If you work as a per diem or travel nurse and are looking for new opportunities, it may be time to explore and consider the differences between great nurse staffing agencies and mediocre ones. Nurse Staffing agencies can come with many positives, they make it easy to find steady work, offer great compensation, and provide plenty of experience working with different Hospitals. If you are a seasoned travel nurse or per diem nurse and are looking to find great nursing jobs, or if you have just completed 1-2 years of work experience and are ready to jump into the game, checking out a travel or per diem nursing staffing agency is an excellent next step in your career.
Per Diem Nursing Over Travel Nursing or Traditional Nursing
Before you began your nursing school program, you may have thought of working and growing with a single hospital as your employer. While this is a viable option for many, it is not the only nursing job option out there. In addition to traditional full-time nursing, there are other opportunities like travel nursing and per diem nursing. While you often get to travel in both travel and per diem nursing positions, the jobs themselves are fairly different. For example, travel nursing involves choosing a place to travel to where you will be staffed with a hospital or clinic for an extended period (3-6 months or longer, etc.). Once that time is up, you will likely move on to another hospital and another extended stay, working with your specialties and moving around based on your skill level and need. Per diem nursing, on the other hand, involves picking up extra shifts in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities where there is a significant need. This could be during flu season, an emergency of some sort, and other similar scenarios. “Per Diem” actually means “per day” in Latin, meaning that per diem nursing is a type of position that allows you to work in a new place almost every day while being paid premium wages and gaining valuable experience.
Why Use an Agency to Find the Right Fit for You?
When you use a nurse staffing agency, you are opening yourself up to a number of advantages in your field of work. The following ten advantages help explain why choosing a travel nurse or per diem nurse staffing agency to work with is so valuable.
1. Travel and Per Diem Nurses Are Good for Hospitals
While full-time nursing is valuable and necessary for a hospital, travel and per diem nurse jobs are good for hospitals as well. Travel Nurses and Per diem nurses make it possible for hospitals to be adequately staffed at all times so that quality patient care is always provided. When a hospital or other medical facility is short staffed it shows, and this is not good or the facility, the patients, or the workers. Travel and Per diem nurses help fill gaps when there are shifts that need to be covered. So how does a travel or per diem nurse staffing agency come into play? An agency is all about connecting quality nurses with the right jobs. Choosing the right nurse staffing agency helps you in your search for the right workspace where you and your skills are needed most.
2. You Get Flexible Scheduling Options
Travel and Per diem nursing jobs are excellent options for nurses who may already be working a part-time or full-time job and are looking to make some extra cash. Or, if you aren’t working a consistent job either part-time or full-time, per diem nursing lets you have some consistency in work, even if you’re doing different hours each week. Your per diem nurse staffing agency recruiter can help you locate and snag the best shifts for your unique schedule and personal needs.
3. You Learn Something Known as “Cultural Competence”
A major part of travel and per diem nursing is doing your job in new places all the time. This means that while you may not create a consistent relationship with certain patients or coworkers, you will earn the skill of cultural competence. Cultural competence refers to knowing how to navigate yourself in new settings and environments in just moments in order to provide the best patient care possible. You learn to adjust to new locations and demographics quickly, which helps you hone and strengthen your ability to connect, communicate, and interact with new people with little to no tension or difficulty. Per diem nursing is the prime environment to learn this skill, making it an extremely valuable career choice.
4. You Have Various Options of Where to Work
When you work with a nurse staffing agency, you typically set a certain radius of where you want to work. For most nurses, this radius is rather close to home and set between 5-50 miles, but you can set it as far as you need or like to depend upon your staffing agency’s policies. For some, if you would like to go further than 50 or 60 miles, you might be referred to a travel nurse staffing agency. Overall, a window of 5-50 miles usually offers many options for new hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities to work in, giving you many new spaces to explore.
5. You’re Exposed to New Opportunities
For many nurses, per diem nursing jobs can lead to tons of new opportunities. Whether it is finding a hospital you may want to work full-time in, picking up a new specialty, working with new patients, or working in an entirely new setting, per diem nursing is full of new experiences and adventures. When working with a per diem staffing agency, you may get to work in a school, physician’s practice, a rehabilitation center, or other medical offices new to you. Agencies offer nurses all sorts of great assignments, giving you new work experiences all the time.
6. You’re Constantly Learning
As we’ve discussed, part of travel and per diem nursing is working with different patients, in different settings, different locations, and different practices. While you are an RN, you may not yet have or even want certain certifications, but the more time you spend nursing, the more you inevitably learn. With this in mind, you may find that earning certification in certain areas can help you along your career and make you even more valuable as a per diem nurse. Certifications allow you to work with a wider range of patients and problems, giving you a wider pool of shifts and opportunities. What’s even more – the sky is the limit! There’s always something new to learn in this profession.
7. You May Get Healthcare Benefits Without Having to Be “Full-Time”
Some travel and per diem nurse staffing agencies will offer healthcare and other benefits to their nurses. It is important to note that not all staffing agencies do this, but for those that do you can stand to earn health care coverage and dental, as well as other benefits. Some agencies offer holiday pay, 24/7 access to a recruiter, access to certification classes, and other perks and incentives. Do your research thoroughly if looking for a staffing agency that also provides certain benefits. It is also a good rule of thumb to get any talk of benefits in writing so that you always know exactly what you’re getting.
In addition to the possibility of benefits, a travel or per diem nurse an enjoy a number of reimbursement opportunities. Some tax breaks include:
- Cost of Professional LIcensing
- Education Costs
- Cost of Uniforms/Laundry Costs
- Use of Phone/Internet/Computer related to your job
In short, you can stand to earn a lot of from working as a per diem nurse, either through benefits, tax breaks, or a little bit of both!
8. You Get to Enjoy Excellent Compensation
Travel and Per diem nursing jobs typically pay very competitive hourly rates, which means you can stand to boost your overall income considerably when working on a per diem basis. In fact, a nurse working per diem as a side job tends to make a higher hourly wage than a traditional full-time nurse because the employer (i.e. the hospital, clinic, etc.) does not have to offer benefits. In addition, per diem nurse jobs are in high demand as medical offices always want to be fully covered in order to provide optimal patient care at all times. The excellent compensation is a highly attractive factor in per diem nursing, and when you work with a staffing agency, you can find the best jobs with the most competitive rates.
9. Your Home Life and Work Life Are In Harmony
Many nurses deal with a bit of an imbalance in their home and work lives due to the high demands of nursing duties. Full-time nursing makes this imbalance deeply felt, but there is little wiggle room when you’re working full-time in a hospital or clinic. Per diem nursing jobs, however, make it possible and even easy to balance work and home life effectively. Thanks to per diem nursing allowing you to pick your schedule and control your time, you can create a calendar that lets you work when you need to and spend ample time with your family and friends.
10. You Develop a Relationship With Your Agency/Recruiter
As you work with one or more travel or per diem nurse staffing agencies, you get to know the recruiters helping you pick up shifts and work the hours that are best for you. Over time this relationship grows and your recruiter(s) learn your history, your strengths, your interests, and other important information about you that can help you find the absolute best job fit. Even better is the bond you will create with your recruiter which creates a space where you can ask questions, voice concerns, and gain advice when needed. In short, working with a staffing agency gives you a support system you can contact day or night.
We hope these ten advantages have given you a new perspective on per diem nurse staffing agencies and that you’ll reach out to one soon to start getting connecting!
Ready to get started with a career as a travel or per diem nurse? Apply today with Healthcare Pros and we will help get your journey started today!