How to get a raise as a nurse

Stories - Carla Money BagIt’s a simple fact: nurses don’t get paid enough. This may make you feel like you need to ask for a raise, but there are some serious roadblocks to contend with.

Unfortunately, it may take getting a new job or moving somewhere that they pay nurses better wages. This isn’t always possible, but if you can do it, then it is a great way to get a better wage for all the work you do.

If you want to stay in your current job, you may have to fight an uphill battle to get a raise. It is still worth trying, but be prepared to present your case clearly.

Document your work history

Nurses like nothing better than evidence based proof. Using that knowledge, you need to find proof that you are a nurse that is vital to the success of your unit and the facility.

First, you’ll want to obtain documentation of your attendance. You can probably get this through human resources or your assistant director of nursing. You may even be able to ask your direct supervisor.

Also, find ways to prove that you work overtime when needed, that you help nurses when they are drowning, and that patients appreciate you. It would be great to get this in writing from a character witnesses, but that’s not always possible.

Still, have a list of people your manager can go talk to about you. Even if you can’t get someone to write down how they feel, it is still worth it to have references of people who know your work.

Make an appointment to speak with your manager

Don’t approach your manager without an appointment. If they are running in or out of the door, they won’t pay attention to your expertly constructed arguments.

Appointments set aside a time for you and your manager to talk. You can present your case while you have their full attention… a much better approach than merely catching them when you can.

Some managers don’t have appointments, and this can make asking for a raise difficult. The best way around this is to tell your manager that you need to talk to them when they have time.

Either you can pop into see if they are free, or they can come get you when they have a minute. It is vitally important to make sure when you ask for a raise that it occurs during a time set aside for a long and serious conversation.

Realize most raises are done by review

Many raises are set by a review process that is done every year. You get your review and, based on your performance, your raise is given.

Usually, it isn’t a raise that will make you turn backflips down the hall. The raise may only be a few percent.

If that is how your facility handles giving raises, then all of the convincing in the world may not help. They will refer you to policies and procedures, saying their hands are tied.

It can be frustrating. You can attempt to circumvent the system… Just know that it’s more difficult to get a raise under these circumstances than others.

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