In the health care staffing industry, "PRN" is a term used to refer to a per diem nurse. The acronym stands for Latin word "pro re nata," which means "as the situation demands." PRN nurses are registered nurses who usually work with an agency to fill a hospital's staffing needs on an on-call basis.


The most common way of being employed as a PRN nurse is to register with a health care staffing agency. The agencies contract with health care facilities in the market to provide registered nurses as their needs arise. A PRN position usually requires that a nurse be available to the health care provider to fill in for a regular staff member who is sick or on vacation, or to cover any shifts where coverage is needed.


PRN employees inform agencies of their availability and report to work whenever they are called upon, rather than according to a consistent, set schedule. Some nurses work PRN positions full time, while others work a regular job in addition to picking up shifts as a PRN to supplement their incomes, according to


PRN positions normally pay higher hourly wages than permanent or part-time staff positions. This is because PRNs usually aren't provided with medical, dental or paid time-off benefits. PRNs can be thought of as the freelancers of the nursing marketplace.


Pay for PRNs are expenses allotted in a company's budget. They are considered temporary positions and therefore offer no medical benefits. However, PRN nurses may be eligible to enroll in retirement plans or receive other limited company benefits.