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Things to Consider When Accepting Per Diem Employment

Posted February 7, 2019

By Peter Walukiewicz, MS, LAT, ATC

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are unique healthcare professionals whose ability to provide skilled services in a variety of employment settings continue to grow in today’s market. One of those employment opportunities has become known as “per diem.” Per diem is an area of employment that is on an “as needed” basis. This type of employment can be found anywhere from, but not limited to, a business that is beginning to create an AT position to community outreach services provided by a hospital system or a sports and recreational organization.

Due to the wide range of per diem opportunities, the responsibilities of the per diem AT may differ based on the opportunity. The following information is intended to provide some helpful tips on things to consider when accepting per diem employment. The following are questions to ask when considering per diem employment.

1. What are the responsibilities of the AT position and does the position have a written description of duties?

As previously mentioned, due to the wide variety of employment settings, the responsibilities of the AT can vary greatly. For example, employment as an AT providing skilled services during a youth soccer tournament will greatly differ from a per diem opportunity within an industrial company interested in developing an AT position for their employees. Employment as an AT in the industrial setting will most likely need to follow (Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) policies and standards of care. While employment as a per diem AT during a youth soccer tournament will follow the supervising physician’s standing orders and state athletic training rules and regulations.

It is important that the potential employee or per diem AT and the employer clearly communicate about the position responsibilities prior to employment. This would allow quality and skilled athletic training services to be provided with no confusion, while following any and all national, state and local rules and regulations related to the position. Prior to providing services, ATs are responsible for collaborating with a directing physician and purchasing appropriate professional liability insurance; supervision agreements and per diem insurance are often separate from for full-time employment policies.

2. What are the policies and minimum standards of care?

It is important to ask whether the employer has emergency action plans, work place safety policies and weather safety protocols (lightning safety, cold weather, etc.). If no minimum standard of care related to the health and safety of the employment setting is present, one should be discussed prior to accepting the per diem opportunity.

3. What is the employment status of the per diem opportunity?

As a per diem AT, it is important to understand your employment status. For example, were you hired as an independent contractor? This is common practice and can change the responsibilities of the opportunity. As an independent contractor, there is a large amount of difference than the employee-employer relationship. Before accepting an opportunity as an independent contractor, it would be beneficial to research the tax responsibilities of the role, as well as other liabilities and legalities that may affect the position. As an independent contractor it would also be prudent to have both verbal discussions and written documentation on the specific services the per diem AT will provide, payment arrangements, supplies/equipment needed for the event and who is responsible for providing them, and specifics related to the position.

In conclusion, it is extremely important to consider multiple areas of responsibilities and requirements when accepting per diem employment opportunities as an AT. A few of those areas have been discussed above, but there can be additional aspects to consider depending on the type of position being pursued.Communicating well with the potential employer will also benefit both parties. This would allow a better understanding of the employment relationship and services being provided during the employment term.

If you’re looking for per diem employment, NATA offers a platform connects employers with thousands of Athletic Trainers looking per-diem work. Learn more at https://www.go4ellis.com/.

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