Per Diem Nurse Vs. Part-time: Things you Need to Know

Part time vs per diem: What should I choose? |

Why do hospitals prefer per diem nurses? Working as a per diem nurse is a simple way to maintain a workforce that is flexible, enabling employers to respond to last-minute changes in staffing, but there are some certain legal and practical issues that could hamper this flexibility. Here are the best reasons to choose per diem nurse jobs and Per diem nurse vs. part-time: Things you need to know.

Why Choose Per Diem Nurse job instead of Part-time

Per Diem

  • You can sometimes choose where you work
  • No set schedule
  • Premium pay, which means more than what a full time or part-time nurse would get paid
  • You can either create your schedule or pick dates that are available based on the need of the floor
  • You may not have benefits
  • No guaranteed hours
  • You may be required to pick up a certain number of shifts


  • Pay is less than full-time status because you are not working full-time horse
  • Set schedule
  • Guaranteed hours
  • You may have benefits

You may be responsible for paying a higher amount of your healthcare benefits compared to that of a full-time employee when you are working part-time as a nurse. 

Being a per diem nurse, on the other hand, would give you more freedom in scheduling your hours and an increase in hourly pay. You may need more than one per diem position to obtain the income that you need if you need some amount of steady income.

Ask yourself the following questions when you are considering either taking a part-time versus per diem:

  • As a per diem employee, am I okay with being available more often?
  • Do I need a guaranteed level of income weekly?
  • Am I okay working per diem knowing I am not guaranteed any hours?
  • How much do I want to spend on healthcare benefits?
  • Does the per diem rate of pay provide the income I need?

Employer Best Practices

  1. The ACA

If any employer with more than 50 full-time employees hired an employee who averages over 30 horses per week or 130 hours a month for the initial measurement period used by the employer, then the employee could be considered a full-time equivalent employee who must be offered at least one-month health plan option that provides minimum value and is affordable. This is all under the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.

  1. Clear employee understanding

To ensure that the nature of the employment is clear, you have to make sure the employees understand the employment relation. The employers should maintain written policies and agreements outlining the characteristics of the relationship. This would include the limited hours. Absences of any guarantee of hours, limitation of benefits, and the expected availability.

  1. Processes

Employees would be mindful that there are employment laws, and often the employer’s own policies, extend to per diem employees as well as regular full-time and part-time employees. 

  1. Unemployment

It is important for employers to have a clear policy regarding any availability expectations for per diem practices and it is critical to record whether per diem employees are refusing work or restricting their availability since there are some states that can file unemployment claims.

  1. Scheduling ordinances

You should make sure to check local ordinances because there are some jurisdictions that have predictive scheduling laws that may affect the ability to offer per diem employment.

  1. Personnel records and actions

Employers should follow the same disciplinary and corrective action processes for per diem employees that they follow for other employees and ensure that per diem employees also receive regular feedback about their performance. As an employer, you should maintain documentation for per diem employees to the same extent as full-time or part-time employees.

  1. Paid sick leave and protected absences

Per diem employees are entitled to paid sick leave, even though they may not work many hours. This would depend on the state laws of where you are working. Employers that rely on PTO plans to meet sick leave requirements should ensure that per diem employees are covered by a separate policy that would be able to provide the required accrual and use of sick leave as per diem employees often are not eligible to accrue PTO.

How convenient are per diem nurses? Per diem nurses are extremely convenient for hospitals and healthcare facilities to cover up staffing needs. A flexible way for employers to address unforeseen staffing shortages of fluctuation in work is by hiring per diem nurses, but despite this, employers should always be mindful that they still have important obligations to per diem employees.