If you are an RN, and looking for work, a PRN nursing position is a possible option. A PRN or Per Diem Nurse works as a temporary fill-in for hospitals, clinics and other facilities that are short-handed. There are many positive things about working this way, but also some negative aspects. Before deciding to become a PRN nurse, you should research the requirements and the needs in your area.

Who are PRN Nurses?

These nurses are RNs or hold BSN degrees (please see: Cheapest Accredited Online RN to BSN Programs to Most Expensive). They also have a lot of work experience. Often, PRN nurses are people with young children or professionals nearing retirement who want a lighter schedule. They usually work in hospital temporary nurse pools or for agencies.

What are the Benefits of the Position?

PRN nurses set their own schedules. If they have young children, they can accept only those shifts that allow them to care for their families. Older nurses might also use the position to “stay in the loop” while still enjoying some freedom. PRN nurses are paid more per hour, according to Work.Chron. Often, they may be paid at the end of a shift instead of having to wait for monthly checks. The job has a lot of variety in setting and duties because you work on different floors and in different areas.

Is there a Downside?

PRN nurses are paid more per hour because they typically do not get benefits. The exception to this is the nurse who works for an agency. In that case, you might have insurance, retirement plans and bonuses. Agencies impose their own requisites for employment, though. You may have to agree to work a set number of hours each week and you could have to submit to competency testing. PRN nurses working in a hospital pool may have some benefits as well. Benefits are sometimes offered to nurses who have a good work history with the facility and who will work a set number of shifts a week. Work schedules are often drawn a month or two in advance. That schedule, in most cases, is a contract between the facility and the nurse, according to Allnurses.com. Although there are sometimes call-offs because of low census or scheduling mix-ups, it is far more likely that a PRN will be sent home than that a full-time nurse at the facility will lose the work. Another downside is actually just the reverse of the positive aspect of variety. As a PRN nurse, you work where you are needed. One day that might be pediatrics and the next the emergency room. That means you don’t form friendships with other nurses and staff.

How do I Become a PRN Nurse?

To become a PRN nurse, you can apply to work in a hospital temporary nurse pool. That will help you get the experience you need to succeed in the position. Ultimately your career depends upon being a sought-after employee. When you work in an area, it is important to make an impression on the doctors and to get references from them. Nurses who work in permanent positions can afford days when their performance suffers because they are tired or not feeling well. PRN nurses depend upon making a good impression each shift they work. A good work history and recommendations will also help you secure a job with an agency, if you want more security in your employment.

Certainly not everyone is suited to the demands of being a PRN nurse. If being in charge of your own schedule and work variety appeal to you, however, this job may be for you. A PRN nursing position is a challenge, but it may fill a need, not only for the facility where you work, but for flexibility in your work life.