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I Make Less Than a Brand New Nurse, Why?

Nurse Beth   (5,818 Views 21 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

355 Likes; 10 Followers; 82 Articles; 224,871 Visitors; 1,693 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a nurse of 15+ years, have my MSN (CNL), and for whatever reason, I make significantly less than most nurses in my area with same or fewer years of experience, same or less education, and I've had many certifications.

 

I have even asked friends who work where I am applying what they make, so I can negotiate a fair pay. Some have shown me pay stubs so I can get a glimpse of benefits so I know the full story. I can't understand why I can't seem to be able to negotiate pay and benefits like everyone else.

 

I have even had job offers withdrawn when I am firm with my job expectations. I have found out that I am making $6 less than the next lowest paid nurse in my company (she printed out her check stub online and left it laying on the desk accidentally). She's been a nurse for 2 years and has her ADN, and started after I did, the next lowest paid after her started 3 weeks before me and is a brand new nurse, ADN and makes $7 more an hour, as she was laughing about making more than the other ($6) nurse, and showed me her pay stub. I didn't say how much I made, I was too embarrassed...

 


Dear Making Less,

It's a little hard to follow, but it seems you started with this company recently as you started approximately the same time as the nurse who is brand new. Let's say that you were hired at $30.00 an hour.

You are saying that first the brand new nurse was hired at $37.00 an hour.

Next, you were hired at $30.00 an hour.

Then the third nurse was hired at $36.00 an hour.

You don't say if you all have the same job and responsibilities, or if you all have equally benefited positions. Is one of the other nurses working a different status, such as per diem or non-benefited?

All things being equal, this is odd. This is not salary compression, because you started the same time as the others. We don't know if the brand new nurse was offered more initially, or was offered less and negotiated. Negotiating as a new grad is not usual because new grads don't bring experience or added skills.

Don't compare salaries when you talk to your manager. Ask for a raise or market salary adjustment based on your skills, experience and prevailing market wage. Focus on what you bring to the organization. Good luck.

Best wishes,

 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

 

 

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Edited by tnbutterfly

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cyc0sys has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse.

2 Likes; 4,490 Visitors; 199 Posts

Let's not forget profitability and economic down turn some companies experience from time to time. Just because a company has a position to fill, doesn't always me the salary will be competitive.

It also seems as if she possesses more education than her counterparts. Education doesn't always equal compensation when it exceeds the requirement of the job. When I worked sub-acute rehab. A BSN paid the same as a ADN if you worked the floor.

Also, 15 years of experience working a different specialty, such as admin or educator, isn't even close to working direct patient care. Things are constantly changing in medicine. I've worked with seasoned nurses that spent 20 of it in case management. They didn't know how to setup an IV pump, let alone manage 3 drips on 3 pts.

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and works as a Dialysis.

186 Likes; 3 Followers; 2,036 Visitors; 1,164 Posts

economic downturn doesn't factor in, we all started within a few weeks of each other, me right in the middle. Although I've worked some management, most of my experience, and all of my most recent experience was at the bedside. The nurse that had 2 yrs experience was a school nurse, the other was a brand new nurse, had never worked in healthcare. I did find out that both are related to a manager in the company I currently work for. But that aside, this has been going on for the last 3 jobs. Still trying to figure out why I can't seem to negotiate competetively. Believe me, my hands on experience is very up to date, and I've had friends call prior managers posing as someone looking for a reference for me. I always get glowing references, and my previous managers have all offered to have me come back any time they see me, so I know that isn't it. Not sure what to think

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232 Likes; 3 Followers; 95,217 Visitors; 36,400 Posts

I think it is most likely a matter of low ball from the beginning and hope the new hire doesn't have enough chutzpah to negotiate upwards and demand more. I've also considered that when this happens to me that perhaps I am not "politically correct", but you know a person can't even whisper that possibility, a strong indication that there is probably some truth to the thought.

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brandy1017 works as a RN.

35 Likes; 36,967 Visitors; 2,226 Posts

economic downturn doesn't factor in, we all started within a few weeks of each other, me right in the middle. Although I've worked some management, most of my experience, and all of my most recent experience was at the bedside. The nurse that had 2 yrs experience was a school nurse, the other was a brand new nurse, had never worked in healthcare. I did find out that both are related to a manager in the company I currently work for. But that aside, this has been going on for the last 3 jobs. Still trying to figure out why I can't seem to negotiate competetively. Believe me, my hands on experience is very up to date, and I've had friends call prior managers posing as someone looking for a reference for me. I always get glowing references, and my previous managers have all offered to have me come back any time they see me, so I know that isn't it. Not sure what to think

So how does your pay compare to your prior pay at your last job? Is it the same or a raise and if so how much of a raise. How much do you think your prior pay has to do with your present pay? Did you try to negotiate for more at the time of hire?

Have you tried to negotiate for more since you found out your coworkers are making significantly more?

A lower salary history can follow you and negatively affect you throughout your career. MA signed a law forbidding employers asking salary history to try to stop discrimination and help workers combat low wages from affecting them for the rest of their lives. Since it is known that women and minorities many times are paid less than white men such a law would hopefully help put an end to such wage inequities.

Have you looked at glassdoor.com or indeed.com to see what the average salary range is for your job at your present company and the other companies you have interviewed for? Curious if your pay or your co-workers pay is more typical according to the job sites that would give you more info if their pay is due to family connections and if not hopefully give you more bargaining power.

While it is good to negotiate that doesn't always mean employers are willing to increase starting pay. I've heard from coworkers looking for other jobs that they are low balled offered pay cuts to only the same pay they already make so they have been staying at their present job while looking for a better one. It is frustrating. I don't know how much of it is sex discrimination vs just employers being cheap and greedy! It makes you wonder that's for sure!

If you have the option of going back to older employers have you tried to see if you could get a pay raise if you would go back to one of them? I wish you luck on getting paid what you are worth.

Edited by brandy1017

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and works as a Dialysis.

186 Likes; 3 Followers; 2,036 Visitors; 1,164 Posts

So how does your pay compare to your prior pay at your last job? Is it the same or a raise and if so how much of a raise. How much do you think your prior pay has to do with your present pay? Did you try to negotiate for more at the time of hire?

Have you tried to negotiate for more since you found out your coworkers are making significantly more?

A lower salary history can follow you and negatively affect you throughout your career. MA signed a law forbidding employers asking salary history to try to stop discrimination and help workers combat low wages from affecting them for the rest of their lives. Since it is known that women and minorities many times are paid less than white men such a law would hopefully help put an end to such wage inequities.

Have you looked at glassdoor.com or indeed.com to see what the average salary range is for your job at your present company and the other companies you have interviewed for? Curious if your pay or your co-workers pay is more typical according to the job sites that would give you more info if their pay is due to family connections and if not hopefully give you more bargaining power.

While it is good to negotiate that doesn't always mean employers are willing to increase starting pay. I've heard from coworkers looking for other jobs that they are low balled offered pay cuts to only the same pay they already make so they have been staying at their present job while looking for a better one. It is frustrating. I don't know how much of it is sex discrimination vs just employers being cheap and greedy! It makes you wonder that's for sure!

If you have the option of going back to older employers have you tried to see if you could get a pay raise if you would go back to one of them? I wish you luck on getting paid what you are worth.

I don't want to go back to any of them. Hospitals don't do much for me, LTCs I can't do physically, and HH and hospice I made more, but drove the wheels off of my car! I make the same at this job from last job, and when I asked for more was told sorry, not happening (new job-old job wouldn't give a raise to save their soul). The 2 ladies who started around the same time I did told me that they didn't negotiate (a new grad wouldn't be able to anyway, I wouldn't think), they took what they were offered. I work prn at old job and am making much less than other nurses there as well, most are

The only thing that keeps me working is that there just aren't that many jobs in my geographic area, I'd have to drive 1 to 1.5 hrs to get higher pay. But at my years of experience, not really sure that I could find a job either. Not many want to pay for 20yrs experience

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

355 Likes; 10 Followers; 82 Articles; 224,871 Visitors; 1,693 Posts

economic downturn doesn't factor in, we all started within a few weeks of each other, me right in the middle. Although I've worked some management, most of my experience, and all of my most recent experience was at the bedside. The nurse that had 2 yrs experience was a school nurse, the other was a brand new nurse, had never worked in healthcare. I did find out that both are related to a manager in the company I currently work for. But that aside, this has been going on for the last 3 jobs. Still trying to figure out why I can't seem to negotiate competetively. Believe me, my hands on experience is very up to date, and I've had friends call prior managers posing as someone looking for a reference for me. I always get glowing references, and my previous managers have all offered to have me come back any time they see me, so I know that isn't it. Not sure what to think

There is definitely age discrimination in nursing and you may be experiencing it.

From what you've said, you are being offered jobs at relatively low pay with a "take it or leave it" message, leaving no room for negotiation.

How about how you project yourself? Meaning do you feel you project confidence and a belief that you have highly marketable skills and experience to offer?

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138 Likes; 552 Visitors; 203 Posts

Is this a union facility, where the staff nurses are represented by the union and follow a salary step ladder, but the non-represented nurses (management-types) are not represented by a union, and therefore have a different salary range?

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

686 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,833 Visitors; 4,068 Posts

Were you all hired by the same person? I've seen that make a difference. One manager hired a few people at the highest possible starting rate and the other hired a few at the lowest.

And I'm not sure how to phrase this ...but is it possible that seeking work "beneath" you could make you seem unmotivated or incapable? A new nurse might be seen as someone likely to grow and worthy of investment. Could they possibly see you in the opposite light? ...on the way down because you have a higher degree and are seeking the type of job that a new graduate is qualified for?

I guess that could fall under the umbrella of age discrimination.

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13 Likes; 2 Followers; 46,144 Visitors; 8,863 Posts

Were you all hired by the same person? I've seen that make a difference. One manager hired a few people at the highest possible starting rate and the other hired a few at the lowest.

And I'm not sure how to phrase this ...but is it possible that seeking work "beneath" you could make you seem unmotivated or incapable? A new nurse might be seen as someone likely to grow and worthy of investment. Could they possibly see you in the opposite light? ...on the way down because you have a higher degree and are seeking the type of job that a new graduate is qualified for?

Excellent points and unfortunate although I tend to avoid the whole discrimination thing. It is business and their job is to get someone for the lowest rate and there are factors that go into who is more desirable regardless of actual legalities.

I also suspect right from the start OP presents as one who will take whatever they offer since it has happened previously. They mentioned multiple reasons why they won't try to find another job or insist on a rate matching their peers so in this case it sounds like both parties are getting their needs met.

It is unfortunate but if someone is willing to work for low rates the employers are happy to oblige. If they aren't willing to walk away from a job or refuse one with a terrible offer there's that. :(

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and works as a Dialysis.

186 Likes; 3 Followers; 2,036 Visitors; 1,164 Posts

Is this a union facility, where the staff nurses are represented by the union and follow a salary step ladder, but the non-represented nurses (management-types) are not represented by a union, and therefore have a different salary range?
as far as I know, IN has no nursing unions

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and works as a Dialysis.

186 Likes; 3 Followers; 2,036 Visitors; 1,164 Posts

Were you all hired by the same person? I've seen that make a difference. One manager hired a few people at the highest possible starting rate and the other hired a few at the lowest.

And I'm not sure how to phrase this ...but is it possible that seeking work "beneath" you could make you seem unmotivated or incapable? A new nurse might be seen as someone likely to grow and worthy of investment. Could they possibly see you in the opposite light? ...on the way down because you have a higher degree and are seeking the type of job that a new graduate is qualified for?

I guess that could fall under the umbrella of age discrimination.

All hired by the same person. The age discrimination doesn't play out because brand new nurse is 5 years older than me, 2 year is same age. But it may be the education/experience. I got the education because last job paid for it and promised big promotion, that of course didn't happen. My friends of same education, experience, age, etc are working same jobs as me for more money. I looking through the replies and thinking on it. As far as jobs beneath me, in other posts on AN, I work in a heavily saturated rural area. LTCs are requiring BSNs. I think I just need to be happy with what I've got

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