Career choices, like marriage and tattoos, are often seen as permanent, unalterable life decisions. That’s why making decisions about a career path often fills people with dread and leaves them riddled with doubts: What if I don’t like it? What if I’m not good at it? What if I want to change my mind?
In this ocean of uncertainty, PRN work is an alternative that allows you to move forward without fear, choosing the work you enjoy, the number of shifts you want, and the amount of income you need, all without making long-term commitments to one employer or type of work.
What Are PRN Jobs?
The term PRN comes from the Latin pro re nata, which means “as needed.” Therefore, a PRN job is temporary and is meant to fill a specific, short-term need. For example, a healthcare facility may need a registered nurse (RN) to fill a temporary vacancy caused by a leave of absence or to cover the increased need for staff caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases. When this happens, the facility can post the required shifts, and an RN who is interested in the job can request one or more of those shifts. In other words, PRN implies work that’s offered “as needed” by the healthcare facility and picked up “as wanted” by healthcare professionals.
Who Can Find PRN Work?
Registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), as well as allied health professionals, can all find PRN work. With the nationwide nursing shortage – accentuated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic – nurses are always in high demand, and healthcare facilities are turning to per diem professionals to cover their staffing needs.
When Should You Consider PRN Work?
PRN work could be an excellent choice for you, no matter what professional stage you're at in your career. Whether you’ve been a nurse for months or for decades, there are always advantages to picking up work on demand.
Nurses New to the Field
If you are still in nursing school or even just beginning to consider a career in healthcare, you can get certified as a CNA in as little as four weeks and get started with PRN work to see if you like the field. There is no better way to decide if nursing is right for you than jumping right in and working in a healthcare setting. PRN work gives you the opportunity to work in different settings to find a speciality you’re passionate about.
Nurses Who Need a Change
If you want to experience working in different nursing areas, or if you’re searching to find the type of work that is most fulfilling to you, PRN work can be a great way to explore your options. Perhaps you’ve been working in a fast-paced, high-stress area, such as a skilled nursing facility, and want to try something less intense and equally challenging by transitioning to working in an assisted living facility. Regardless of your current position and areas of interest, the ideal way to transition into a new role is to take it for a test drive first. In other words, pick up a few PRN shifts in a new area and see how they feel.
Nurses Suffering from Burn-Out
Another reason you might want to consider PRN work is if you need to be able to take a break when your physical or mental health requires it. Working PRN allows you the flexibility to create your own schedule and the freedom to work and make as much as you would like. You can take a few days off to go camping with friends or family and then return to work recharged. Alternatively, if a specific work environment proves too taxing, simply don’t go back. With PRN work, you can find a work environment that fits your needs; you could literally work at a different healthcare facility every day until you find one that suits you best.
Nurses Not Quite Ready to Step Down
Last but not least, if you’re nearing retirement but aren’t ready to stop working altogether – you guessed it – try PRN work! Throw the all-or-nothing mentality out the window. You can work one day per week if you like. You can even work one day per month. Thanks to PRN work, it’s totally up to you.
What Are the Advantages of PRN Work?
At this point, the advantages of PRN work should be evident. Reasons for choosing to work per diem include:
It’s an excellent way to gain experience as a new nurse – both to build up your resume and to help you discover the work that you are passionate about.
It gives you the flexibility to work when you want, where you want, and as much as you want. This way you can take part in all those meaningful life events, from holiday celebrations and weddings to kids sporting matches and parent-teacher meetings.
It is only a short-term commitment, so you don’t have to stay more than one shift at a health facility or in a position that is not a good fit for you.
You can follow the money; pick up only the highest paying shifts, and you’ll finally be able to buy that new car, take the family on vacation, or simply afford more time off to follow other interests.
Whether you are just getting started in healthcare, hoping to transition to a new position, or ready to reduce your workload, PRN work could be precisely what you need. At Nursa™, we recognize that the work nurses do is as hard as it is valuable. We want to help nurses and allied health professionals achieve that work-life balance that seems impossible in the healthcare field. Inspired by this vision of the nursing profession as well as by this understanding of nurses’ needs, we created a healthcare staffing app that allows health professionals to take their careers into their own hands, doing the work that they love without compromising their own health or personal lives. If you haven’t already, we invite you to download our per diem staffing app, and give PRN work a try. It might be exactly the change you are looking for.