PRN Experienced Nurse Paid Same as New Grad

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am so discouraged. . . I have a 2nd PRN job I truly love - and the company has moved to a new policy for the PRN staff - - salary is entirely dependent on how many shifts you will commit to per month - there is no acknowledgment of experience, skill, performance, etc. - Which translates into my being offered the same salary - BSN w/25+ years experience vs, new grad as we both will commit to 4 shifts per month . . . And I can get past that for a minute, but then am asked to do an annual goal setting session - KNOWING I will never get a raise, as the only threshold is # of shifts you commit to . . .Kind of feel like a . .well y'know. . . because the facility/job/shifts are a great fit . . and yet - My ENTIRE career I have been accustomed to merit increases and acknowledgment of performance . . .and dedicate myself to a job. . . nothing has ever felt so robotic before. . .


    Dear Discouraged,

    I'm very sorry.

    Treating experienced, loyal nurses and new nurses the same shows they do not value or understand what experienced, dedicated nurses bring to the table. They are looking at the number of bodies required to staff the facility, and not quality of care.

    Ironically they are presenting this as a motivation, but it is de-motivating to any nurse with experience.

    Maybe they were pressured to meet a recruiting goal, and someone in the group came up with what they thought was a great idea. No one recognized the one-size-fits-all fallacy. Perhaps groupthink prevailed and they lost sight of everything except how their new plan would increase numbers. It wouldn't be the first time decisions affecting patient care were made by non-nurses and without stakeholder input.

    At your annual goal setting and meeting with your manager you can communicate your concerns. You can't take this personally because it isn't personal. It's a business model, and it may even meet their goals. Temporarily- and then the pendulum will swing again.

    I hope you do what's best for you to get past this. Either find a way to come to some kind of acceptance with the situation or move on.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

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    2 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I guarantee you the person who formulated this plan is NOT a nurse. Ugh
  4. by   llg
    That general principle -- per diem pay based on level of commitment vs years of experience may not be as uncommon as you might think. I've worked for a hospital that used that principle and it was well-accepted. RN's who made a minimal commitment to work were paid at a rate that was equivalent to approximately the same salary as a nurse with 2 or 3 years of experience. RN's who made a moderate commitment to work were paid at a level equal to the pay of a nurse with a few year's more experience. And nurses who committed to essentially a full-time schedule, but working under per diem rules (no benefits) were paid a salary equal to a nurse with approximately 10 years of experience.

    Most of our per diem staff got pay increases when they went per diem. They got more schedule flexibility and higher pay in exchange for giving up their benefits (health insurance, etc.). It was only the RNs with a lot of experience who had to take salary cuts -- and they felt the increased scheduling flexibility and lower holiday commitment was worth it. People who didn't feel the scheduling advantages was worth it could work a part time, budgetted position.

    It was a popular system. Most people liked it as most nurses benefitted from it. The very experienced few who lost pay, gained better schedules. If they wanted to give up the better schedules and get their higher pay back, they could switch from PRN to a part-time, budgeted position.

    Don't be so quick to assume the worst. Look at both the advantages and disadvantages of the different options and choose what type of position would be best for you.

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