
The main difference between a per diem travel nursing job and a normal travel nursing job is duration. As mentioned previously, per diem nurses work as open shifts emerge, while travel nurses are assigned long-term positions that last several weeks or months.
Another difference between the two is that a per diem nurse doesn’t have a binding contract, while a travel nurse does. This is because per diem nurses function on an “as-needed” basis. but travel nurses often help fill the positions of full-time employees.
Let’s go a little more in-depth on the benefits and challenges of both per diem nursing and regular travel nursing:
The Advantages of Per Diem Travel Nursing
The greatest advantage of a per diem nursing position is its flexibility. You can choose where you want to work and the best shifts for you. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a greater work-life balance.
Additionally, a per diem nurse has the opportunity to work in many different facilities. Being able to work in a variety of healthcare settings provides you with the opportunity to accumulate diverse experience.
Since you’ll be moved around a lot and only working on a daily basis, you’ll be provided with higher pay as well, and who doesn’t want that.
The Challenges of Per Diem Travel Nursing
While being a per diem nurse can be rewarding, just as with other nursing jobs, it can have its challenges. The very nature of the job makes it great for those who need flexibility in their schedule, but it can also lead to a lack of stability. The availability of shifts isn’t a guarantee, so finding consistent work can be difficult.
A per diem assignment can offer higher pay, but it doesn’t always include the same benefits that travel nurses are offered. For example, a hospital may not offer them health insurance or retirement plans like their full-time counterparts.
Since they move around a lot, forming relationships with the healthcare team they’re working with may be challenging. In addition, this brings the added stress of needing to quickly adjust to different facilities and procedures.
The Advantages of Travel Nursing
Travel nurses are offered the same flexibility as a per diem nurse. However, they’ve got the added benefit of consistent hours and job security. So, if they’re particularly fond of a location, they can stay there.
Their jobs also come with comprehensive benefits, such as health insurance. Since they remain in the position for extended periods of time, they also form closer relationships. These can lead to more opportunities for career advancement.
Being stationed in one location makes it much easier to become familiar with the work environment and protocols. This also allows travel nurses to plan for the long term. Whether for their career growth, housing, or schools for their family.
The Challenges of Travel Nursing
Standard travel nurse assignments don’t come without their fair share of challenges. While they have a greater opportunity for networking and adapting to their facility than with per diem jobs, they can still struggle with this.
In addition, it does offer less flexibility than a per diem job. For those with a family, these extended periods of time in different facilities can strain those relationships. Plus, housing and relocation can be stressful with the strain of moving and trying to find a home in a new city.
While both offer competitive pay, per diem work can bring in extra money that travel nurses may not see. These are all important to consider when weighing your options.
Insight into Per Diem Nurse Jobs
If you decide that per diem nursing could be for you, here’s what you need to know about the assignment:
Requirements and Qualifications for Per Diem Nursing Jobs
There are a number of requirements and qualifications that it takes to become a per diem nurse. First, you’ll want to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or have your Registered Nurse (RN) License. It should be active and unencumbered for the state where you want to work.
In addition, a facility may be looking for one to two years of experience in a hospital or another specialized area. You may also need to have certain certifications and strong clinical skills.
Finally, it’s important to be flexible, picking up shifts on short notice and adapting to the new environment and its regulations. This requires emotional resilience to handle the stress of extra shifts and deal with challenging situations.
Get Into An Area Where You’re Needed
As noted, one of the benefits of being a per diem nurse is the opportunity to expand your nursing skills. A number of specialties and healthcare settings need the help of per diem nurses to fill shifts.
Let’s take a look at some of these areas:
Hospitals are often understaffed and need help filling shifts in the emergency room. A per diem nurse is often highly adaptable and can handle this high-stress environment.
One unit you may have the opportunity to work in is the ICU. There are often more critically ill patients in this unit than nurses. So, there is often a high demand for per diem nursing care in these units.
A rural facility is another area that struggles to attract and retain full-time nurses, as many nurses don’t want to be so isolated. Per diem nurses often fill open shifts in these settings.
Home health services and rehabilitation centers also look for these nurses to fill their open shifts. You’ll be able to provide patients with care at home or help them with recovery and rehabilitation.
Due to the rising aging population, nursing homes and assisted living facilities need their help. A per diem nurse may also pick up shifts during seasons when a lot more people get sick to help with the influx of patients.
No matter which area you choose, you’ll have the ability to practice in a number of different facilities and specializations, expanding your experience.
Grow Your Career
Becoming a per diem nurse opens up a lot of room for career growth and opportunities. Most notably, it offers extra money as you’re offered higher pay. In addition, you’ll accumulate a lot of knowledge working with various patient populations and in many different healthcare settings.
The flexibility of this job can open up a lot more time to pursue advanced degrees and certifications. This also allows you to create a work-life balance, so you can pick up extra shifts if needed and take time to vacation and be with family.
The variety you experience as a per diem nurse makes you eligible for leadership roles. If you prove your skills to employers, there’s also the opportunity for full-time employment.
Looking Into Nursing Jobs
Whether you want the flexibility of being a per diem nurse or you’re looking for a more full-time travel nurse job, TravelNurseSource.com can help you find the assignment you’re looking for.