Per Diem Vs. Contract Nursing, How to Choose Which Option is Best for You?

Fun Facts About Nursing Power Personnel

Nursing has many work options, and per diem and contract nursing are two popular ones. Per diem and contract nursing, both offer nurses the opportunity to expand their nursing careers while visiting different hospitals and parts of the country. These two career options have several differences, as well. Which path is right for you? Keep reading to see what both work options have to offer you.

Per Diem

Per diem nursing allows you to select your schedule and avoid working weekends and holidays. This type of scheduling has no minimum requirements for the number of shifts you need to work. Furthermore, per diem nursing gives you the ability to work in more than one hospital system with minimal processing, something contingent nurses cannot do. Per diem nursing is a superb way to make more money. This work option allows you to try before you buy, and it is a fantastic way to explore new career options without a commitment. Your work-life balance will improve as you work only shifts of your choosing instead of the unit’s needs. Per diem shifts can also help you stay current with your nursing skills while keeping up with the ever-changing medical field.

Of course, if the patient census drops or the medical facility hires new staff, the per diem nurses are the first to be canceled. For this reason, most nurses who work per diem are working side shifts or just getting in some extra work. If you work in a large hospital system where census fluctuations impact staffing less, you can get consistent full-time work if the facility is flexible in its scheduling availability.


Contract nursing is an attractive choice for nurses who must work and maintain full-time hours and benefits. In contract nursing, employers will guarantee hours in exchange for a possible weekend and holiday commitment. A contract guarantees full-time hours and typically runs 4, 8, 13, or even 26 weeks in duration. Upon completion, the contract nurse is free to take as much time off as they desire. Due to the nursing shortage, numerous nurses are working on contracts for years. Contract nursing gives you more freedom with fewer politics, so you can choose your schedule and avoid the department’s daily politics. You will experience less burnout, and your colleagues and nurse leaders will be happy to have you share the workload with them.

The disadvantage of contract nursing is the expectation that you will commit to the shifts in the same way the facility employees do. Most employers frown upon calling out, and it is proper etiquette for you to make up a shift if you take a sick day. Another disadvantage is that there is frequently a two weekend a month commitment and possibly a holiday commitment.


Good luck choosing between these two fantastic work options. Power Personnel can help you accelerate your nursing career with contract and per diem nursing opportunities. Contact the professionals at Power Personnel and let them help you with your nursing future.