A tricky topic, one that intimidates many, is salary negotiations. The topic of nurses negotiating salary is often only heard about in the news when a situation between a nursing union and a hospital or healthcare system is already dire. It's important to recognize that the term salary is used to refer to how much a nurse makes in a year - but that it doesn't necessarily imply they are paid on a salary basis - rather, it's typically based on hours.
In reality, nurses looking to accept a new position can negotiate salary. However, it is important to point out that negotiating salary doesn't mean you'll always get what you want; there are some job types where it simply won't work and other nursing jobs where it isn't an option. That said, if the idea interests you, there's some really interesting data published in Nurse.com's Nurse Salary Research Report of 2022. So let's review the key insights from their report on salary negotiations, identify the types of nursing jobs where salary negotiation may apply and those that won't, and look at ways you can augment your annual income as a nurse.
Key Insights for Salary Negotiations in Nurse Salary Report
According to Nurse.com's report, the current climate in healthcare has nurses positioned positively for salary negotiations. Ultimately, the combined factors of the nursing shortage with hospitals and facilities looking to reduce their staff turnover while boosting retention create a situation in which opportunity for salary negotiation may bear fruit.
- 30% of nurses reported they "never negotiate salary."
- 18% of nurses reported they "always negotiate salary."
- RNs are less likely to negotiate salaries than APRNs.
- Nurses in the age range of 45-54 years were "most likely" to negotiate salary.
- Nurses in the age range of 18-24 were "least likely" to negotiate salary.
- 51% of nurses ages 18-24 said they "never negotiate salary."
- 42% of black or African American nurses said they "always" or "most of the time" negotiate salary.
- 28% of male LPNs/LVNs, 26% of male RNs, and 50% of male APRNs reported they "always negotiate" salary.
- 21% of female LPNs/LVNS, 15% of female RNs, and 29% of female APRNs reported they "always negotiate" salary.
What Jobs or Situations May Apply for a Nurse to Negotiate Salary?
Nurse.com indicates that when a nurse is offered, a new nursing position is an opportunity to negotiate salary. In their article, "15 Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer", Harvard Business Review freely admits that the process of negotiating job offers is complex because some administrators and managers "don't react well when people try to leverage outside offers." They also suggest that when negotiating, try not to focus solely on the income but look at the whole package. We need only look at the alarming data recently published by the NCSBN on nursing burnout to know that the problem of nursing burnout is more than just financially motivated. The whole package of the position is important to consider.
Also, understand that there are some job types where salary negotiation simply isn't possible. Types of nursing jobs that offer salary pay vary. If you do your homework on the potential employer, you may be able to discern if salary negotiation on a job offer will be possible.
Other jobs, such as per diem shifts, enable a nurse to earn a higher income at the end of the year, but the rates are typically non-negotiable.
Ideas to Augment Your Annual Income as a Nurse
The average RN salary for 2022 was $89,010 nationwide, and the truth about how much nurses can make varies widely based on multiple factors, including location, education, certification, and licensure. If negotiating salary doesn't fall within your comfort level or isn't a possibility for you, there are other ways to boost your annual income as a nurse.
In the Nurse Research Salary Report, "46% of all nurses surveyed said they plan to pursue training to boost their salary, and 36% said they plan to pursue a degree." It is well-known in the healthcare industry that as nurses pursue specialty certifications or advanced degrees, their salary ranges rise accordingly. For nurses who are committed to their careers, this type of avenue could be an opportunity to increase annual income.
Working per diem (PRN) shifts as an independent contractor nurse is another idea with quicker results. The gig economy, which was already expanding before the pandemic, was further catalyzed by lockdowns and social distancing, and it grew across the industry spectrum, including healthcare. CNAs, LPNs/LVNs, and RNs can pick up PRN shifts alongside their other commitments (both professional and personal) to earn more.
PRN Nursing Shifts through Nursa App
The healthcare staffing app, Nursa, serves this purpose precisely. It connects nurses looking to pick up shifts with hospitals and healthcare facilities in their geographical area who need shift coverage. Nursa is not a subscription service, and there are no quotas in place. This means that nurses can pick up as many or as few PRN shifts as they want. Hospitals and facilities post their PRN shifts, and CNAs, LPNs/LVNs, and RNs browse those shifts and apply for only the ones that fit their requirements. To learn more about how Nursa works, watch the demos on the Nursa website or check out the article "Per Diem Rates: How Much do Nurses and CNAs Earn?"