How do I ask for increase in salary?

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I was hired by Hospital #2 into an ICU/IMU residency program for experienced registered nurses. I had to resign shortly afterward due to personal reasons. Hospital #2 told me I could return whenever I was ready. However, I ended up going back to Hospital #1.

Now I'm ready to go back to Hospital #2. My problem is Hospital #1 gave me a decent raise and multiple bonuses that gave me a significant pay increase. Although the hourly rate at Hospital #2 is still a few dollars higher than what I make at Hospital #1, it's not as significant as when I was first hired.

I've been at Hospital #1 for many years and I'm extremely content with my seniority, flexible scheduling, and free parking. Unfortunately, my career advancement opportunities are very limited at Hospital #1. I have three questions.

How do I ask Hospital #2 for more money? Second, is it worth it to go back to Hospital #2 without getting more money? Should I stay at Hospital #1 and apply to a third hospital?

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Three Questions,

How do I ask for more money?

Since Hospital 2 is already offering you a "few dollars more per hour"  than Hospital 1, you can't use your pay stub as leverage. your total compensation (parking, insurance, education say, paid time off, etc.) at Hospital 1 less than your total compensation at Hospital 2, and is that why you want to ask for more money? 

You can always ask, but if Hospital 2 is paying fair or fixed wages and if you are being hired into an ICU residency as an inexperienced ICU nurse, you may not have much basis for negotiation.

You could always ask for increased vacation time commensurate with your current annual vacation time, and inquire about tuition reimbursement. 

Is it worth it to go back to Hospital 2 without getting more money?

Yes, for the advanced speciality training and career advancement. It's hard to leave a place of comfort, and more so the longer you stay. It's in challenging yourself and leaving your comfort zone that you grow. You are too young to stagnate.

Later in your career you may even take a temporary pay cut to advance your career. Many of us have done that, such as going from Staff RN to manager or other non-clinical role. You have to look at the big picture.

Should I apply to a third hospital?

Maybe. It doesn't hurt to apply. First determine what is important to you and what you are seeking. It's easy to focus on hourly pay, but opportunity, culture, hospital reputation, patient population are all very important.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth