Unfortunately salary negotiations can be tricky. Most of us have an avoidance about talking about money and especially our own. Who knows where this comes from, but I think it is not something to be afraid of. In fact it is one of the most important things that should be discussed with a potential employer once all the formalities have been cleared up and a mutual interest is shown.
For general negotiations, I'd start by looking into competitive salary's that are offered in your area (so you know your worth). Some other friends of yours who are nurses are good sources for this information. You can make it less threatening by asking, not what they make, but rather by asking what they have found other nurses in the area to average (have them give you high's and low's). You can also look at a number of salary survey sites such as the one's found below (though they can be a bit biased):
(click "basic salary survey" for the free one)
Once you have a basic value of your worth. I would offer one additional word of advice. That is: Hesitation. Don't be afraid to pause for a moment when they make an offer. Hesitate, and create some dramatic tension rather than agreeing immediately to whatever they put in front of you. A critical hummm... that show's contemplation and thought is much better than a "Yea, I'll take it!" When you have used this pause, contemplation and time after to renegotiate then you can get to the insurance thing, but I would recommend putting it off till after the raw salary is talked about. The way I would approach the initial salary is to follow your "hummm" with a pause, see if they make the move to say something and if they do let them - if not state then something like: "Though that is a very fair offer my personal financial needs would really be stretched at that pay rate.... would it be possible to increase it by (add here whatever you see fit) say a dollar or two more per hour." Keep in mind every dollar added is $2080.00 more at the end of the year (without overtime). Once you have a base salary worked out go ahead and hit the insurance thing.
A good way to lead into that is to state "does that include benefit's like medical insurance?" You know the answer will be "yes" so think about where you want to go from there. You could go a number of directions of course, depending on the offer you worked out so far and the type of package they offer, including just letting this sleeping dog lie. If things have been going well though and you feel comfortable continuing negotiations then I would press on, but only if you think that you will gain and not create a situation where an offer is withdrew. Again, in order to do this right, you need to have some idea of the value to the employer for them not having to pay for insurance for you. A bit of research can uncover industry averages and they can range from $200-$500+ a month for a single employee (not including family). One approach is to "split the savings", in other words, don't be greedy and try to take it all, but tell them if they split the savings that they gain by not having to pay out medical with you "then they have a new employee!" Be careful during all this though, it could hurt as much as help and you don't want to start sounding greedy. You will never have a second chance to renegotiate starting pay though so do work for a fair value for yourself. Another option to consider is talking with the employer about the type of benefit package they offer. Many "cafeteria" style plans that are popular with employers these days allow you to choose what levels of different benefits you subscribe to. In this type of setting, you could conceivably shift all your "medical" benefits to a "long/short term disability insurance package" or a "life insurance policy" if the employer offers them. Some cafeteria packages even go so far as to reimburse you their cost of health insurance if you opt out of taking it through the firm. As a rule though I would have something in mind that you want to get to before starting negotiations (or else whatever they offer will sound good and be accepted) and then lead into it all casually and see how the conversation unfolds. Do not be afraid to bring salary up though, nor to hesitate and ask for what you consider your fair value, for as I said you won't get a second chance to ask, and if you do it diplomatically you should meet with success.