Per Diem Nursing Contracts

Per Diem Nursing Contracts: A Comprehensive Guide

Per diem nursing contracts are becoming an increasingly popular option for healthcare professionals who want to have more control over their work schedule and earnings. Unlike traditional full-time positions that require a set number of hours per week, per diem nursing contracts allow nurses to work on an as-needed basis, often filling in for other nurses when they are sick or absent. In this article, we’ll explore what per diem nursing contracts are, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks for nurses and healthcare facilities.

Understanding Per Diem Nursing Contracts

Per diem nursing contracts are agreements between nurses and healthcare facilities that allow nurses to work on a short-term, as-needed basis. Unlike full-time positions, per diem nurses are not guaranteed a set number of hours per week or even a set schedule. Instead, they are typically called in last minute to fill vacancies or to cover sick or vacation time for other nurses.

Per diem nursing contracts can be set up in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the healthcare facility and the preferences of the nurse. Some per diem contracts are open-ended, allowing nurses to work as much or as little as they want, while others may specify a maximum number of hours or require nurses to work a certain number of shifts per month.

Benefits of Per Diem Nursing Contracts

For nurses, per diem contracts offer several benefits. First and foremost, per diem nurses have a great deal of flexibility in terms of when and where they work. This can be especially appealing for nurses who have family or other commitments that make a traditional full-time schedule difficult to manage. Additionally, per diem nurses often earn a higher hourly wage than full-time nurses, since they are not receiving benefits or job security.

For healthcare facilities, per diem nurses offer several benefits as well. Since per diem nurses are only called in when they are needed, facilities can save money by not having to pay full-time wages and benefits for nurses who may not be needed all the time. Additionally, per diem nurses can help fill staffing shortages or cover sick or vacation time for other nurses.

Drawbacks of Per Diem Nursing Contracts

While per diem nursing contracts offer several benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For nurses, the lack of job security and benefits can be a major concern. Per diem nurses are not eligible for benefits like health insurance or retirement plans, and they may not be able to count on a consistent schedule or income from week to week.

For healthcare facilities, relying too heavily on per diem nurses can also be risky. Since per diem nurses are not guaranteed to be available when needed, facilities may find themselves understaffed if too many per diem nurses are called in and then unavailable for work. Additionally, per diem nurses may not be as familiar with the facility’s policies and procedures as full-time nurses, which can lead to mistakes or miscommunications.


Per diem nursing contracts can be a great option for nurses who want flexibility and control over their work schedule, as well as for healthcare facilities that need to fill staffing gaps. However, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully before entering into a per diem contract. Nurses should consider their own financial needs and job security, while healthcare facilities should ensure that they have a solid plan in place for managing per diem nurses and ensuring efficient and effective patient care.