Negotiating salaries/benefits as a New Grad.

  1. Hey guys,

    O.k. I'm super frustrated. I'm currently negotiating salaries, benefits, etc. with two hospitals. Whatever happened to sign-on bonuses, relocation and negotiating salaries? I'm just not hearing it now like I did before I entered school.

    Were your salaries for a new grad etched in stone or did you negotiate for an increased amount? Are your yearly increases based on performance or some specific scale?

    Do you think Human resources is negotiating on behalf of the nurse manager? If I'm not hearing what I want from HR, should I call the nurse manager and tell her that I'm interested in the position, but HR isn't negotiating salary? Perhaps it may be up to the budget set forth for that department. Do HR and management decide together what they will pay or is it soley up to personnel?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    This one nurse recruiter, was too busy trying to dissect what my other offer was and how much her offer was better..which it wasn't. Their base, evening and night differentials were all off at least $3.00.

    She wanted to know if I would opt out of health way!

    I just know that I am a quality candidate and I work very hard and am very pleasant to work with. I would hate to start low and feel frustrated at work, due to low pay.

    Please advise. Sorry my thought are jumbled. I'm desperate to work, but I want what I think I'm worth.
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    About FizzgigRN

    Joined: Dec '03; Posts: 28; Likes: 1


  3. by   luilui_604

    to my knowledge, i haven't heard of new grads being able to negotiate their wages....unless u have years of work experience, i think hospitals will negotiate veteran nurses' salaries because of their expertise in comparison to new thoughts only....i'm a new grad too, and what i've been doing is to scout different hospitals and compare their wages and benefit packages...are u looking to relocate to a different state to work? if so, that's the best bet to receive any sign on bonus/ relocation benefits.....some hospitals use sign on bonus and relocation benefits interchangeably....

    the nurse salary range at the hospital that i accepted my job offer is based on an annual scale.......for each year you work, the wage increases by small increments

    sorry i can't give you any concrete answers that you're looking for, but i hope some of this information will are a quality nurse, so you should demand what you're worth (only if it is feasible)!

  4. by   sunfirebsn
    Hi, I don't know how much my words will help you since I am a new grad (GN) as well, (I'm not sure if you mean GN rates or new grad RN rates, but anywho ) I will share with you what I have come across so far. I have talked to several hospitals in the Pittsburgh area and they were all concrete on their hourly pay rate for GN's, of course I have heard their pay rate for RN's is dependent on experience. One particular hospital had an evaluation in 6 months & a pay raise, then again in another 6 months, then yearly after that. The sign on bonus was not tremendous, but the benefits sounded good. I did not hear anyone in my graduating class talk about negotiating with hospitals, I think most of them took what was offered straight up. The hospital I believe I will end up at (for experience then hopefully to a specialty area quickly :uhoh21: ), has a higher pay rate for GN's, good benefits, and no sign on bonus. Another thing I have learned is HR depts. seemed to be staffed by answering machines and the occasional person. he he Well, I hope this jargon makes sense and helps you out!!
  5. by   llg
    I've never know hospitals to negotiate salaries for new grads. As the previous posters have said, most hospitals will negotiate a little with an experienced nurse and may offer him/her a little more (or less) depending on the exact nature of that experience.

    New grads, however, all start out with the same amount of nursing experience and are therefore offered the same salary. It would be foolish for the hospital to increase that salary for some people and not others as it would be HORRIBLE for the morale of existing staff. How would you feel if you had worked there for 6 months or 1 year and found out that some new grad had just been offered more money than you make with your 1 year of experience? If you are like most people, you would be very angry. That's why hospitals tend not to negotiate salaries very much.

    So ... unless you have some special experience in your background that makes you different from most new grads, you will probably not have much success in trying to negotiate a higher salary than the other new grads.

    And as far as sign-on bonuses, etc. go .... many of the best institutions either never offered them or have stopped offering them because they found that they do not help in the long run. By paying your new people bonuses that end up giving them more than your experienced staff, you alienate the experienced staff and create a morale and turnover problem. In the long run, both the hospital and the nursing staff as a whole lose.

    Last edit by llg on Jan 25, '05
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I agree with LLG - at least in my area (Illinois) there is no negotiation for new grad pay rates. However, by comparing hospitals, you can make the best deal for your situation.
  7. by   FizzgigRN
    I understand where you're coming from in regards to experience, but if another hospital is offering more, there is a ground for negotiation.

    I also wouldn't be "angry". I would accept the responsibility that I wasn't able to negotiate as well as I should have at the beginning.

    The two hospitals are currently coming back with more options..I'm happy to say.

  8. by   llg
    Quote from FizzgigRN
    I understand where you're coming from in regards to experience, but if another hospital is offering more, there is a ground for negotiation.
    I also wouldn't be "angry". I would accept the responsibility that I wasn't able to negotiate as well as I should have at the beginning.
    The two hospitals are currently coming back with more options..I'm happy to say.
    I'm happy to read that they are coming back with other options for you. Let us know how it all turns out.

    As for not being angry if you were a were a nurse working at that hospital for a few years who learned that your employer was offering new grads a higher salary than you ... Please understand that you are in the minority. Most nurses get angry when that happens. If you read other threads, you will see that here at To avoid that anger and the morale problems and turnover that accompany that anger, fewer hospitals are offering incentive bonuses to new grads and fewer leave much room for salary negotiation with new grads, either. Most are striving for consistency and fairness over the encouragement of "hard-ball" negotiating tactics.

    Good luck,
  9. by   *PICURN*
    Our union "negotiates" salaries for RN's every year...then based on how long you have worked there, your pay goes up based on that scale. You start off as a CNI then after 6 months of probation you go to a CNII and then I believe CNIII starts after 5 years experience? I'm not sure. But the CNII has levels based on how long you have been there (1 year, 1.5 years, 2 years etc) I think it goes up every year.

    The sign on careful. There is fine print. You usually have to work for that hospital for 1-2 years, and work specific hours/holidays, and you usually get it in increments. Remember that sign on bonuses are taxed heavily like the Lotto. A $10k sign on bonus ends up being $5k real fast. You also want to wonder why they have a sign on bonus to begin with. I'm a December 2004 new grad and every hospital that I have looked into that offers a 5,000 or 10,000 sign on bonus is NOT a hospital I would want to work for. (We did our clinicals at those few hospitals). There usually is a reason why they NEED to offer new grads a bonus (like...nobody wants to work there!). The hospital I chose has a recruitment bonus, if you get new grads or experienced RN's to sign on and they work there for at least a year, you get $2000. I asked why there wasn't a sign on bonus, and they told me it was because they don't need to offer one, too many RN's want to work here! Definately no problem w/short staffing, etc.

    Be sure to shop around though. Look not only at the $/hr but also the benefit package, and talk to some nurses that work in the unit you are applying to. It would be great to get good pay, good benefits, etc....but if the unit is full of grumpy unhappy nurses, its not worth it.

    Good luck!
  10. by   Altra
    I'm not doubting what you're saying, llg and TraumaRUs, but what you're describing is a very different scenario than new college grads in other fields, at least those who work in the private sector. I find it suprising.

    In my area, many hospitals quote a "new grad rate" but as I know from recent grads, if this ends up being your actual pay rate, you've probably run into a particularly cost-conscious hiring manager, or you have failed to successfully negotiate. Also, when I took my current position as a tech, I was hired at the minimum pay rate for that position specifically because I had no previous health care experience (outside of school clinicals). That was explained to me, and I accepted that. But going forward ... as I see it, I now have clinical experience in a paid position, so I will expect to use that as a negotiating tool as I apply for RN positions.
  11. by   meownsmile
    What i found was ,, if you dont currently work for the facility you are trying to get the RN position in their general GN rates will apply and there isnt much room for negotiation. If you are hiring in as a RN at a hospital where you currently work you have a little more leverage and if they know your work they are more willing to raise the entry salary a bit. And i say a bit. Dont feel you are going to enter much more than possibly a dollar an hour more than your GN counterparts that havent ever worked for the facility before, because you probly wont.
    There is a little wiggle room, but they dont let you wiggle to much.
    OH and as far as benefits, you will get the standard offered just like everyone else.
    Last edit by meownsmile on Jan 25, '05