how do i max my income as new grad - page 4

need help from experienced RNs on how i might maximize my salary and earning potential when i graduate as RN in May. Is it negotiable, do you have to take what they offer? What is the highest... Read More

  1. by   bill4745
    Pay is rarely negotiable in hospital staffing, even with experience. You need to find the best combination of pay vs. living expenses in a particular area.
    Be careful - I've seen more than one new grad fired because of working too much OT - the fatigue coupled with inexperience led to errors and poor care. Being fired from a first job after a short time is a real blemish on your record, and may have long-term effects on your career.
  2. by   focker-male nurse
    Thank you all for such good advice.
    May main question about negotiating starting pay seems to be answered. It seems the overwhelming consensus is that you get what you get.
    My plan is to pay of credit cards and loans as quickly as possible so that I can be financially secure. As far as going crazy whan the money comes in I plan on living modestly although the tricky part will be restraining my wife (she is an interior decorator) So she will want to fully furnish the house right away:spin: . Our cars are paid for and I only buy used cars, ive learned my lesson racking up negative equity in a car.
    Anyone listen to Dave Ramsey? Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Plan. he give great but radical financial advice.. I try to follow that plan.
    again thank you all
    matt
  3. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    I LOVE Dave Ramsey's advice! I plan to follow his plan as soon as I start getting a decent check.
  4. by   purplemania
    hard to negotiate when you do not have experiene. Consider critcal care and night shifts. Both often pay differentials, which can be hundreds of dollars in a year. As soon as your facility allows you to work in other depts you can sign up for extra shifts. Some facilities pay a bonus, plus the base pay, to people who work in hard to place shifts. Try to be frugal the first year or two. I have seen so many new grads jump into car/house payments that first year then have so much stress added to their lives. Remember, most facilities cannot guarantee you to work full time every week as census may go down. They start cutting shifts then. So go easy the first year to give yourself time to figure out the system.
  5. by   katienj
    I have never heard of negotiating a higher salary-especially for a new grad with no experience. Your education level can also make a difference in salary in some hospitals.
    If you want to make a larger salary, first you need some experience and than you can work for an agency, hospital pool or traveling agency. The salaries for most of those agencies pay the highest rate.
    During your first year, offer to work a lot of overtime, including nights, weekends and holidays to increase your salary. I live on the East Coast and there is no negotiating salaries here-just a lot of hard work!
  6. by   KellieNurse06
    I am having a time finding a job....I have resumes out..about 12 of them......psych hospitals have called me......one in particular offered me $13.00 per hour as a "grad nurse/mental health specialist"..and my pay would be $20.00 an hour after getting my RN licensure......I then thought about it & decided I am not taking it after interviewing about 3 weeks ago. It just didn't feel right to me so I went with my gut instinct.........Most new grads I hear in my area are starting at $22.80 an hour with the differentials added onto that for different shifts, weekends etc........so I opted not to accept that job after all......I just sent a letter to them to let them know because I was supposed to start in Feb.
    I want to know where is this big nursing shortage??????? Geez!!!!! I am having a heck of a time finding a job...and I want one yesterday for pete's sake!!!! I have fantastic letters of recommendation from 3 instructors too.......I don't get it....Anyone else have a similar problem after graduating???????:uhoh21:
    Last edit by KellieNurse06 on Jan 7, '07
  7. by   katienj
    Are you looking for a position in psych? If so, applying at a state institution usually pays much higher salaries. They also offer paid state holidays along with generous sick days and vacation days. I am not sure where you are looking to work. There is definitely a nursing shortage with the biggest nursing need in medical surgical and critical care nursing. But, you need experience before you can make more money.
  8. by   RunningWithScissors
    the tricky part will be restraining my wife (she is an interior decorator) So she will want to fully furnish the house right away:spin: .
    Remember, most facilities cannot guarantee you to work full time every week as census may go down. They start cutting shifts then.
    Yes, don't forget that when census is down, everyone has to take turns staying home; a small unit, such as an ICU, usually gets hit the hardest.

    As far as spending the money before it's earned, let me tell ya something:

    I have been a single wage earner for my family since almost the beginning (5 kids) and you will NEVER have as much as the neighbors!! They may have nice cars and all like you said, but if you truly want to be debt free, you will be eating hamburger helper LEFTOVERS for lunch for the rest of your career and will shop for that home decor at the salvation army.

    I think you overestimate the earning power of an RN!!!!!!
  9. by   focker-male nurse
    Quote from RunningWithScissors
    Yes, don't forget that when census is down, everyone has to take turns staying home; a small unit, such as an ICU, usually gets hit the hardest.

    As far as spending the money before it's earned, let me tell ya something:

    I have been a single wage earner for my family since almost the beginning (5 kids) and you will NEVER have as much as the neighbors!! They may have nice cars and all like you said, but if you truly want to be debt free, you will be eating hamburger helper LEFTOVERS for lunch for the rest of your career and will shop for that home decor at the salvation army.

    I think you overestimate the earning power of an RN!!!!!!


    I appreciate the advice. However I think you misunderstand my reason for posing this question. I think I understand the earning power of an RN well enough. You support 5 kids? I sure couldn't do that as a monitor tech.:spin:

    I just dont want to apply at a hospital and take whatever they offer. Everything in life is negotiable to some point. If hospital A wants a new grad they have to be willing to pony up more than hospital B. With the nursing shortage why should't I take advantage of competition in the marketplace. My question was intended to probe the reality of the new grad job market and find out how negotiable starting pay is if at all. Would you just walk up to a car dealer and pay sticker price? I hope not. If you squeeze .25 more cents an hour out of your employer then you are making $2 more a day for the rest of your career. You will be 2$ a day richer than every new grad. Every bit adds up especially when you tack on shift diff and overtime...ect. I know that as a new grad I need to become more experienced and that with that comes higher pay. But to imply that I need to just bend over and take whatever HR says is mandatory starting pay, what gives?

    Forgive me if my tone seems argumentative. I actually agree with you. But if you knew me you would know that I am definitely not a "keep-up-with -the-joneses" type. I drive a 2003 taurus my wife drives a 1999 jeep grand cherokee (which is in the shop right now)both of which are paid for. And we live in a singlewide trailer next to my parents while I am in nursing school and making $8.90/hour as a monitor tech. We've never had cable/satellite.
    I too know how to live frugally which brings me back to the reason why I want to scrap for every penny an employer is willing to shell out. I've spent far too much time in school and working dead-end jobs making barely enough to live on. I AM TIRED OF BEING POOR!
  10. by   youngEd
    Quote from NurseguyFL
    Hmmm. As a new grad with no nursing experience you probably won't be making 'top' bucks anywhere. New grads in certain areas (i.e. the San Francisco Bay Area) make a lot more than even experienced RNs who work in other parts of the country, but I've done the Bay Area and I know from personal experience that you end up spending a lot of that high salary on the outrageous cost of living there so it kinda sorta evens out with lower salaries and lower COL elsewhere (for the most part, anyway).

    Some hospitals pay extra for ICU/Critical Care, others don't. But the ones that do don't pay more than a buck or so extra an hour. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't know that too many such opportunities are available to new grads. You also have to be wary of hospitals that offer huge sign-on bonuses. Many times its because the place is so bad that they have a hard time retaining staff. And they usually attach strict conditions to these bonuses (i.e. you have to stay there for X number of years, and if you leave before you have to pay it back) and you are going to get the money in pieces over an extended time, not up front or all at once.

    Another thing you have to be careful of is working too much OT, especially if you don't have dependent kids or own a house. If OT and/or per diem side gigs push you into a different tax bracket make sure that the appropriate amount of taxes are being deducted, otherwise you may find a nasty surprise in your mailbox at the end of the tax year (courtesy of the IRS). I learned this one the hard way when I was a new grad.

    Tweety gave excellent advice about not getting into debt. Although by the time most young people graduate from college its already too late because they are already deep in the red with student loans and credit cards. My advice is to live inexpensively and save as much as you can during your first year as an RN. Money is important, but gaining experience is more important. Even a little experience can make a significant difference when you are negotiating salary for another position later on.

    im actually from san francisco and your absolutely right.

    but i did read that you can start out at about 60k in san francisco. in san jose you can make up to 70k starting out. but good luck finding an apartment under 1000$ a month. thats just basic rent.
  11. by   damarystx
    I am in Il. and the hospitals out here have empty shifts posted for people to pick from any area to avoid bringing in agency, some of those shifts pay up to $12 differential in my part of the world. Also, home visits through an agency, I am an LPN and making more doing home visits than some RN's in a hospital with all the differentials. The agency I work for pays per visit and the visit takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on how you use your time. The RN's in the agency make $20 per hr more than the LPN's. I am doing it for extra money while keeping my regular LPN pos.
    To answer your question about buying a house, whatever your annual salary is times 3 is usually what you can get approved for for a home loan, that is a rough estimate( not taking into account credit score, credit debt, down payment etc.)...but getting approved for that much and being able to afford that much are two different things. Hopefully cost of living and wages are kind of in sync in your area. If you try lendingtree or someplace like that you can get pre-approval and see what you have to work with. Good luck!
  12. by   youngEd
    Quote from KellieNurse06
    I am having a time finding a job....I have resumes out..about 12 of them......psych hospitals have called me......one in particular offered me $13.00 per hour as a "grad nurse/mental health specialist"..and my pay would be $20.00 an hour after getting my RN licensure......I then thought about it & decided I am not taking it after interviewing about 3 weeks ago. It just didn't feel right to me so I went with my gut instinct.........Most new grads I hear in my area are starting at $22.80 an hour with the differentials added onto that for different shifts, weekends etc........so I opted not to accept that job after all......I just sent a letter to them to let them know because I was supposed to start in Feb.
    I want to know where is this big nursing shortage??????? Geez!!!!! I am having a heck of a time finding a job...and I want one yesterday for pete's sake!!!! I have fantastic letters of recommendation from 3 instructors too.......I don't get it....Anyone else have a similar problem after graduating???????:uhoh21:
    depends on what area you live in, some places are in dire need of nurses, some arent.

    it also depends on your amount of experience. sounds like you have job offers but not enough experience, and you might be expecting too much based off of little to no experience.

    your not gonna become a millionaire overnight.
  13. by   focker-male nurse
    thx damarystx and youngEd.

    So as a new grad RN in Birmingham I am looking at about 45 to 50k a year that would be a 150,000 home right? That is doable in Alabama

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