Jessica has a good job working full time at a community hospital in her city, but since she just bought her first house her current salary just isn’t cutting it anymore. The home is a real fixer-upper and her “must have” list of renovations includes everything from updating the kitchen and bathrooms to refinishing the back deck and putting in all new landscaping.
Her friends in the department believe her best solution is to pick up some PRN shifts at another hospital across town. The thought of working even more hours, though, just makes Jessica tired. Plus, she put off earning her RRT after graduation and wonders if that would make a difference. And the idea of working more weekends and holidays than she already does makes her want to cry.
Still, those renos won’t pay for themselves, so she decides to go for it. Does Jessica have the right mindset for seeking a PRN position?
Not if you talk to RT managers who hire therapists for these jobs. “PRN applicants must show they will be available to work,” says Jack Fried, MA, RRT, director of respiratory care and neurodiagnostics at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. “Available means they must be able to do at least one shift per pay period but, more realistically, one shift a week.”
He also expects PRN applicants to have the same qualifications as anyone seeking a full-time job in his facility and he only wants RTs who are willing to show a commitment to the hospital, profession, and their patients. “PRN applicants must demonstrate they will be here for the long haul, rather than to just take the money and run.”
William Oliver, BS, RRT, CPFT, RT manager at Virtua Health in Marlton, NJ, agrees. PRN applicants at his hospital must have the RRT and they must also be willing to pick up the shifts no one else wants. “Flexibility,” says the manager, summing it up in one word. “We want two-weekend shifts, one Saturday and one Sunday, in a six-week schedule, and one winter and one summer holiday.”
Everyone who applies for a PRN position at Virtua must also demonstrate a good “cultural fit” with the department and pass a peer panel interview to ensure they’ll be able to work as a member of the existing department team.
The take home lesson for Jessica? Get your RRT first and then go out looking for a PRN position as someone who really wants to add value to the organization (not someone who just wants extra bucks to put toward that granite countertop in the kitchen)!