What is a PRN and Why Should I Consider It?

NursingMarch 03, 2021

What is a PRN?

PRN is an acronym for the Latin term “pro re nata,” which means “as the situation demands,” or simply, “as needed.” PRN nurses are fully licensed professionals who want to work on-call instead of as a full-time employee. PRN nurses may work a single shift or may work a variety of shifts, filling in for nurses on vacation or in times of high need. 

Graduates of St. Paul’s School of Nursing’s Associate Degree in Nursing Program are well prepared for a variety of nursing opportunities, however not everyone needs or wants a full-time position. Perhaps you have a family to care for and limited help with childcare? Or maybe you want to scale back your schedule and enjoy all of the culture and recreation that New York has to offer? The good news is that you do not have to resign from nursing altogether if you can’t or don’t want to work a full time position. Instead, consider taking on a role as a PRN nurse, filling in at healthcare facilities that need temporary help.

Why should you consider becoming a PRN?

If you need to set your own schedule, becoming a PRN nurse is a great way to do so. You will have the flexibility of working the shifts that you choose to take and reject shifts that do not fit your needs.  This flexibility allows you to work around your family's schedule and provides other benefits as well. For example, you can take vacation time without having to ask off for it. It also allows you the opportunity to pick up last-minute shifts if your calendar opens up and you want to earn extra money.

PRN nurses often work in different areas of a hospital, which provides variety and allows you to cross-train and gain experience in multiple specialties. As a result, if you enjoy learning or want to add new experiences to your resume it can be an excellent way to accomplish this goal. 

Becoming a PRN also allows you to stay active in your career and keep your license current, even if you do not have the ability or desire to work full-time. Specializing as a PRN nurse offers you the flexibility stay active in the nursing profession while balancing other important aspects of your life.

What are some drawbacks?

Hours are not guaranteed for PRNs. Work schedules are often created in advance, and PRN nurses can be sent home if the shift is light and they are not needed, resulting in a loss of hours and pay.  If you are the primary breadwinner in your home and need a stable income, this role may not be the right fit for you. Additionally, PRN nurses typically do not get benefits, such as healthcare insurance or retirement plans. A less tangible drawback is that you may not form friendships with other members of the staff since you will not be consistently assigned to the same floor or department.

How do I become a PRN?

If you are a licensed, registered nurse you can search out work opportunities by applying to a nursing home or hospital’s temporary nurse pool or you can look into working for a temporary nursing agency. 

Whether you are already a registered nurse or are considering getting into the field, becoming a PRN nurse puts you in charge of your schedule and offers flexibility. If you’re interested in entering the field of nursing, St. Paul’s School of Nursing can help. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our career counselors.