Jan 26, '09
by llg, BSN, MSN, PhD
New grad salaries are rarely negotiable. A hospital would be foolish to pay some new grads more than others because it would cause a lot of hard feelings among those who were making less and ruin morale. Experienced nurses would leave if they found out the new grads were making more than they were, etc.
Usually, the only salary negotiations that are possible are in cases where:
1. You have some experience -- and you could negotiation how much that experience would count
2. The employer hired very few new grads and therefore had established no standard pay rate for them
3. Sometimes, you can negotiate your scheduled work hours and/or your start date
4. Sometimes, you can negotiate to take some time off for a needed vacation prior to your eligibility to take paid vacation, etc.
If you want to increase your income, sometimes you can volunteer to work the unpopular shifts, which would earn you more income in hourly differentials.
As for salary matching ... the employer probably already knows what the other hospitals in the area are paying. They don't need you to tell them. If they pay less, it is probably the results of a conscious decision.
Before you assume that you will earn less than you would if you worked at another facility with a higher base pay ... don't forget to calculate in the various differentials that you would get -- and the benefits offered by both employers. Sometimes, one hospital has a lower base pay, but pays higher differentials for night shifts, etc. that bring your overall income above that of another hospital with a higher base pay. Be sure you have all that figured out before you come to any conclusions.
Most important -- NEVER choose to work at a lousy hospital or in a negative work environment just because that hospital pays a little more. The extra money you earn will not be worth it. As a new grad, what is most important is that you get your career off to a good start by working in a positive work environment with a good orientation program. $.50 per hour is not worth risking your long-term career success and satisfaction.
Last edit by llg on Jan 26, '09