What Is PRN in Nursing? Definition and Frequently Asked Questions

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.

The Latin term “Pro Re Nata,” which translates to “as necessary” but is more commonly referred to as “PRN” in the medical community, can make RTs looking for full-time jobs shudder. Particularly recent graduates don’t even want to consider taking a temporary or benefit-free job.

Pamela Kayser, RRT, RPFT: She enjoyed setting her own hours while working as a PRN for about eight months in the 1980s. Financially, it was alright, according to the lung navigator and supervisor of pulmonary diagnostics at Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth. “I was working almost 40 hours a week and doing everything the other technicians did in terms of my job.” She took the situation by the horns when she realized the hospital needed staff and threatened to resign if they didn’t hire her on a full-time basis. “I decided that a sink-or-swim offering was necessary.” She has been employed there full-time ever since, for 28 years.

David Wolfe, MSEd, RRT-NPS, RST, RPSGT, AE-C: Although working PRN at a few New York hospitals over the years was never his main job, he enjoyed the opportunity it gave him to observe how various hospitals approached respiratory care. Along the way, he was offered a full-time position as well, but he declined it because he already had one. He advises students who inquire about PRN positions that he is now the educational coordinator at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse to “take it! In all likelihood, you will be offered a full time or part time position when it becomes available.” ”.

Lena Cleveland, RRT: She actually sought out a PRN position at the Billings Clinic in Montana, where she had previously worked full-time, after beginning her family in the late 1990s, so she could have a more flexible schedule while raising her kids. She continues to work PRN today for the same reason, and she says she enjoys the opportunity it has given her to work in a variety of settings, including home oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation, and pulmonary function testing. “Any work is interesting if you have an open mind and are willing to learn, regardless of what it is. ”.

Lisa Grenier, RRT: She claims that as a military spouse who frequently relocates, PRN positions simply suit her way of life. “I needed to have the option to say that I am unavailable because my husband will be away from home.” Although it can be difficult to predict her pay from one pay period to the next, she and her husband, who is currently in Hawaii, sit down and decide what they need before she informs her supervisor, who typically has no trouble meeting those needs. She attributes a lot of that to her strong work ethic. “I join a committee or offer to assist with departmental projects to integrate myself into the department like any other regular employee would. This will allow me to take the time I need and signal to the department that I am fully committed. ’”.

Lawrence Johnson, RRT: He once converted a PRN position into a job offer that included the position of department manager. “The staff at the facility were aware of my work ethic, character, and abilities.” When those are advantageous, that is a competitive advantage, he claims. At Baystate Health in Palmer, Massachusetts, he currently serves as director of cardio, pulmonary, neurodiagnostics, and sleep. Young people just starting out should heed his advice and give it their all. You get back what you put into this profession. ”.

In 2005, Jenifer Graves, RRT, was a recent graduate and could only find PRN employment. She accepted a 50% position that was offered to her after 2.5 years. She is currently employed by UCSD in La Jolla, California as the clinical manager of respiratory care and interventional pulmonary. I enjoy working with my coworkers and my current bosses, she says. “I would have put up with a PRN job just to be able to say I work for UCSD.” ”.

After starting a family, Sharon Armstead, EMBA, RRT, decided on PRN and was content to work the more flexible schedule while her children were growing up. She eventually returned to her full-time job and eventually became a department manager, where her perspective on PRN RTs significantly broadened. The PRN staff may actually be the main source of income in the current environment. Without the assistance of PRN, I would not have been able to get through my previous rehabilitation, claims the clinical assistant professor at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Wanda Arnold, RRT, CPFT, says young people just starting out should definitely think about taking on a PRN position in addition to their full-time job back in 2008 to help with unforeseen medical expenses. An employer can learn more about you and your work ethic in this way. She works as a therapist at Cox Health in Branson, Missouri, in the PFT lab today.

3 Cons of a PRN Medical-Surgical Nurse

How to become a PRN nurse

The actions below can be taken by anyone interested in exploring opportunities as a PRN nurse:

1. Obtain a degree

A bachelor’s or associate’s degree from an accredited college is required to work as a nurse. Students focus on their nursing studies and skip general coursework during the two years it takes to earn an associate’s degree in nursing. It takes roughly four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which consists of both general education coursework and nursing coursework and clinicals.

A nursing diploma can be obtained in addition to an associates or bachelor’s degree. It typically takes two to three years to complete and prepares students for roles at entry-level. Nursing diploma programs take place in a hospital or other healthcare facility and emphasize giving students clinical experience and fundamental knowledge of patient care. As a result, people devote a lot of time to earning their degree while working as a nurse or nursing assistant.

2. Gain licensure

To practice as a nurse, one must obtain a license after graduating from a nursing program. The requirements for licensure vary by state and the kind of nursing a person chooses to practice. They must pass the National Certification Licensure Exam to become a registered nurse (RN) in order to work as a PRN. Then, before becoming a PRN nurse, they must work as an RN for at least a year.

3. Find PRN nursing opportunities

People typically have two choices when looking for work as a PRN nurse. One choice is to apply to work in a hospital’s temporary nurse pool, which places your name on a list that the facility can use to fill nursing positions as needed. They may also discover opportunities through a medical staffing company, which will put them in touch with nursing positions but may have stringent qualifications or skill requirements. Although some employers may look for nurses with specific specialties, PRN nurses typically work in a more general nursing role.

Additional employee benefits, such as bonuses, insurance, and retirement plans, may be available if you work through an agency. However, because agencies may have PRN nurses working at various hospitals or facilities, working directly within a hospital staffing pool adds the benefit of stability.

What is PRN in nursing?

Pro re neta, or “as the need arises,” is a Latin expression that is frequently used in the medical field and stands for the acronym “PRN.” “PRN refers to nurses who work for hospitals whenever they are needed and do not follow a set schedule. They primarily fill staffing gaps, so their weekly schedules and working locations may change.

A registered nurse, also known as an RN, differs from a PRN in that the former works full-time and is frequently a permanent employee of a hospital or facility. A PRN, on the other hand, is a registered nurse who works as a contract or temporary employee. When they want to pursue their careers on a more flexible basis, some full-time RNs may move into PRN positions.

FAQs about PRN nursing

Following are some responses to questions about PRN nursing that are frequently asked:

How does a PRN nursing schedule work?

PRN nurses typically do not have a set schedule because they fill staffing gaps. They can set their own schedules and accept assignments because of the flexibility in these roles. While some PRN nurses choose their work on a shift-by-shift basis, others can work with the hospital or care facilities to set up a weekly schedule.

When a PRN nurse is on call, it means they are prepared to work whenever the hospital has a pressing need. When a hospital needs another person to fill in for a permanent worker who is on leave, for example, that person may receive their schedule in advance.

How many days do PRN nurses work?

Unlike full-time nurses, who typically work about 40 hours per week, PRN nurses can work anywhere between zero and over 40 hours per week. As with freelancers or temporary employees, PRNs can work as many or as few days as they like. But because their options also depend on what their hospital or agency offers, they might not always have as many opportunities to work as they would like.

They might only work at that hospital for one to a few days that week if they are required to fill an urgent need. They might spend weeks working at the hospital if they have to take over for a nurse who is on leave. PRN nurses frequently fill in for open shifts or those that the hospital’s full- and part-time staff are unable to fill. As a result, they might be forced to work on weekends, holidays, or at odd hours.

Do PRN nurses earn higher salaries?

Because they are frequently not entitled to employee benefits from the facilities they work for, PRN nurses typically earn more per hour than permanent employees. They might get a benefits package from a staffing firm if they work for one. However, if they agree to work a certain number of shifts per week, some PRN nurses employed in hospital temporary staffing pools might qualify for benefits. To supplement their income, some registered nurses even work PRN jobs in addition to their full-time jobs.

What are the responsibilities of a PRN nurse?

Being a PRN requires having the same credentials as an RN, so they carry out many of the same duties. These duties include:

Nurses in these positions benefit from being extremely flexible at work because of the nature of PRN roles. They should be able to modify their sleeping schedule as necessary because their hours may change from week to week. They should also be well-versed in general hospital and medical policies and procedures because they might visit various facilities and specialties.

How do you transition from PRN to full time?

People can acquire relevant experience in the field by working as PRN nurses, which many employers look for when hiring for full-time positions. Similar to temp-to-hire positions, some hospitals and medical facilities may offer jobs that begin as PRN positions but have the potential to become full-time. When a nurse’s contract with a particular facility expires, the employer may choose to rehire the nurse on a full-time basis. These job openings can be found through the facility or a medical staffing agency.

PRN nurses occasionally have the option to work with multiple facilities simultaneously, allowing them to get a sense of how various hospitals in their area operate. However, if they concentrate on a specific hospital, they can establish connections and a reputation there. By doing this, they may have a better chance of obtaining a full-time position when one becomes available because the employer will already be familiar with their work ethic and nursing skills as a PRN nurse.

What are some advantages of PRN nursing positions?

As was already mentioned, PRN nurses have more flexibility in their work schedules and occasionally make more money than permanent employees. Some of the other advantages of pursuing PRN opportunities include:

Jobs similar to a PRN

There are several options available for those who want to work as nurses. Here are 10 jobs related to a PRN position:


What does PRN mean in nursing?

The Latin term “Pro Re Nata,” which translates to “as necessary” but is more commonly referred to as “PRN” in the medical community, can make RTs looking for full-time jobs shudder. Particularly recent graduates don’t even want to consider taking a temporary or benefit-free job.

Is PRN the same as RN?

A registered nurse, also known as an RN, differs from a PRN in that the former works full-time and is frequently a permanent employee of a hospital or facility. A PRN, on the other hand, is a registered nurse who works as a contract or temporary employee.

Do PRN nurses get paid more?

Usually PRN makes more- often significantly more. I am a PRN employee at my current facility and I made a similar amount at my previous facility, about 20% more than base pay for my level of experience.

How many hours is PRN?

Employees hired under the PRN program may work up to 40 hours per week (no overtime without prior approval), and you may choose to work in any of the communities to fulfill those requirements. (I am a Current employee). As many as the employee would like without entering overtime, or as many as are available for pickup. Anywere from zero to up to 30 hours.

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