What Does PRN Stand For in Nursing?

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

What does PRN stand for in nursing? Explore everything you need to know about PRN nursing jobs, and discover if PRN or per diem nursing is for you!

From travel and per diem nursing to full-time and local contract jobs, there are countless types of assignments for nurses to choose from. While searching through nursing job openings, you might have noticed the term “PRN” come up. So, what does PRN stand for in nursing? Let’s answer this question and explore everything you need to know about per diem and PRN nursing! 

What Does PRN Stand for in Nursing? 

PRN stands for the Latin phrase “pro re nata,” which means “as the situation demands.”  

What Does PRN Stand for in Nursing: PRN nurses are registered nurses who work “pro re nata,” or on an as-needed basis. Other terms for PRN include per diem nursing or on-call nursing.  

PRN nursing jobs are available throughout the healthcare field, from nurses and CNAs to physical and occupational therapists. 

In general, PRN nurses work on call. As a PRN nurse, you’ll likely be called into work if the full-time staff isn’t available or there’s a sudden demand for help. However, working PRN can look different from facility to facility.  

What is Per Diem Nursing? 

Some facilities use the terms ‘PRN’ and ‘per diem nursing’ interchangeably. Per diem is another Latin phrase that translates to “by the day.”  

As a per diem nurse, you’ll often enter a contract with an agency that staffs nurses across multiple facilities. When help is needed, they’ll call you to fill in for the day. This means you might work in different units or even facilities, depending on the day. 

As a result, you can gain experience across a variety of nursing fields and environments. 

Is There a Difference Between PRN and Per Diem Nursing? 

Yes and no — it will vary depending on the facility you’re working with.  

Sometimes, they mean the same thing. You might notice a nurse job opening that says the position is “Per Diem/PRN.” 

If we’re being technical, PRN nurses often have a more structured agreement than per diem nurses. They are often guaranteed a certain minimum number of shifts during their contract period.  

However, a per diem nurse has a more flexible schedule and isn’t typically promised any shifts. Per diem nurses typically work across multiple units and facilities, while PRNs work in one unit and specialty. Oftentimes, travel, per diem, and PRN nurses earn a higher salary than full-time nurses.  

Related: Wondering if you’re better suited for per diem or travel nursing? Read more here! 

How Many Hours is Considered Per Diem Nursing?  

Per diem and PRN nurses typically work a day-to-day schedule, filling in shifts as needed. Depending on your contract and the facility’s needs, you might work a few shifts a month or beyond full-time hours.  

One of the greatest benefits of per diem nursing is the flexibility. One week might be busy, and the next won’t. The hours aren’t often guaranteed, but you get to choose when and where you work. Regardless, you have the freedom to pick the shifts you want, making it one of the most work-life-balance-friendly options in healthcare. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Per Diem Nursing? 

Now that you know the answer to ‘What does PRN stand for in nursing?,’ let’s find out if it’s right for you. 

If you’re looking for a flexible, high-paying nursing job filled with variety, PRN and per diem nursing might be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for. As with any assignment, they come with advantages and disadvantages: 

Pros: Earn More Money

On average, both PRN and per diem nurses earn a higher salary than full-time nurses. Often, they can earn a premium for picking up a shift on short notice. Some nurses choose to work per diem outside of their regular work schedule, bringing in extra income whenever they have free time. 

Cons: No Benefit Packages 

While this can vary across facilities, most per diem nurses don’t earn benefits. This is because they’re oftentimes considered contractors rather than company employees or don’t work full-time hours. 

Pros: Choose Your Schedule 

Per diem nursing allows you to take back control over where you work and when you work. You can choose to work as many or as few shifts as you’re offered, letting you work according to your own schedule.

Cons: Shifts Aren’t Always Guaranteed  

Most per diem and PRN nursing positions don’t guarantee a certain number of hours or shifts. This can result in inconsistent income if one week or month is slower than the other. 

Pros: Gain a Variety of Skills and Experience  

As a per diem nurse, you’ll likely work with different patients, in different units, and even different facilities each day. This can open up several opportunities in your career as you gain diverse experience, try out different specializations, and learn more about what you love before choosing your specialty.  

Who is the Right Fit for Per Diem or PRN Nursing? 

PRN and per diem nursing are a great fit for any nurse looking for a more flexible position. Specifically, they can offer a unique advantage to  

  • New nurses looking to gain diverse experience across the industry. 
  • Nurses who don’t want to work full-time. 
  • Nurses with children who are looking for positions that allow them to spend more time with their kids. 
  • Nurses looking for extra income in their free time. 
  • Nurses who want more work-life balance or control over their schedule. 
  • Nurses who don’t want to work at one specific facility or unit. 

How Can You Find Per Diem and PRN Nursing Jobs? 

Lastly, if you’re ready for lifestyle flexibility, additional income, and newfound experience, starting your search for per diem nursing jobs is easy. Simply Search per diem/PRN nurse jobs nationwide! 

Have more questions before starting your search? Take a few moments to fill out a quick application, and you can get connected to your dedicated CareerStaff recruiter. They’ll take the time to understand your needs and help you find the nursing jobs that support them! 

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