• Kathleen Burns

Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing, What Career Is Right For You

Updated: Aug 10, 2020


The nursing profession comes with the opportunity to choose many different types of jobs that can fit your lifestyle. You can have a full-time job, a part-time job, a per diem job, or a combination of these types. Each type of job comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

So which one is right for you?

Full-Time Job

Most nurses choose to work full time. A full-time nursing job comes with all the stability and benefits that one would expect. Full-time nursing jobs usually come with health insurance, vacation time, retirement benefits, and some institutions even offer tuition reimbursements. Working full time is a great option if one values a stable lifestyle with a pre-planned schedule.

It is great for new nurses as it allows them to adequately train and learn how to be a great nurse. Additionally, working with the same group of nurses on a single unit can lead to excellent teamwork, and having helpful coworkers around can be invaluable in the nursing profession. Working full time also allows nurses to delve deeply into a specialty and become an expert in that field.

However, there are some nurses who would prefer flexibility over stability and freedom over benefits. If that is the case, they may prefer the part-time or per diem nursing opportunities described in the next sections.


  1. Stability

  2. Benefits

  3. Part of a consistent team

  4. Become an expert in your specialty


  1. Inflexible schedule

  2. Lack of work/life balance

  3. Locked In; Inability to try new specialties or facilities

Part-Time Job

A part-time nursing job can be a great option for nurses who want some flexibility but still want guaranteed hours. Part-time working hours and benefits vary greatly from institution to institution; some places may offer benefits at 24 hours/week, while others may only offer them at 32 hours/week.

When working a part-time nursing job, nurses are required to set their schedules well ahead of time and have little flexibility when it comes to adjusting those hours later. Instead, the flexibility lies in the fact that overall they are working fewer hours than full time. Many nurses choose to go part-time merely because they want a better work/life balance, but still want the stability of working for a single unit or institution and with guaranteed hours.

Additionally, some nurses may choose to work two part-time jobs instead of one full-time job, or one part-time job and one per diem job.


  1. Guaranteed hours

  2. Part of a consistent team

  3. Continue to hone a specialty

  4. Extra time for work/life balance or second job


  1. Inflexible; set work schedule

  2. Benefits not guaranteed

  3. Locked In; Inability to try new specialties or facilities

Per Diem Job

A per diem nurse usually works on a variety of units, and sometimes in a variety of hospitals and other facilities depending on who you work for. Some per diem nurses work directly for an institution and are assigned to a single unit depending on the patient census and the nurses’ skill set.

However, sometimes these nurses may be required to staff alternative floors as well. In addition, many institutions require per diem nurses to work a certain number of hours and days per month, though they do not mandate which days. They may mandate working one weekend per month or a certain number of nights or holidays. Each institution is different and nurses should look at the facility’s per diem requirements in detail before selecting this option.

Other per diem nurses work for per diem nursing agencies which provide nurses with a variety of facilities. connectRN is a great option for nurses who are looking for per diem shifts, but do not want the aggravation of any scheduling requirements. connectRN nurses might work two days at one facility, and then three nights at another facility, all in one week, or maybe only one shift per month! Their schedule is entirely up to them. In addition, they do not have the hassle of needing to call an agency and work out a schedule; rather, all the shifts are posted on the connectRN mobile app and they can conveniently log on and apply from their homes or on the go.

connectRN is also great because you can use it in addition to a part-time or full-time job, whether nurses are just looking to make extra money, or explore new facilities and specialties. Learn more at https://connectrn.com


  1. Flexibility

  2. Immediacy

  3. Hone multiple specialties through working different units or facilities

  4. Higher Pay


  1. Unstable; Hours are not guaranteed

  2. More solitary or independent; may not feel like part of the full time “team”

  3. No Guaranteed Benefits

At the end of the day, the best option depends on your priorities, schedule, and goals!

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