The Ultimate Guide to Per Diem Nursing for 2024

Ultimate Guide To Per Diem Nursing

Here is the Ultimate Guide to per diem nursing. Are you a registered nurse looking to earn some extra money in 2024? Per diem nursing might be just the solution you’re looking for! By working as a per diem nurse, you can choose when and where you work. You can fit your shifts around your existing schedule, whether that’s your full-time job or other commitments.

Per diem nursing allows you to work as much or as little as you want, so it’s perfect for those who need to pick up a few extra hours here and there. In this ultimate guide to per diem nursing we’ll explore everything from being a per diem nurse to finding per diem nursing jobs. So whether you’re a seasoned per diem nurse or just starting out, read on for all the information you need to succeed in per diem nursing in 2024!

What is Per Diem Nursing?

Per diem nursing is a career path that is rapidly gaining popularity, especially with the growing demand for more nurses in the healthcare industry. This type of nursing allows for flexibility in terms of work schedules and work-life balance. Per diem nurses work on an as-needed basis, providing temporary support to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

They are paid per shift and are not guaranteed a certain number of work hours per week, making it an ideal option for those seeking a higher pay rate or a more flexible work schedule. Per diem nursing is a great way to gain valuable experience while still maintaining control over your work-life balance.

Benefits of Per diem nursing

Per Diem Nursing
  • Flexibility in nursing schedule

    Per diem, nursing has become an increasingly popular and flexible option for nurses seeking freedom in their career. This unique type of nursing allows healthcare professionals to work on a shift-by-shift basis, providing extra money and career growth opportunities.

    Since per diem work allows nurses to choose when and where they want to work, they have the ability to explore different healthcare settings and facilities while maintaining their own schedule and work-life balance.

  • Higher Earnings

    Per diem nursing offers a great opportunity for healthcare professionals to earn extra money. Depending on the location and experience, per diem nursing salaries typically range from $75 to $95 per hour, which is higher than the standard hourly rate for full-time nursing positions. I sometimes pick up a weekend shift with holiday pay differentials up to $150+ at a local trauma hospital here in Chicago area. Paying monthly bills was one of my least concern.

  • Diverse Clinical Experience

    Per diem nursing offers a wealth of diverse clinical experience across a range of healthcare facilities. There are wide of variety of nursing positions from pediatric to geriatric, ICU to psychiatric, ER to OR, choose your exposure to different specialties and patient population.

  • Better work-life balance

Per diem nursing offers a great opportunity for nurses who crave flexibility in their work schedules. Unlike full-time nurses, per diem nurses can work on a diem shift basis, meaning they can choose when to work and how many hours to work per week.

This allows them to prioritize their work and life balance, giving them more time to do the things that matter most outside of work. Per diem jobs are perfect for nurses who value freedom and the ability to design their work schedules around their personal lives.

  • Continuous learning

    Per diem nurses are exposed to different cases and challenges, fostering continuous learning and skill development. Sometimes assignments are given outside your comfort zone.

  • Networking opportunities

    Unlike full-time nurses, you have the benefit of flexible hours and the ability to work in different healthcare settings, allowing you to meet a wider range of individuals. Taking advantage of networking opportunities can provide you with invaluable connections and resources.

  • Less workplace politics

    Per diem nurses often work independently and may experience fewer workplace politics and administrative responsibilities. I did not have to worry about the supply chain issue with my previous diem nurse assignment. I just focused on patient care on shift-to-shift bases.

  • No long-term commitment

    Per diem nursing offers the freedom to change workplaces more frequently than full-time positions. This was an advantage for me when I had the chance to change assignments in Chicago when my 13-week contract ended before the winter.

  • Opportunity for supplemental income

    Diem nurses have an excellent source of supplemental income for those who already have full-time positions somewhere else.

  • Income flexibility

    Diem nurses can strategically selects shifts during high-demand periods. I chose to work on weekends, 3p.m. to 11p.m. shifts at one point due to the extra differential pay that they offered.

Ultimate Guide To Per Diem Nursing

Drawbacks of Per diem nursing

Just like any other gig, per diem nursing has some drawbacks.

  • Irregular Income

    Diem nurses have to put more time and planning for budgeting because per diem nurses may experience income fluctuations due to the availability of assignments.

  • Lack of job security

    Per diem nurses don’t have a permanent commitment. Which means shifts are not always guaranteed. I ended up signing with the float pool contract and got assigned from one unit to another just to guarantee my hours.

  • No benefits package

    Benefits packages like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off are not offered. Many nurses seek other benefits outside their per diem jobs. Another thing to know is that there is no paid sick time.

    I remember not getting paid during the flu season as a per diem nurse. Though the pay is great, these are the little things you have to consider when reviewing benefits. If you need help with health insurance. Here are great options available to you. 7 insurance you need as a nurse

  • Inconsistent workload

Inconsistency can affect job satisfaction. Some shifts are super busy while other times may be slower. A lot of nurses take a look at postings that offer multiple diem work that are affiliated with larger healthcare facilities. Other nurses explore different side hustles that they can do as a nurse.

  • Limited access to continuing education

    Some per diem assignments may have limited access to employer-sponsored training programs. I had to sign up and pay on my own for my BLS, ACLS, and PALS renewal certifications for my per diem assignments. These are the things I did not have to worry as a full time nurse.

  • Less predictable schedule

    While per diem nurses may have scheduling flexibility, they may also face last-minute shift cancellations or schedule changes. This can be discouraging but try to find something that is good for mental stimulation.

  • For example, I go to the gym every time I get a last minute cancellation. Or I enjoy extra time to rest and sleep in because honestly, nurses are probably one of the the most sleep-deprived professions of all time. (I am talking to you night-shift nurses).

  • Less sense of community

    Diem nurses may not have the same camaraderie and teamwork with colleagues as full time employees. Most nurses join online per diem groups on social media to stay connected with other nurses in this community. Make sure to follow “agency” on instagram. and don’t forget to practice self care.

  • Increased administrative tasks

    Increased administrative tasks include contract negotiation, job assignment application, frequent interviews between facilities, updating resumes, and many more.

  • Limited retirement planning

    Employer-sponsored retirement plans may not be available like 401k and IRA plans. However, you can still invest in your future by joining a retirement account at a brokerage like Fidelity. Click here if you want to find out more on how to invest your nursing money

  • Reduced job benefits

    Diem nurses may not have access to job perks and benefits like other employers typically offer to their full-time nurses like gym memberships, discounted phone plans, etc. But there are many resources available to you that offers multiple packages. Here is your 11 must-have as a per diem nurse.

Ultimate Guide To Per Diem Nursing

How to get started in per diem nursing

  • Meet educational requirement

    Ensure to have your ADN, BSN, or MSN with your valid state license. Your certification is a plus. I had more leverage with my CNOR certification for the OR nurse positions I was applying for.

  • Build a strong nursing resume

    Highlight your relevant clinical experience, skills, and certification. Click here for Nursing Resume Templates if you need help creating a well-structured resume.

  • Connect with nurse staffing agencies

    Reach out to reputable staffing agencies as they can help you match with suitable assignments aligned to your nurse specialties. Here are the 10 Best Nursing Staffing Agencies.

  • Application and interviews

    Highlight your strengths, your ability to excel, your flexibility, and your nursing skills. I was able to sign a $15,000 bonus to one of my contracts because I was able to align the skills they needed at the operating room at the trauma level one hospital I was assigned to. I expressed that I am highly effective under stressful situations. And you can do the same.

  • Maintaining nursing certifications

    State license renews every 2 years the same as our continuing education credit requirements, ACLS, PALS, BLS, and other credentials. Make sure to keep track of these dates. It will reduce or avoid delays to your transitions between contracts. Click here if you need help with your continuing education credits.

High-profit career as per diem nurse

  • Diversifying your skills as a nurse

    Expand your skill set and take the opportunities to cross-train. Don’t be afraid to leave the emergency room if you are an ER nurse. Learn additional skills from adult er to pediatric er, nursing homes to ICU, one facility to another as an example. The more skills you have the more guaranteed hours for you.

  • Mastering time management

    Master the use of your time because you will be taking all kinds of shifts to different facilities to answer staffing needs. You will be squeezed into off shifts and on weekends. Take advantage of these apps and tools that can help you manage your schedule effectively.

  • Being open to different shifts

    Flexibility is where the money is. Set a schedule for holidays, weekends, nights, and other shifts that are difficult to fill. Those shifts are the most profitable. You should be able to say yes in short notice opportunities.

  • Pursuing continuing education

    Per diem nurses need to stay updated with the latest trends, best practices, and charting systems since new technology is always emerging. This will open paths to different clinical settings.

  • Effective financial planning

    Per diem nurses earn extra money especially if you take extra shifts. Make sure to have a financial plan aligned with your goals. When I first started, one of my financial goals was to pay off my new car and afford to take a full month of summer vacation every year.


In conclusion, the opportunities that await through diem work as a nurse offer multiple benefits beyond just the higher pay. The set schedule allows for better work-life balance and a chance to explore different specialties and settings.

As a nurse on a diem basis, each shift offers unique challenges and chances to learn and grow. Taking advantage of these opportunities can lead to a fulfilling career and an exciting path forward. So why settle for less when the world of per diem nursing offers so much? Embrace the excitement and endless possibilities that come with diem work. If you are specialized in the OR, come work with me!

Start your journey now! click here to find job postings near you.

Ultimate Guide To Per Diem Nursing

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