Per Diem Travel Nurse: Everything You Need to Know

Traveling as a nurse is an incredibly lucrative way to make a living these days. And to be honest, there are a lot of talks that are going around about per diem nursing.

Here’s the good thing about per diem nursing.

When you become a per diem nurse, and you start traveling to different hospitals, you’ll find that the per diem alone can provide quite a bit of extra income.

However, there are some things you need to know about traveling as a per diem nurse and hitting the road to make that extra travel nurse money.

So, in this post, you’re going to learn our five top tips about per diem nursing that we believe are crucial to the process. Let’s jump into it.

1. Understand That Job Security Is Low

You can make a lot of money travel nursing and per diem nursing. Obviously, one of the best things about this business is that you can travel and make your own way while also pretty much going wherever you want. But the downside is that job security tends to be low.

You’re probably not going to run into a situation with a canceled contract because that’s still pretty rare. However, be advised that contracts can be terminated, sometimes even at the last minute, if the hospital hires enough staff to cover all of its shifts.

2. You Get to Choose Where You Want to Work

As mentioned before, one of the biggest upsides to travel nursing is that you get to pretty much choose where you want to travel. Traveling nurses literally go all over the country. They can travel to some beautiful and remote locations and have some truly rewarding work experiences. This is definitely an upside to per diem nursing.

3. You Generally Get Paid More and A LOT More

Per Diem is basically extra income that you get paid for while traveling that doesn’t count as taxable wages. You’re supposed to use this extra income to help you pay for expenses—things like lodging, food, and other travel expenses.

The great thing about per diem is that you get a set amount of it. This can really help you to cover expenses and to have the best possible odds of making your nursing career even more lucrative when you travel.

4. You Usually Get to Choose Your Own Hours

Another major benefit to per diem nursing is that you pretty much get to choose when you work. Now, this isn’t always true—and it can depend on the area and the hospital you’re working at.

Plus, holidays tend to pay out extra amounts of money anyway, so many travelers do end up working them voluntarily. However, as a general rule, you’ll pretty much be able to choose whether or not you want to work holidays, what you want your schedules to look like, etc.

This is especially true if you have an excellent recruiter who can represent you to the hospital administration if problems with such things ever do arise.

5. You Need to Be Experienced

One thing that many traveling nurses have learned as they travel, earn wages, and get paid per diem on the road is this:

You need to be experienced in order to make it as a traveling nurse.

Brand new nurses, or nurses without adequate experience, won’t tend to have a very good experience traveling.

The reason for this is because they’re expected to be extremely experienced at their craft—and they tend to get thrown into very serious situations with little to no training in understaffed hospitals.

This is because you’re expected to have quite a bit of experience already as a traveler. So just make sure that you have adequate experience for the role you intend to play as a per diem nurse.

This could make a big difference in determining whether or not you get your contract renewed.


There you have it. Five things you need to know if you’re planning to hit the road as a per diem travel nurse. With this information, you can make the most of your career and try your best to get the best contracts and jobs possible.

You can also make some pretty sweet money while you’re at it. Just be careful out there, and take care of yourself!

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