PRN comes from the Latin word “pro re nata,” which means “as needed.” This type of work schedule is common in allied health and medical professions. Although working PRN shares similarities with working part time, PRN positions differ in that the schedule radically changes and a certain number of hours isn’t guaranteed. Because doctors and nurses call in sick to work from time to time, large hospitals typically use PRN workers.
Some hospitals make a schedule for the PRN positions a month ahead of time. Some hospitals do not do this and call the people who’ve signed up to work PRN on a daily basis to find out if they can come in. While the employer doesn't guarantee a set schedule, it is common for the hospital to require the people signed up to work PRN to work a minimum number of hours within a certain period of time. Other hospitals may require those who sign up to work PRN to be available for a certain amount of weekend or holiday hours.
One of the benefits to working PRN is that many hospitals pay much more per hour to people who work PRN shifts. The higher rate of pay allows some people to work part time for full-time pay. The drawback is that there may be a period of time in which the hospital has fewer hours available for those staffers to work; however, this drawback is an uncommon scenario in most large hospitals.
People who work PRN do not usually receive benefits. Some hospitals distinguish between per diem and PRN positions by providing per diem staff some benefits. Not only aren’t employer health benefits offered, neither are unemployment or disability benefits. Hospitals offer workers' compensation due to work-related injury to all workers.
Volume of Work
A person who works a PRN schedule may work more hours than a person who works per diem or part time. This schedule works well for people who value the flexibility of the PRN schedule. PRN workers have the opportunity not to work on the days that they do not want to, as long as they haven’t previously agreed to work on those days.