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Whether you’ve been in the workforce for a while or are just getting started, you may come across new terms. Per diem is one of them; many people have heard the term, but they may not know what it means. 

What does per diem mean? 

The term per diem has Latin roots. It means per day, and, in this context, it refers to paying someone a set rate per day, as opposed to a salary or an hourly wage. Per diem pay is used in healthcare, but it’s used in other sectors, as well; for example, substitute teachers are generally paid on a per diem basis.  

For a person who works per diem, working hours may vary from one week to the next. The individual is not considered to be a member of the regular staff. The per diem person is required to have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience that is required of anyone who would fill a particular role. For a surgical tech, this includes knowledge and experience with surgical procedures, instruments, and other key components of the job. 

Advantages of working per diem 

Some people prefer to work full time, and others prefer part time. Some prefer nights, and others prefer days. There is not a single work schedule that suits every person perfectly, and the same is true with per diem. There are advantages, including flexibility. If you know you will be available only during the day for a certain time period, you can limit your availability for per diem work to those hours.  

Do you want to earn extra money to save up for a vacation or to pay off bills? Per diem work can be a very useful way to pick up extra hours. During those extra working hours, you can learn a lot because per diem work offers variety; your assignments may vary widely, depending on who needs per diem help. Finally, if there’s someplace you really want to work, working there on a per diem basis may help you get your foot in the door, especially if you do a great job and build a reputation for excellent work. 

Disadvantages of working per diem 

The biggest disadvantage, as the term per diem itself implies, is that you get paid per day – and only per day. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. In addition, there’s no such thing as a paid holiday or vacation day for a per diem worker.  

The lack of benefits, such as health insurance, can be a stumbling block for some people. The variety of per diem work can be an advantage, but getting used to new coworkers, new supervisors, and new routines for every shift can be a strain for people who crave familiarity and predictability. 

Is per diem work for you? 

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. If you think per diem work is for you, we can help; if you are searching for a long-term assignment, we can help with that, too. Give us a call at 310.436.3650. We would love to work with you! 

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