If you're a new nursing grad with a job offer, you may be wondering if it’s Ok to ask for more money.
Will they think you’re nervy if you do? Or naive if you don’t?
Asking for more money as a new grad
From the hospital’s point of view, they are going to invest a large sum in you to bring you up to speed.
They tend to pay all new nurses the same. But it’s always possible there will be some exceptions.
Bedside nursing pay is highly structured
Unlike some professions, entry level pay in nursing is highly structured and not as negotiable as you might wish.
Bedside nursing pay grids are fixed and based on years of experience.
New grad nurses are all offered the same amount down to the penny.
Deciding to ask for more money as a new grad
Now that you understand the context, you're better prepared to decide if it is best for you to ask for more money.
It’s true that you will never know if there’s wiggle room in pay or benefits until you ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I did hear of one young man who asked, and they immediately upped his hourly wage by 50 cents and added to his relocation expenses.
This was self-reported on social media, so it’s not verified, and it really surprised me. It could be that they really, really wanted this candidate. Rules can be broken.
What you want to know is- does it hurt your chances to ask? Probably not, if you do it respectfully, and only after the job offer has been extended.
It’s highly unlikely that a nursing manager would withdraw a job offer simply as a result of you asking.
Prepare your case for asking for more money as a new nursing grad
- Make a strong case for why it makes sense for them to give you one
- Offer something that sets you apart in value from the other 22 RNs in your cohort
- Generally first career degrees are not a basis for more pay
- If you are relocating, the relocation allowance may definitely be negotiable.
How to ask for more money
- Your attitude must be humble and not convey any sense of entitlement.
- Employ thoughtful, strategic questions.
- I have my BSN — is this something that’s worthwhile to you and, if so, are you open to negotiating a higher starting salary?
- Ask once. Just once. If they respond with, ‘We don't negotiate,’ then nod agreeably.
It’s not just about the money
Compensation packages are about so much more than hourly salary.
Make a spreadsheet and compare wages, tuition reimbursement, vacation time, benefit costs and coverage between two or more employers.
Consider non-quantifiables that you are looking for, like length of orientation, reputation of the hospital, and room for advancement.
In a very short time, you will be more marketable and you will have much more leverage when you seek your next job. At that time, negotiating skills will really pay off!