Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing: Which is Right for You?

Navigating Nursing Careers: Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing – Which is Right for You?

When choosing a nursing career, one must weigh various options, and among the primary decisions to make is the type of employment: part-time or per diem. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of “Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing: Which is Right for You?” and guide you through the benefits and considerations of each to help you make an informed choice.

Defining Nursing Opportunities:

Part-Time Nursing:

In part-time nursing, nurses work a fixed number of hours, less than the standard 36 to 40 hours a week, with predetermined shifts and a stable schedule. This setup allows nurses to enjoy some level of consistency and predictability in their routines while having time for other personal endeavors or education.

Per Diem Nursing:

Per diem nursing refers to “day-by-day” employment, where nurses work on an as-needed basis, usually filling in for staff shortages or covering high-demand periods. They don’t have a fixed schedule and are typically called in with little notice. This option offers high flexibility and often higher pay rates due to its unpredictable nature.

Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing: Comparative Insights

1. Schedule Consistency:

  • Part-Time: Offers a set, predictable schedule, making it easier for nurses to plan their lives around their work hours.
  • Per Diem: Lacks schedule consistency, with shifts often varying from week to week, requiring adaptability.

2. Job Security & Benefits:

  • Part-Time: Usually comes with more job security and may include some benefits such as health insurance and paid time off, although typically less comprehensive than full-time positions.
  • Per Diem: Offers less job security and typically doesn’t provide standard employment benefits, making it suitable for those who value flexibility over stability.

3. Compensation:

  • Part-Time: Receives a regular, usually hourly, wage with possible partial benefits.
  • Per Diem: Often earns a higher hourly rate due to the flexibility and unpredictability of the schedule but usually without benefits.

Evaluating Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing:

Personal Lifestyle & Preferences:

Consider your lifestyle, personal responsibilities, and preferences when choosing between part-time and per diem nursing. If you prefer stability and a regular schedule, part-time nursing may be more suitable. However, if you value flexibility and higher pay, per diem nursing could be the right choice.

Career Goals:

Reflect on your career aspirations and how each option aligns with them. Part-time positions might offer more opportunities for professional development and advancement, while per diem roles can provide diverse experiences across various settings.

Financial Needs & Benefits:

Evaluate your financial needs and the importance of employment benefits. If you rely on a steady income and need employment benefits, a part-time position might be more appropriate. Conversely, if you’re looking for supplemental income and have benefits through another avenue, per diem nursing might be more advantageous.

Balancing the Scale: Benefits of Both Part-Time and Per Diem Nursing:

Choosing between part-time and per diem nursing doesn’t have to be absolute. Many nurses find a balance between the two, working part-time for the stability and benefits and picking up per diem shifts for additional income and flexibility. This approach allows nurses to enjoy the best of both worlds, aligning their work with their changing needs and preferences.


When contemplating “Part-Time vs. Per Diem Nursing: Which is Right for You?”, consider your personal needs, career aspirations, financial requirements, and lifestyle preferences. Part-time nursing offers stability, consistent schedules, and potential benefits, making it ideal for those who prefer a structured work environment. In contrast, per diem nursing provides unparalleled flexibility and higher pay, suitable for those who prefer varied experiences and can adapt to unpredictable schedules.

In the evolving landscape of nursing, reflecting on your individual circumstances and professional goals will guide you in making the right choice, enabling you to contribute meaningfully to healthcare while maintaining a fulfilling and balanced life. Whether you choose part-time or per diem nursing, or a combination of both, each path holds unique opportunities and experiences, enriching your nursing journey.