What does Prn Medical & Nursing Abbreviation Mean?

Blog Introduction: One of the most common questions at NursingTroop is, “what does PRN mean?” PRN is a term that you’ll see a lot in the nursing world. In this post, we will discuss everything in detail about this term.

What does PRN Medical Abbreviation Mean?

PRN, which stands for the Latin phrase “pro re nata,” is a medical abbreviation commonly used in prescriptions and other medical documentation. It means “as needed” or “as the situation demands,” and implies that the medication should be taken only when necessary. This prescription allows for dosage flexibility depending on an individual’s needs and symptoms.

PRN medications are usually prescribed for pain, nausea, or anxiety. They’re often given to patients in the hospital or undergoing a complex medical procedure. PRN medications can be given intravenously, intramuscularly, orally, or rectally. The route of administration will depend on the medication and the patient’s needs.

Example: If a nurse gets an order from the doctor to give a patient ibuprofen PRN for pain, the nurse can administer ibuprofen whenever the patient is having pain. The amount of medication allocated will be based on how severe the patient’s symptoms are at any given time.

PRN doses are rarely used as long-term solutions but rather as short-term treatments for acute symptoms. It also allows healthcare workers to adjust medication doses based on the patient’s response and can help reduce the risk of overmedication or side effects from long-term use. Physicians may also prescribe PRN medications to avoid needing other, more invasive treatments, such as surgery.

What Does PRN Mean in Nursing?

PRN stands for Pro Re Nata. In Latin, that translates to “as the situation requires.” You’ll often see it written as “PRN job” or “PRN work.”

In nursing, PRN work refers to shifts that are not part of your regular schedule. Nurses who work PRN shifts are only required to show up when their services are needed—hence the Latin translation. PRN shifts are often filled by per diem nurses, who pick up changes as required to supplement their income or fill in gaps in their schedules.

PRN shifts can be a great way to get your foot in the door at a new facility or to try out a new unit before committing to a full-time position. They can also be a nice way to make some extra cash if you’re already employed full-time but looking for additional hours. However, there are some downsides to PRN work as well. Because you’re not guaranteed any set hours, it can be challenging to budget your finances or plan your schedule week-to-week.

PRN work can also be emotionally draining. When you work PRN, you’re constantly on-call and may have to drop everything at a moment’s notice to head to work. If you value predictability and stability in your life, PRN work may not be the right fit for you.

Pros and Cons of Working in PRN Shifts


• Flexible work schedule

• Scheduling freedom

• Opportunity to pick up extra hours and make more money

• Variety of experiences working in different units, positions, and environments.


• Unpredictable scheduling – difficult to plan other activities around work commitments

• Lack of job security – dependent on the availability of shifts from other nurses

• Lower pay rate than permanent positions

• Less opportunity for career growth and advancement.


Q: What does PRN mean?

A: PRN stands for “as needed” or “when necessary.” In healthcare, it indicates that medication or other treatment should be administered only when the patient’s symptoms require it. In different contexts, PRN can also suggest that a task or job should be done only when needed. For example, an employer may list a job as “PRN” if they need someone to work occasionally on an as-needed basis.

Q: Can PRN also be used for tasks or jobs outside of healthcare?

A: Yes, PRN can also be used in other contexts to indicate that a task or job should be done only when needed. For example, an employer may list a job as “PRN” if they need someone to work occasionally on an as-needed basis. This allows the employer to fill the position when necessary without committing to consistent hours.

Q: How can I tell if a job listing is for a PRN position?

A: When looking at a job listing, look for language such as “as-needed”, “when necessary,” or other words that indicate the position is only required occasionally. In many cases, employers will also explicitly state in the job description that the position is PRN. If you still need clarification, contact the employer to ask if it is a PRN position.

Q: Are there advantages to working a PRN job?

A: Yes, there are several advantages to working a PRN job. It can allow you to work when it is convenient for you and take days off when needed. You will also have the opportunity to gain experience in different roles and settings since you may be filling various positions. It can also be a wonderful way to supplement your income without committing to a full-time job.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to working a PRN job?

A: There are some potential drawbacks to working a PRN job. You may need more stability of consistent hours or the same benefits as a full-time employee, such as health insurance or paid time off. Additionally, you may earn less since you will only be working on an as-needed basis. It is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a PRN job before deciding if it is right for you.

Final Thoughts

By reading this post, you have understood the difference between prn terms in nursing and medical.

Whether or not working PRN shifts is right for you is a personal decision. By weighing the pros and cons carefully you can choose what’s best for you and your career.

If we talk about prn in medical terms, it means medication as per the requirement. I hope this post has helped you in enhancing your knowledge.

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