What does Per Diem Mean In Healthcare and Other Sectors

The term “per diem” is Latin for “per day.” When worked out on annualized basis per diem rates can be a significant source of income for nurses. They are also a way for employers to cut costs by not having to offer full-time benefits packages to staff members who are not working regular hours.

What does Per Diem Mean in Nursing?

A per diem is a set amount of money that an individual receives for each workday. In nursing, per diem hours are typically used to compensate nurses who may be needed on an as-needed basis, such as in relief assignments or for emergency shifts. This type of compensation arrangement may be attractive to nurses looking for flexible work arrangements or those who want to supplement their income and do not require the same benefits of full-time employment.

How to Calculate the Per Diem Rate in Nursing?

One way to calculate the per diem rate in nursing is by dividing the total annual salary for the position by the number of workdays in the year. For example, if a nurse earns $60,000 per year and works 250 days, their per diem rate would be $240.

Another way to calculate the per diem rate in nursing is by using a daily rate, the total annual salary divided by the number of workdays in a typical month. For example, if a nurse earns $70,000 per year and works 20 days per month, their daily rate would be $350.

Types of Per Diem in Nursing

There are several different per diem positions in nursing, including relief assignments, on-call shifts, and temporary placements. Relief assignments are generally short-term positions that involve covering changes for nurses on leave or who need time off. On-call shifts can be scheduled in advance or needed on short notice and usually involve working odd hours. Temporary placements may last for a few weeks or months and are typically offered to new graduate nurses looking for work while they search for a permanent position.

What are the Benefits and Downside of Per Diem


There are several benefits of per diem in nursing, including working flexible hours, earning extra income, and gaining experience in a variety of different settings. Additionally, many per diem nurses have the opportunity to develop close relationships with other members of the nursing team and build their network of contacts.


Despite the many benefits of per diem in nursing, there are also some potential downsides. Per diem nurses may be required to work long hours, weekends, and holidays and may not have the same job security as full-time employees. Additionally, per diem nurses may have limited opportunities for career advancement or benefits and may be subject to additional travel, meal, and lodging expenses.

How to find a Per Diem Nursing Job?

There are a few different ways to find per diem nursing jobs, including online job boards, staffing agencies, and hospital websites. Additionally, many nurses find per diem work through personal contacts and networking.

How to Negotiate Per Diem rate in Nursing?

When negotiating a per diem rate in nursing, it is vital to know the typical pay levels for similar positions in your area. You may also want to consider the number of hours you are willing to work, the type of work you are interested in, and your availability. Once you have this information, you can make a list of your qualifications and experience and then use it to negotiate a fair per diem rate aligned with your goals and needs.

Is Per Diem Nursing Right for You?

Per diem nursing can be a great way to earn extra income, gain experience in different settings, and work flexible hours. However, it may not be the right fit for everyone and is most suitable for nurses who are comfortable working on a contract basis and have reliable childcare or other support services. Before deciding to pursue a per diem nursing career, it is essential to consider your individual needs and goals and carefully assess all the pros and cons.

How to Get Started with Per Diem Nursing

There are a few key steps that you can take to get started with per diem nursing, including developing a strong resume, networking with other nurses, and reaching out to potential employers. Additionally, it is vital to research the positions available in your area and be prepared to negotiate terms such as hours, pay rate, and benefits. With some preparation and a clear focus on your goals and priorities, you can successfully launch a career in per diem nursing.


Per diem nursing is a flexible and rewarding career option for nurses looking for work that fits their individual needs and goals. Whether you are interested in earning extra income, gaining experience in different settings, or working flexible hours, per diem nursing may be the right career choice. With some preparation and a clear focus on your goals, you can successfully launch a career in per diem nursing.

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