Travel Nursing vs. Per Diem Nursing

Job Seeker, Travel Nursing

So you’ve gone to school, learned what you need to know to become a nurse and then proceeded to find your first job at a hospital and start your life in the workforce. Sound about right? Like many nurses and allied health professionals today, very few explore options outside of just becoming another employee of some hospital. Surprisingly many do not know about Travel nursing or Per Diem travel nursing. Each has many advantages not afforded to regular staff nurses with increased pay rates the most beneficial. So what’s the difference between the two, Travel Nursing & Per Diem Nursing?

What is the difference between travel and per diem?

Let’s start with Per Diem nursing. Imagine a world where you can pick the shifts you want to work, a job that doesn’t require you to work weekends or holidays. Have you ever thought that this could be possible? Well it is. Do you remember the days of elementary school when your teacher would be out sick for a couple days or absent for awhile because they had a baby and then you got the substitute teacher for the next month? Per Diem nursing is similar to that scenario, except now you are the sub.

Travel nursing is a lot different but has some major benefits. Travel nurses take on contracts for a set period of time, usually 13 weeks, and work full-time during that period. Travel nursing contracts are often higher paying than per diem or perm nursing positions and with paid housing, stipends, and bonuses there are a lot of ways to earn a lot more money as a travel nurse.

Pros and Cons of Per Diem Nursing

Working Per Diem (PRN) allows you to choose the hospital you want to work at and at what times with no requirements attached. Also, the pay rate for your time is much more than that of a staff nurse which is also very enticing. However, like most things that seem too good to be true, there are dangers with being a Per Diem nurse. Remember you are there at the hospital to fill in, and when that hospital has found a permanent replacement or there’s a shift in need, Per Diem nurses are usually the first to go. What you can do though, is not rely on Per Diem as your main source of income and rather turn it into a supplemental source which enables you to earn more when you need it.

Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

Now on to Travel nursing and it’s advantages, and yes, disadvantages. I imagine if you’re reading this blog you already have an interest in this field or are currently employed as such. Like Per Diem jobs, you can pick and choose where you want to work. Whether it be in California or West Virginia, the opportunities are boundless. Unlike Per Diem jobs, you are guaranteed your shifts, however you may have to work a weekend or a holiday, which is a slight drawback, but just remember where you are. You wouldn’t be able to enjoy the white sandy beaches or breathtaking views of the Rocky mountains without having took the job in the first place. While under contract, your position is safe from cancellation and permanent staff members are usually the first to be cut. After you have fulfilled your obligation to your agency and hospital you are free to chose another location or if the need is still there, extend your stay at your current location.

With paid housing, stipends, reimbursements, referral bonuses, and loyalty bonuses there are a lot of reasons to choose Travel Nursing.

There are many agencies out there that offer both Travel Nursing and Travel Per Diem jobs. When you sign on with an agency you will be provided with benefits such as housing, health insurance, retirement plans and shift differentials. There are also bonuses and other perks available to you when signing on with an agency, like Medical Solutions. So remember, do your research, explore your options and see what’s waiting for you… Outside your comfort zone.

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