To take the sign on bonus or not...


I'm curious to see if other nurses would take a sign on bonus or relocation expenses (if applicable) knowing that there is a commitment for X amount of time to stay at the job. Sign on bonuses tend to make me wonder if the facility is unable to attract or keep quality staff. Another concern is if the bonus is taken and then the experience working there is horrible and now you're essentially stuck because you've accepted the bonus/relocation expenses. What are your thoughts on this topic?

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

In a surplus job market, do not accept sign on bonuses and do not sign employment contracts, both are indicators that the employer cannot retain nurses, probably due to unsafe staffing ratios and hostile work environments.


126 Posts

That's what I'm afraid of. When you're getting offered $5-10k signing bonuses, it makes me wonder why

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

Your instincts are right, if you do a search on AN you will see numerous threads asking how to break a contract, it seems many nurses have regretted their decision to accept a sign on bonus and/or employment contract.


3,726 Posts

I always wonder about these things, can't you just bank the bonus and not use it until you finish the contract? What are the consequences of resigning and simply giving the money back?

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

@libby, banking the bonus would be the wise thing to do, but I think only nurses who do not have debt would follow this plan. My guess is that it's the nurses with debt who are more attracted to job offers with sign on bonuses.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,476 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

You are right to be Leary. Also, you have to pay taxes on it.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I recently accepted a smallish ($2,500) sign-on bonus in exchange for accepting a non-bedside position. The amount is small enough to not raise any red flags, and it will not be a hardship to repay if I separate from the company.

So far the job has been tolerable.


137 Posts

Has 3+ years experience.

My facility has been luring new grads with these bonuses. They are regretting their situation immediately.


42 Posts

Specializes in currently, hospice. Has 12 years experience.

I agree that the sign on bonus can be a red flag. I have taken two positions with sign on bonuses, and both were paid out at intervals, such as 25% after 6 months continuous employment, another 25% after a year, and the remaining 50% at the end of the second year. If I had quit prior to an installment, I would not have received it. I would not have had to repay anything. But in a similar vein, there are employment obligations if I accept tuition reimbursement, which would have to be paid back if I leave before that obligation is fulfilled. I've elected to pay my own way. What I'm saying is it depends on the company and the contract. My experience has been they there is no repayment obligation on the sign on but pressure to stay on in different payouts.


126 Posts

Thanks for all the great feedback!


897 Posts

Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience.

Perhaps I'm the minority, but as a new grad in Oklahoma, I accepted a $7k sign on bonus for an ICU job. I love my job, management, and the people I work with. I got a great orientation and am independently functioning despite only having been a nurse for about 8 months. Your results may vary.