Offensive Raise Structure

Updated | Posted
by adventure_rn adventure_rn, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

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This one is a doozy. A nationally renowned hospital recently announced a market-based adjustment for nursing salaries. The problem is that there is a huge disparity in the size of the raises based on years of service--people with less experience are getting an enormous raise (close to 20%), whereas people with more experience are getting tiny raises (around 3%). A nurse with 5 years of experience making $31 per hour will be getting a $6 raise to make $37, whereas a nurse with 15 years of experience making $41 will get a $1.50 raise, to make $42.50. The nurses who had previously reached the max salary of $45 (after about 20 years of service) will get a $0.50 raise as a cost of living adjustment.

The hospital framed it as a great show of appreciation, but all it has done is to (understandably) piss people off even more than if there hadn't been raises at all. It seems like it would be so much more equitable to take whatever sum of money they'd be spending on the entire group of nurses and distribute it equally (I.e. everybody getting a $4.50 raise).

I have some theories about why it financially benefits the hospital to take this approach, but seriously, what a crappy move. Nurses with decades of experience are an enormous asset to the unit--they're often the ones in leadership roles, doing charge, acting as resources to newer nurses, and basically managing the unit during a crisis. If a bunch of them leave because they're offended, you end up with units that are staffed entirely by new nurses (very scary). Ultimately, it ends up harming the entire unit, including the newer nurses who are getting the higher raises. I am just in disbelief.

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,844 Posts

6 hours ago, adventure_rn said:

I am just in disbelief.

I hear you, adventure_rn. Even Wrongway Regional Medical Center didn't do that.

Several years ago, Wrongway adjusted nurses' income to be in synch with other area hospitals, and I got over a 20% raise totaling about an extra $1,000 a month.

I thought it was a mistake, told no one, and stuck the extra money in savings in case I had to pay it back. I learned at my yearly eval that, no, it was not a mistake and that raise really helped in feathering my nest for an unexpected early retirement.

Had things gone the other way, as in the above scenario, I may have been pounding the pavement.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,923 Posts

This is exactly why I left my employer of my entire career. I found out that even though I was 2 pay levels above a staff RN in my role, I was only being paid about $4 more than a brand new grad. I left, and went to a new employer with a nearly 25% raise, better benefits, and a better environment.

Sadly, it appears loyalty to an employer is no longer worth anything. So I chose to be loyal to myself.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,549 Posts

2 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

This is exactly why I left my employer of my entire career. I found out that even though I was 2 pay levels above a staff RN in my role, I was only being paid about $4 more than a brand new grad. I left, and went to a new employer with a nearly 25% raise, better benefits, and a better environment.

Sadly, it appears loyalty to an employer is no longer worth anything. So I chose to be loyal to myself.

How long had you been a nurse?

I only make about 4 bucks more than a new grad despite having seven years of experience. It really pisses me off and is one of the reasons I am leaving bedside completely. 

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,923 Posts

23 minutes ago, ThePrincessBride said:

How long had you been a nurse?

17 years with that same employer

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,402 Posts

I currently make $4 less than double my first nursing job rate. I'm not going to complain...

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,549 Posts

2 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

17 years with that same employer

Ouch.

That would have peeved me off too.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU. 1 Article; 1,530 Posts

It just seems so bizarre, especially compared to a union/contract system where raises are clear, equitable, and based on years of service.

To clarify, I'd actually fall into the newer-middle category that would receive one of the higher raises, and I still think it's a crap thing to do. Any raise is much appreciated (and well-deserved), but doing it in this way seems like they're telling a whole subset of nurses 'we don't value you.' Even for the experienced nurses who chose to stay, I'm sure that they're going to be pretty resentful toward the administration, and they sure won't have any incentive to go above and beyond for the unit. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I can't tell if they're doing this to try to force out the more expensive experienced nurses, or if they're just so out of touch that they didn't realize screwed up it was, but I think they really shot themselves in the foot.

AlwaysTiredNP

AlwaysTiredNP, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 10 years experience. 34 Posts

10 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

17 years with that same employer

time to go to a new employer! 

8 minutes ago, adventure_rn said:

I can't tell if they're doing this to try to force out the more expensive experienced nurses, or if they're just so out of touch

Likely both. Google your CEO's salary, your hospital has more than enough money to pay nurses what they are worth. They just probably don't value them. This is not a unique problem to your hospital, it is literally the root of the problem that the nursing profession is in and why we are losing so many qualified bedside nurses.

OUxPhys

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 7 years experience. 1,179 Posts

I worked for a well known hospital and they determined it was better financially to keep hiring new grads than to pay people who stayed longer. And people wonder why us millenials keep job hopping.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 31,319 Posts

Wow that is crappy.  When we get a market adjustment raise all the RNs get the same raise regardless of experience.  Usually it's not much, maybe $1 or $2 an hour.  

We got bought out by a great not-for-profit company about a year and a half ago that gave across the board raises.  Then after a few months of analyzing staff salaries and the market gave adjustments to experienced nurses in an effort to retain us in a tight market during covid.  I didn't get much but they raised me to their max and I won't get a raise until they adjust the max upward (but got a cash bonus instead).  Some experienced nurses with 10 or more years at the facility got significant raises.  

I'm at a point where I won't job hop for more money but I see younger nurses do it all the time.   Hospitals have to keep salaries up to keep the younger nurses from job hopping and to retain experienced nurses.  In some ways it's a good time salary wise for nurses where I'm at.    On the other hand it sucks being short staffed all the time.

 

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 645 Posts

Where are you located? All of those salaries seem low for inpatient!?