What is a PRN Nursing Position?

Portrait of a nurse in front of her medical teamIf you have been looking into nursing jobs, you may be curious to know what a PRN nursing position is. The term “PRN” is based on a Latin term that simply means “as the need arises.” When you work as a PRN nurse, you work on an as needed basis. You must be a registered nurse (RN) in order to work in this kind of position (please see: Top 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs). It is possible to work this way for one employer or for an agency that assigns you to different medical facilities when they need temporary or occasional workers. Working PRN means you are on-call and must be flexible about when and where you work.

Some Possible Advantages to Working PRN

Flexibility can be an advantage for some nurses who may not need or want a full-time schedule. In some busy hospitals or health networks, there is plenty of PRN work and nurses may be able to essentially decide their own hours. Another advantage to working in a PRN position is the opportunity to experience different types of nursing and work at different facilities. If you enjoy changing environments and meeting new people, this kind of challenge can be invigorating. Even if you end up working regularly for one hospital, you will likely work in different departments depending on where you are most needed. This provides fresh experiences in a familiar setting. As a nurse working on call, there is also a good possibility that you will be paid very well for your time. Since some PRN nurses do not receive benefits, this higher pay rate could allow you to cover your own health insurance or put money into a health savings account.

Some Potential Disadvantages

The flexibility of a PRN position may not work well, however, for someone who needs the assurance of regular, full-time work. Since PRN nurses are only called in when needed you may find that you don’t have enough work. The lack of benefits can also be challenging for some nurses, though some PRN situations can provide benefits, especially if you are working for an agency that staffs health care facilities. It’s important that you look into benefit requirements prior to accepting a position, as they may only be offered if you are willing to work a minimum amount of time during a given period. It’s generally important to look into the requirements for working as a PRN nurse, as an agency may require that you have a certain amount of experience in important nursing areas before they will hire you.

Whether or not you decide to work in this fashion will probably depend on a number of factors regarding your schedule and pay needs. While some nurses enjoy the freedom and flexibility involved in PRN work, others may find the uncertainties involved too stressful. You may want to speak to experienced nurses in your area about what a PRN nursing position is and how they feel it has worked out for them.