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Low Pay...for New Grad?

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HealthNutNP has 7 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Surgical Oncology.

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Hi all,

A friend of mine just graduated NP school in December and recently landed a new job at a large healthcare corporation in the southeast. She is salaried, working full-time, and excitedly told me her salary is ~$85k. I didn't want to burst her bubble, but isn't this a bit low? I know she is a new grad, but she had 5+ years experience in the ICU as a RN. I'm just curious now. Is this a typical starting salary or maybe it is the geographical norm?

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Uroboros has 16 years experience as a APRN and specializes in Advanced Practice Critical Care and Family Nursing.

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Unfortunately there is not a "typical salary". And really I'm not attempting to stir business semantics. Sure anyone can go to salary.com, Google anything, or curbside gossip approach. But it all boils down to bargaining power, everything is contractual, and everything is negotiable. I mean everything from your pay to parking spot should be considered and in writing. Any NP who wants to be treated like a professional, and most of all paid like one, has to present their case.

And too often we see the good hearts of nursing professionals or new grads taken advantage of in these cases. Transitioning from the thinking of bedside nursing into the APRN realm requires being in the business of yourself for a change, as opposed to the constant patient advocate. One of our academic failings is key in this area, since little time is spent teaching even minimal contractual standards in most NP program curriculum. Most take the harder route through experiential knowledge like your friend. 

Maybe instead of bursting you friend's bubble try asking questions. Such as how the figures were determined? Is that merely the base with RVU's? Bonus possibilities? May be more to the story. But in the end, if there's a bubble to burst, means they are happy with the pay, and that's all that matters really. But I can personally say, I haven't made a figure that low since back when red leather was in style. 

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HealthNutNP has 7 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Surgical Oncology.

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Uroboros - All very good points to consider. Thanks for your input. I don't intend to say anything to her because if she is happy, then I'm happy for her. And your red leather comment made me chuckle 🙂

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babyNP. has 12 years experience as a APRN and specializes in NICU.

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Keep in mind that while nursing experience may count for something, in many places it will not keep pace with salary. One my colleagues was a veteran NICU RN for 20 years but took a pay cut to become a NNP. This is why from a salary perspective it's best to do NP school earlier than later if you think you want to do it. Certainly life gets in the way and most people benefit from some nursing experience with their provider role, but just as an fyi from the numbers perspective.

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HealthNutNP has 7 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Surgical Oncology.

15 Posts; 457 Profile Views

BabyNP - good point! Thank you!

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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You say, your friend works in the "Southeast."    Pay in that part of the country is notoriously low -- for all types/levels of nurses.   There is no way for those of us from other regions who don't know exactly where you are talking about whether that is a reasonable salary or not.   

They only way you are going to know whether that salary is typical of new grad NP's in that region or not is to check the salaries of that particular local area.  (I am sure Atlanta and Tallahassee have different pay scales than rural Mississippi -- but all of them are in the "Southeast.")

Find a good website that offers salary comparisons for the particular city or county in question.   Don't settle for one that simply breaks it down state-by-state.  Again, Atlanta salaries will be different from rural Georgia.   Manhattan salaries are way higher than towns in the middle of New York, etc.

And if your friend is happy ... don't bring her down.   She has probably done a little homework on salaries in her specific area and made an informed decision about ALL of the characteristics of the job she has chosen.  

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KatieMI has 6 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

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1). This is Southwest. The region well known for lower salaries for all nurses (as well as physicians, teachers and many other occupations,  BTW. Heck, my hubby had a fat pay cut when he was in Sandia as compared with multiple other national lab programs!)

2). What else in the package? CME $$$, malpractice (a gig), good time off (BIG gig), etc? 

3). In the wast majority of cases, whatever the previous nursing time, a novice NP is treated as a novice NP and paid as such. You're out of your zone, you lose seniority, you start from square 1 all over again and work up from the bottom. Only one good thing is one year NP experience is usually treated as much more than one year in nursing. 

4). Nowadays with hire freezes and oversupply of new grads your friend is very, very lucky to have a job with a big employer and within a large system. Please just let her enjoy her new job and get experience; in a year or two she will know enough to choose another place of employment if she wishes. 

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HealthNutNP has 7 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Surgical Oncology.

15 Posts; 457 Profile Views

KatieMI - all very good points! Especially with the hiring freezes going on, it is a great thing she has a stable income. I'm happy if she is happy!

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FullGlass has 2 years experience as a BSN, MSN, NP and specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

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New grad pay varies a lot by location.  The Southeast is notorious for paying NPs poorly.  

California has the highest pay overall for NPs.  New grads here generally start at $110K or higher.

It is easy enough to Google NP pay by state, city, etc., to get an idea of what to expect in your region.  Faculty at your school should also be giving you some idea of the pay for new grad NPs where your school is located.

 

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YG FNP has 11 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN, APRN, NP.

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Recently graduating in December while living in the southeast, I would have been offered ~ $95K if I had stayed and worked as a new grad in Virginia.  That was the starting salary at the large healthcare organization I was with was offering, and it was renegotiable at the annual review when the NP was then possibly eligible for RVU bonuses.  That said, the same group still has several NPs who work for them and are making $85K after several years (there was a recent exodus of NPs who were unhappy with their pay).  If she is happy with her offer in these difficult times, be happy for her, things are wonky with hiring freezes and HR working from home.  

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

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On 5/18/2020 at 12:51 PM, Uroboros said:

But it all boils down to bargaining power, everything is contractual, and everything is negotiable.

You make an important point, but new grads have much less bargaining power than people who come with experience. This is especially true for new grads who are tied to a region with a particularly saturated market (for instance, in a city with a ton of NP programs), or if they're in a more highly-saturated specialty (like FNP).

A new grad neonatal NP (a notoriously high-need area) applying to work in a Podunk town with no nearby NNP programs at a desperately short-staffed neonatology practice will have a ton of bargaining power; a new grad FNP applying in a highly-desirable region with 5 local FNP programs won't. If you live in a place where there are dozens of applicants for every new grad NP position, there's no incentive for practices to budge on salary negotiations, since there are plenty of other applicants who will be willing to take the job at a lower salary just to gain experience.

It's always great to try to negotiate, but depending on the market, new grads might just have to take what they can get. Once they get a bit of experience under their belt, they'll have a much easier time negotiating.

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OUxPhys has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology.

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All very good points. It also depends on where you work. I knew RNs who got their FNP and got a job at those minute clinics starting off at six figures. 

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