• Maddie Thoms

Per Diem Nursing- A Nurses Ultimate Guide to Per Diem Nursing Shifts

What is Per Diem Nursing

Per Diem strictly means ‘by the day’. In the world of finding ‘per diem’ jobs, means that you are working ‘day by day’ or ‘by the day’. Specific to nursing, this means that nurses are able to pick up individual shifts on a daily basis. Usually, you can find these types of per diem nursing shifts either from the hospital directly or a talent agency. How this has done in the past is you might be an employee at a hospital and they call you in to cover a shift that someone might have called in sick for.

Here’s how it works:

Normally you either sign on with a hospital to be in their per diem nursing pool or you sign on with a placement agency. The placement agency normally hears about these new per diem nursing shifts then gives you a call to see if you can fill that position. So the hospital gives the placement agency a call, and then they give you a call (pretty in

Some placement agencies will offer benefits such as health and dental depending on how valuable you can be to them. Placement Agencies normally make their money by taking a cut of your salary which can be anywhere from 25% to 100% of your salary. So if you make $70,000 and this placement agency has a 100% placement fee, your new employer would pay $70,000 to acquire you.

If you have highly technical skills, some could even charge up to 150% (or $105,000).

However, with per diem nursing shifts, the agency is the one that pays you. Normally the will bill the agency, and then after they have made their money they will then pay you.

We’ve even heard of some agencies supplementing your pay with a monthly housing stipend.

Pretty cool stuff.

Why Hospitals like Per Diem

As obvious as this might sound, hospitals take care of a LOT of people. It’s different than say a retail store – if someone doesn’t show up then normally someone covering the cash register can service the same number of people.

But it’s different for hospitals. Being short staffed puts a lot of pressure on the patients and the nurses. We’ve all felt that feeling of being short staffed and covering their patients.

It adds a lot of stress and confusion to everyone involved.

They also don’t have to pay for taxes for you since you wouldn’t technically be considered an employee.

This keeps their costs down and allows them to maximize their current workforce capabilities. When it comes to seasonal illnesses not having to bring someone on for a temporary problem is really attractive – making per diem nurses a highly coveted asset for hospitals.

For example, when it comes to flu season there is always a big spike of people getting sick. But hospitals don’t want to hire 5 new employees for just a couple months of work. It’s an HR nightmare and they have to pay taxes and such as well.

But if they can hire dedicated, well-educated nurses for a short period of time, that’s really attractive to a large hospital.

How much Can you make on Per Diem?

Although it really depends on the hospital and location (as some states pay more than other states), it’s about average to see anywhere from $25 – $50 per hour.

As mentioned before, it really depends on where you live and which agency you choose to work with. You can also work with multiple agencies, and most assume that you are working with more than one. You can really use this as an advantage with accepting more shifts with the placement agency who offers you more per hour and more shifts.

Also usually a surge when demand is high.

When there is a big need for seasonal help hospitals are willing to pay a premium for your help to ensure all their patients are well taken care of.

Why Nurses Choose Per Diem

Per diem nursing shifts can also serve as a gateway to getting a job at said facility. For example, if you were unemployed and then sign with a placement agency and you start working at a new hospital, they might hire you on once the position opens since they already know you.

This works really well with nurses who are new to an area. As most placement agencies reach across the entire United States they are able to help you find jobs no matter what city you might be relocating to. It also gives you a chance to try out a few hospitals before committing full-time to one facility.

Pros and Cons of Per Diem

pros and cons list top 10 of per diem shifts per diem nursing


  1. Challenging and often exciting positions

  2. Per Diem nursing jobs are good for your schedule

  3. You’ll be valued by co-workers

  4. Usually a bump in hourly wage

  5. Increase in free time

  6. Growing feeling in satisfaction of being independent

  7. More weekends and holidays off (if you choose not to pick up the shift)


  1. You may be in a facility you have never worked

  2. Need proper orientation before feeling confident working there

  3. Will normally have to pay your own insurance

  4. Normally don’t get the same benefits as full-time employees (such as paid time off, retirement benefit, base level of income, etc).

  5. Flexible schedule can sometimes limit your hours

  6. Possibilities of low hours if census decreases at a facility

  7. Don’t gain seniority as fast as a full-time employee

  8. Normally first to float and last to get overtime

  9. Could mean lower job security

Process of Per Diem Approval

 per diem nursing nursing placement agency boston and baltimore

With connectRN

With connectRN it’s a really straightforward process. All you have to do is create an account with us and fill out your profile. We’ll ask you to upload document such as your

  1. Drivers license

  2. Nursing License

  3. Headshot

  4. BLS license

  5. And your favorite resume!

We ask you to upload your resume so that when shifts become open Hospitals or senior care facilities can verify that you’re the right fit for the job. This not only helps hospitals ensure they are hiring the right person, but can also give you a leg up against everyone else!

We then conduct a brief background check to ensure that you are eligible to join our nursing per diem nursing pool. This includes background checks and drug screens, using a company called Checkr.

Here’s how placement agencies work:

  1. You will start out by looking at all the different placement agencies in your area.

  2. Then you’ll get in touch with your favorite (but we suggest shooting for 2 – 3) placement agency and let them know you’re interested in working with them.

  3. After initial contact, they ask you for pretty much the same documents that we ask for (resume, licenses, etc.).

  4. Then they perform an in-depth background check

Difference between placement agencies and connectRN

The primary difference is how you get your shifts from hospitals or senior care facilities. With placement agencies normally they get a call from a hospital about getting a shift filled, and then they call a bunch of people until they find someone who can step in. Really inefficient but get’s the job done. With connectRN however, we have a mobile app that sends out a push notification right to your phone for each new shift. So you have the ability to not only get first preference on getting that shift, but you can also get ‘hired’ in a matter of seconds.

Don’t Forget To Create an Account!

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