Per Diem Nursing vs Travel Nursing Jobs | Pros and Cons


Nursing is a vast field with lots of different paths professionals take every day. Beyond the individual specialties found in nursing, there are different approaches to the types of contracts professionals utilize as well. Of course working as a full-time nurse is the most common option, however, if you’re reading this you’re probably aware of travel nursing too! Traveling for work is one of the greatest aspects of becoming a nurse, but what’s the difference between a travel position and per diem nursing? Today we’ll explore the pros and cons of each and compare per diem nursing vs travel nursing! per diem nursing vs travel nursing

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per diem nursing vs travel nursing

To start, many people assume that per diem nursing and travel nursing are the same thing entirely. While there are several similarities, the main differences make each type of nursing more fitting for certain professionals. Really, it depends on the amount of time you really want to spend in one location and how much you want to work. Let’s start by breaking down some of the pros and cons:


Per Diem Nursing vs Travel Nursing | Pros and Cons

Per Diem Nursing Pros

Among the basic things to know with these jobs is that “per diem” translates to “for each day.” One of the ways that per diem nurses find the opportunity to supplement core staffing needs is through establishing relationships with healthcare organizations. They don’t always need an agency to facilitate the hiring process and can often function quite independently. Knowing the arguments for per diem nursing vs travel nursing will help you make the best career decision!

Some of the best aspects of per diem nursing include added flexibility and autonomy when it comes to a work schedule. Additionally, per diem nurses can be hired in any patient care setting, allowing even more options in terms of the types of job opportunities available. Unlike travel nursing, per diem jobs don’t usually adhere to a contract and function more on an “as needed” basis. That can be a major pro for many nurses, but it isn’t always ideal for others.

Per Diem Nursing Cons

Because per diem nursing isn’t meant to fill staffing gaps for an extended period of time, this makes the hours and pay somewhat unstable. The amount of work you’ll have isn’t exactly guaranteed and may be limited in certain locations. If you’re particularly fond of a location, per diem nursing isn’t the way to remain there to enjoy it. Another major con is that most per diem nursing jobs don’t provide any health or retirement benefits and must cover these costs personally.

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Travel Nursing Pros

Like per diem nursing, travel nursing jobs provide the increased flexibility to choose an interesting location to work. Additionally, travel nurses often have a lot of input as to how their schedules will play out during an assignment. If you want to really get to know a certain area or location, travel nursing is the preferable option. Most assignments in the United States last anywhere from 4 to 13 weeks at a time.

With that in mind, your schedule is a lot more established, ultimately allowing a guaranteed amount of hours and pay. Travel nursing pay rates may not entirely eclipse those of per diem nurses, however, they do usually excel beyond standard permanent nursing rates. Really, there are so many professional and personal reasons why travel nursing is a great option, it warrants its own post entirely!

Travel Nursing Cons

Sometimes traveling from one location to the next can become tiring for nursing professionals. Some find that it’s difficult to establish a sense of belonging from one facility to the next which is understandable, but it just depends on your personality and professional goals. Travel nurses may also struggle to find opportunities to advance to higher level positions given the nature of their jobs, however, many nurses expect this to be the case. Other than that, travel nursing is one option that many professionals wouldn’t trade for the world!

Do you have experience as a per diem nurse? How is travel nursing more your style? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Connor Smith

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