Per Diem Shifts – Full Info 2023

If you are considering a career as a nurse, physician, or any other healthcare professional, you may have heard the term “per diem shifts” thrown around. Per diem shifts are a type of employment arrangement that allows healthcare professionals to work on an as-needed basis, providing flexibility and the potential for higher pay. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of per diem shifts and help you decide if this type of employment is right for you.

What Are Per Diem Shifts?

Per diem shifts, also known as PRN shifts, are temporary work arrangements that healthcare professionals can choose to work when needed. Instead of being hired as a full-time or part-time employee, per diem workers are hired on an as-needed basis to fill in for absent or vacationing staff, or to provide additional staffing during busy periods.

How Do Per Diem Shifts Work?

Per diem workers are typically scheduled on short notice, sometimes even on the same day or for a few days in advance. They may work for just a few hours, a single day, or a week at a time, depending on the needs of the healthcare facility. Per diem workers may be required to work any shift, including overnight, weekends, and holidays.

Who Can Work Per Diem Shifts?

Per diem shifts are available to licensed healthcare professionals, including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and allied health professionals such as respiratory therapists and physical therapists.

Benefits of Per Diem Shifts


One of the most significant advantages of per diem shifts is the flexibility they offer. Healthcare professionals who work per diem shifts can choose when and where they want to work, giving them greater control over their schedules. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for those who have other commitments, such as family responsibilities or another job.

Higher Pay

Per diem workers often earn higher hourly rates than full-time or part-time employees. This is because healthcare facilities are willing to pay a premium for workers who are available on short notice and can fill in for absent staff or provide additional staffing during busy periods. Per diem workers may also be eligible for overtime pay, which can further increase their earnings.

Exposure to Different Work Environments

Working per diem shifts can expose healthcare professionals to different work environments, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. This can provide valuable experience and help professionals build their skills and knowledge.

Opportunity for Networking

Per diem workers may have the opportunity to work with a variety of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals. This can help them build their professional network, which can be valuable for career advancement.

Drawbacks of Per Diem Shifts

Lack of Job Security

One of the biggest drawbacks of per diem shifts is the lack of job security. Per diem workers are not guaranteed work and may find it challenging to predict when they will be needed. This can make it difficult to plan finances and can create stress and uncertainty.

No Benefits

Per diem workers are typically not eligible for benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off. This can be a significant disadvantage, particularly for those who rely on these benefits to support themselves and their families.

Limited Career Advancement

Per diem workers may find it challenging to advance their careers, as they may not have access to the same training and development opportunities as full-time or part-time employees. This can limit their ability to take on more advanced roles or leadership positions.


Per diem shifts offer healthcare professionals flexibility and higher pay, but come with drawbacks such as a lack of job security and benefits. Ultimately, the decision to pursue per diem work depends on individual circumstances and career goals.

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