Although there are advantages to working PRN, not everyone knows how it differs from part-time or full-time status. PRN is short for “pro re nata,” a Latin phrase which has come to mean “as needed.” The healthcare industry depends heavily on PRN workers. There are plenty of benefits to working as needed, but the following five advantages to working PRN make it a great option for anyone looking for flexibility.
What is a PRN Nursing Position?
One of the best advantages to PRN work is the flexibility it offers employees. Because there is no set schedule, most workers are able to pick and choose when they want to work. There are plenty of benefits to only picking up a shift when you are free. For example, a nurse who recently had kids may elect to work only weekends when her husband is home in order to save money on child care. Another worker may have full-time or part-time work already and use PRN status to make money on the side to supplement the primary income.
Typically, the lack of employment benefits like insurance or paid time off means that PRN staff receive a more generous hourly wage than is typical. The higher starting wage means that per diem staff earn more for their shifts, and wage differentials can also add to the base rate. For example, night shifts typically have a higher rate of pay than day shifts. Similarly, working on holidays may also pay more, and companies will sometimes offer higher hourly wages to employees who work on less desirable units.
Some PRN workers can also sign up for on-call shifts. An on-call shift means you would be called in to work if census is low or if there is an emergency of some sort. Most health care companies offer compensation to those who sign up for on-call shifts even if they are not called in. Federal law requires on-call employees to be compensated under certain circumstances, but companies do have some flexibility in this area. If you receive $40 per on-call shift you sign up for regardless of whether you are called in, you could earn money just for being available.
Another advantage to working PRN is the greater choice you may be offered. Because you can sign up for various shifts on different floors or units, you can figure out which places are better to work in. Some units have excellent colleagues whereas others might have better supervisors. Working PRN could help you hone a certain set of skills you want to improve on, or it could be a chance to try something new.
Because of the greater choice and schedule flexibility, working PRN also offers the advantage of avoiding work areas with too much drama. If you are not well-suited to working in a certain environment or floor, then you can choose to avoid that option. Because you are not as fully enmeshed in the workplace as the full-time employees, you can stay away from office politics, and this can allow you to better focus on the work itself. Studies suggest that a less stressful environment is highly correlated with greater job satisfaction.
Although the cons to working PRN include lack of insurance coverage, retirement benefits or paid sick leave, there are also plenty of advantages. If you are a worker who does not need the typical employment benefits and would be happy with a more flexible, as-needed work schedule, then working PRN could be a for you.