Travel Nursing vs Per Diem: Which One Is Right For You?

travel nursing vs per diem

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Nursing provides a diverse array of job opportunities, each catering to different preferences and lifestyles. If you have only ever worked a staff job at a hospital, it can be a bit overwhelming deciding if a different type of employment would work for you. Two options that are popular among clinicians are travel nursing and per diem. We’ll dive into the world of travel nursing vs per diem, giving an in-depth explanation and helping you decide which path might be the best fit for you.

travel nursing vs per diem

Travel Nursing

Travel nursing has gained immense popularity in recent years. Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who work on temporary assignments at various healthcare facilities, often across different cities and states. This allows nurses to explore new places and expand their clinical skill set. If you decide you want to start traveling, you must have two years of experience in your specialty.Some of the benefits of travel nursing are higher pay, tax-free travel stipends and guaranteed hours. You get to choose where you want to work, how much time off you take between contracts, and the specialty you work in. The world is truly your oyster when it comes to travel nursing!

Now, there is a common misconception that when you are a travel nurse, you actually have to travel. False! If you want to get a feel of traveling without diving head first, most hospitals offer local contracts for clinicians who work in the area. These contracts are fully taxed, meaning you do not receive a travel stipend. However, oftentimes these contracts are still very lucrative for nurses looking for a change in pace without leaving home entirely.

Per Diem Nursing

If travel nursing doesn’t sound as appealing to you, per diem nursing might be for you. Per diem, often referred to as PRN, is where nurses get to pick where, when and how often they work. PRN can either be through a hospital or an agency. The pay is typically a higher hourly rate than staff nurses, and is fully taxed. This can be a great way for nurses to have more flexibility and control over their schedules. You can pick up per diem shifts locally or away from home, the choice is yours! While there are many benefits to per diem work, there are also a few disadvantages. The biggest being that there are no guaranteed hours. There is generally a minimum requirement of hours that nurses have to work in order to stay onboard with the agency or hospital, but it’s not guaranteed you will get to work them. If you are in need of some extra cash, or you want to pick and choose when you want to work, per diem nursing is a great option.

Travel Nursing vs Per Diem

Travel nursing vs per diem, which one will it be? While we can’t make that decision for you, it’s important to do what’s best for you and your career. Some nurses might tell you that the travel life is the best, while others say per diem is the way to go. The beauty of travel nursing and per diem work is that you have the ability to do both! Some nurses will maintain a PRN gig at home to pick up shifts between assignments. Others will pick up shifts while they’re on the road as well. Regardless, both are great options for healthcare clinicians looking for a change in pace in their careers.

If you’re on the hunt for your next travel nursing assignment, SQUAD Medical Staffing has you covered! With thousands of jobs available coast to coast, our dedicated SQUAD of recruiters are here to help.

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