Is it worth taking a pay cut for experience?

  1. I'm 18 months into nursing now still in SNF still on nights, I've been interviewed a few times but couldn't get the job due to low census at time of hiring or statewide hiring freezes. I've always complained about not getting the experience I needed for grad school but now I'm not too sure.

    Now, I was given a lead by a family friend who I never knew is now an Assistant VP at a hospital. It's a strong recommendation and I even got a call from HR within an hour when I applied, for a position in a cardiac step down unit. I asked a few of my classmates about the place and they said it pays pretty bad $22 I would be expecting. Currently I earn $23 an hour and I work another part time job to help pay the bills. Should I even dare to ask about how much nurses are being paid in the first interview?

    If I feel like I'm at a netloss.

    I feel like I lose:
    A VERY secure 2nd job
    More financial stress related to student loans

    What I gain:
    The coveted "acute care experience"

    My mom keeps telling me to wait it out because right now the hospital she works at is suffering from low census, but is a lot more open for orientation periods and pays significantly more.

    Am I being greedy for taking an opportunity for granted?
  2. Visit Catch22Personified profile page

    About Catch22Personified

    Joined: Jan '11; Posts: 261; Likes: 364


  3. by   sapphire18
    It all depends on what you can afford. I'm assuming that you say you would lose the 2nd job (hence the pay cut, because $22 is only $1 less than $23..) because of having to work a different schedule than you currently are?Do you live with your parents? If not would it be possible to get a roommate? At the end of the day, if you can survive with the lower-paying job, do whichever will make you happier. Also keep in mind whatever your goals are for grad school and what the requirements would be.
  4. by   Catch22Personified
    I live with my parents but I have a younger sister going through college so money is tight and I have to help out. Taking the pay cut would be potentially damaging. The part time job adds $200-$500 a month depending how busy we are. I am still really holding out on the local hospitals starting to hire.

    I would lose my 2nd job going to this place because, the new place is 50 minutes away from my house vs 15 minutes my current job and the schedule.
  5. by   netglow
    That sounds tough Catch22. Hmmmm. Are you sure you are going to grad school, and have you already started? And what do you want to be? I guess that might have to have ultimate play in things. But, hearing how much things suck for so many nurses, if you are at an OK situation for work now (mentally) then that is tough to give up for the unknown after the hard work of getting to a place where it's working, I agree, especially if you are going to take classes too.

    I'd say just this. Let things develop as they will. Then, make your decision. Go to the interview, see how you feel when you meet people there, see what's up. Sometimes you just have to let it unfold and then, no matter how much you pre-thought things out, your decision will become clearer if you let things naturally help you make your decisions. If they just give you the job (which happened to someone I know) without an interview, then you are going to have to flip a coin - truly, keep a quarter with you.
  6. by   Catch22Personified
    I want to eventually be an NP, and no I have not yet started. I do not want to be a bedside nurse forever.

    Honestly right now I really want to leave 11-7, its not exactly good for my health. I am going to go to this interview but I'm not sure how to phrase the compensation question there without sounding like some entitled brat.
  7. by   MJB2010
    Hospitals have some pretty great differential, did you consider those in your pay?
  8. by   classicdame
    personally, I think you need ONE job while in grad school, as that alone can be a handful. Do not undermine your chances of success by not having time to study.
  9. by   netglow
    It might be easier if you think of it this way, and kind of limit the variables.

    "Probably" this connection is pulling strings, so you won't know who knows how you got the interview -- if they were forced to consider you, or you were just sent up by HR with no "trail". So, you need to be rather humble. You gotta remember that. You have to be sure you look like you are someone who is going to be a good hire and a team player to those you meet on the floor and all. "Probably" the NM will see you as she sees new grads regardless of your experience - you know there's that to remember. So that's why I say, just be nice and listen and be respectful and all that crap and see what happens.

    You won't bring up the money question, likely they will tell you what they offer you. Remember that this may be your only shot... not the best time to try to negotiate.
  10. by   Joe33
    My advice: ace the interview. Take the job. Quit your old job. Working at a SNF is not going to look that good on your resume and is not very good experience for an RN. Stay per diem at the SNF if you can. Opportunities like this are rare. You practically won the nursing lottery. I would take the hospital job in a heartbeat.
  11. by   Meriwhen
    IMO you have to weigh the loss in income versus the experience that you could gain, and decide for yourself if it's worth it. There's no right or wrong answer. You may find in the long run that the experience outweighs the lost income, or your current financial situation/plans dictate that you need to stick with the higher pay. You also need to factor in the fact that you are in graduate school, and your job(s) should not be so much on you that they take away from your academic performance. Again, that is only a question you can answer.

    I've taken pay cuts for the experience. Then again, I didn't have to worry about grad school and my finances were stable enough for me to do this. It was right for that particular moment in time. Right now, it would not be the right decision as various circumstances have changed.

    Best of luck whatever you decide!
  12. by   nurseprnRN
    In answer to your original question: Yes. I have, myself, and it has, indeed, paid off quite well in the long run.

    Future employers will rarely give a dang about your hourly wage and benefits from prior employment, but they sure as heck will look at your EXPERIENCE.
  13. by   NyteshiftLVN
    You're supposed to ask what the pay is when they offer you the position. Although it not much said anymore, but you are not automatically hired if they call you back they are supposed to first offer you the position and this is where you start to negotiate your pay. I know these things have been lost with the abundance of eager nurses (employees) and the low level of jobs across the board, not only in nursing but every other area as well. It is good to think about the what if's in the meantime as they will prepare you for the upcoming, but you don't have the job..... yet. Good luck.
    Last edit by NyteshiftLVN on Sep 27, '12 : Reason: Typo
  14. by   MrChicagoRN
    Why not go on the interview, see if you want the job, and if offered you can find out the salary & bennies. Make an informed decision