What is a Relief Nurse? : Relief Vs Regular

If your hospital is on the brink of being overbooked, you have likely heard about relief nurses who can come to the rescue. But what exactly is a relief nurse? Simply put, a relief nurse is an experienced and qualified healthcare professional who offers temporary help to hospitals by acting as an extra resource for staff when facilities are overloaded or require additional specialists.

Relief nurses provide invaluable service in many scenarios—from supplementing short-staffed shifts due to vacations and sick leaves to assisting with high patient volumes that strain existing resources too much. In this blog post, we will explore what relief nursing means and how it has evolved while also discussing some typical roles these care professionals take on in today’s healthcare industry.

What is a Relief Nurse?

A relief nurse is a vital part of any healthcare team. As the name suggests, a relief nurse provides coverage when the regular nurse is absent due to illness, vacation, or other reasons. They may be called in for a short period or work full-time for an extended period. Relief nurses are trained professionals who bring their skills and expertise to various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, or home care agencies.

They must be equipped with a solid knowledge of nursing practices and medical procedures and be able to adapt to different environments and patient needs. The role of a relief nurse is essential in ensuring that patients receive proper care and that healthcare facilities run smoothly.


The relief nurse works one day when the in-residence nurse has designated time off and assists the Village healthcare team with opening day procedures (The relief nurse’s responsibilities are those of the nurse).


Starting at $120 per day, plus meals.

Difference Between Regular Nurse Vs. Relief Nurse – Step by Step

1) Duty

A regular nurse is a full-time, permanent employee who works in a specific facility for an extended period. Their duties typically include providing medical care to patients, administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and managing other healthcare professionals.

A relief nurse is a temporary employee who is employed as needed. They provide coverage when the regular nurse is absent due to illness, vacation, or other reasons. While their duties may be similar to a regular nurse, they come with more flexibility and can work in multiple settings.

2) Experience

Regular nurses are usually hired based on experience and education. Most hospitals require that nurses have some form of certification or degree to qualify for full-time employment.

Relief nurses typically do not need any formal qualifications. However, they must have a strong nursing background and be competent in patient care.

3) Pay

Regular nurses are usually paid an annual salary or per-hour basis, depending on the facility and the type of position.

Relief nurses are typically paid an hourly rate or a daily fee for their services, depending on the arrangement with the facility. They are not usually eligible for benefits like health insurance or vacation days.

5) Availability

Regular nurses are available to work full-time shifts in a specific facility.

Relief nurses offer more flexibility as they can work part-time or temporarily in multiple settings. They can also be called upon at short notice, depending on the agreement with the health care provider.

5) Roles

Regular nurses have specific roles and responsibilities in their assigned facility that must be fulfilled.

Relief nurses are more flexible in their roles and duties as they may be called upon to work in different settings. They must be prepared to take on whatever tasks or responsibilities are assigned to them, ranging from patient care to administrative duties.

6) Time Commitment

Regular nurses usually have a long-term commitment to their facility, while relief nurses can work on a short-term or part-time basis.

Relief nurses often can choose their schedule and are free from the traditional 9-5 job responsibilities that regular nurses must adhere to. They may also be able to take longer breaks in between assignments if they choose.

What are the Benefits of Being a Relief Nurse?

The primary benefit of being a relief nurse is the flexibility it provides. Relief nurses can work independently and take on different assignments and tasks in multiple settings. They can also be called upon at short notice, allowing them to fill in for regular nurses during busy periods or sick days.

Other benefits include the ability to travel and explore new locations, as well as the opportunity to gain a variety of experiences in healthcare.

The role of the Relief Nurse is critical in providing quality patient care and ensuring that healthcare providers remain staffed and operational. Relief nurses can provide a much-needed service to patients when regular staff cannot fulfill their duties, making them a valuable asset in any healthcare setting.

Why Choose Relief Nurse Career?

  1. Increased flexibility and freedom to choose when and where to work
  2. Opportunity for travel and exploration of new locations
  3. Variety of experience in healthcare
  4. Ability to fill in for regular nurses during busy periods or sick days
  5. Necessary service that can improve the quality of patient care

How to Become a Relief Nurse – Important Steps

Here are the essential steps to becoming a relief nurse:

Required Qualifications

  • Registered nurse (RN) or LPN with a Minnesota license
  • CPR certified; experience in first aid and emergency management
  • Experience in both children and adult illness/injury care; the desire to work with children and young adults
  • Community health knowledge
  • Language ability and cultural assessment skills preferred
  • Camping experience preferred

Earn A Registered Nursing License.

Before becoming a relief nurse, your first step is to attain the necessary qualifications and become a licensed registered nurse.

Gain Experience

After becoming a registered nurse, gaining experience in different settings is essential before attempting to work as a relief nurse. You should also consider taking specialty courses related to the type of relief nursing you wish to pursue.

Look for Relief Nursing Job Opportunities.

Once you have completed your training and experience, the next step is to look for job opportunities as a relief nurse. You can search online for agencies that provide relief nurses or contact local hospitals or clinics directly.

Network with Other Professionals.

It’s essential to network with other professionals in the healthcare industry, as this can help you find potential job openings and better position yourself for success.

These steps will ensure you are well-prepared and qualified to be a relief nurse. With the right qualifications and experience, you can provide quality patient care and make a difference in the lives of those in need.

The most crucial step to becoming a relief nurse is getting the necessary qualifications and earning your license. Ensure you have the right experience, training, and certifications before applying for jobs as a relief nurse. Networking with other professionals in the healthcare industry can also help you find potential job opportunities. With the right qualifications, you can provide excellent patient care and make a difference in the lives of those in need.

Final Thoughts

Relief nursing is a rewarding and flexible career with many benefits. With the right qualifications and experience, you can make a positive difference in your community and beyond as a relief nurse. The key is researching the requirements for becoming a relief nurse, gaining the necessary qualifications, and networking with other healthcare professionals to find available job opportunities. With the proper preparation, you can be an essential part of providing quality patient care in your community.

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