help this RN negotiate job change

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camillus
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help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:32 pm

jump to update --> viewtopic.php?f=2&t=262882&p=4203969#p4203969

Hi all, I am very grateful for this board because of the wisdom and professional insight that is freely given. I come to you asking for help with a few goals of mine:
1) That I behave respectably and professionally to all those involved, maintaining my reputation,
2) that I maximize my compensation, and
3) that I avoid unforeseen trouble.

Situation: I am a Registered Nurse currently employed by the largest hospital system in my region. I am very happy with my position, except for pay. My hospital system tends to be cheap with employees. Two months ago I approached my manager about this, and she said that her hands are tied basically due to the large hospital system and our large 300 RN unit. For what it's worth, I have been rated a "high performer" for 3 years and gotten merit based raises of 4-6% (includes COL). I was hired 4 years ago at the bottom of the pay scale. (The bottom of the pay scale has since been revised upward twice due to "not being competitive." So I am getting small raises but am being chased by the bottom of the payscale being revised upwards.)

I work 12-hour shifts on weekend nights.

I had put feelers out to other other hospital systems via former coworkers. And I was invited to apply to a very rare "weekend alternative" position at a similar unit with a nearby hospital. I was contacted by the manager, who said that I had an "wonderful reputation." I was the first RN to be recognize on my current hospital system's social media platform, for example. This nearby hospital is also known to provide good care and take (better) care of its nurses. This weekend alternative position would make for a 25% boost to my base rate of pay. This nearby hospital system is also faith based. My previous career was as a hospital chaplain.

So far, I have had a phone interview with an HR nurse recruiter. The tone seemed to be that I was qualified and the nurse manager wants me to have an interview on-site with her as soon as possible. During this phone interview, the HR rep briefly discussed compensation with me. I mentioned that I looked at different healthcare premiums, and because of the higher premiums at the new place, I was looking for a base rate of higher than $xx (equivalent to my current base rate plus the difference in health insurance premiums).

The HR rep quoted a base rate $1 higher than my $xx. I am slightly worried that this $xx +1 isn't as high as I would like. In terms of base rate, this a "mere" 5% increase. (One of the complicating factors here is figuring how to negotiate due to the weekend alternative perk being such a large part of the new package.)

I passed this HR phone interview & we set a date for me to meet this nurse manager on the unit. This will be the most important part of the interview process. I expect that to go well and then receive a formal offer.

At that point, I believe I could/should do a few things:
1) Simply accept the offer as it is 25-27% higher than my current compensation due to the rare "weekend alternative" perk.
2) Ask for a raise from my current employer. This raise is not likely to come close to what I would receive from the new hospital.
3) Make a counter-offer with the new hospital, asking for a slightly higher base rate based a few concrete things.

At this point I'd like to ask for feedback & advice. I have to reiterate that I am happy in my current position, except for pay. There is a lot of garbage advice online and I don't otherwise have a lot of people to speak with about this. I'm so glad to be a part of this forum.

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by camillus on Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MindBogler
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by MindBogler » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:36 pm

This is all just in my opinion, so take it for what its worth. When you discuss compensation prior to an offer, that is non-binding. I've discussed nebulous ranges and even exact numbers in these early conversations. The early recruiter or screen is trying to get a feel for the ballpark. They might offer you more outright or you can negotiate more. Verbal offers are just that. Once an offer has been made in writing that is when you can negotiate.

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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:43 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:36 pm
This is all just in my opinion, so take it for what its worth. When you discuss compensation prior to an offer, that is non-binding. I've discussed nebulous ranges and even exact numbers in these early conversations. The early recruiter or screen is trying to get a feel for the ballpark. They might offer you more outright or you can negotiate more. Verbal offers are just that. Once an offer has been made in writing that is when you can negotiate.
Thanks for this. I don't have a lot of experience negotiating and was worried that I was locking myself into a maximum rate with the nurse recruiter.

kenoryan
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by kenoryan » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:12 pm

This weekend "perk" actually means having to work during the weekend? Is it time and a half or double time?

If your salary is in the ballpark for a nurse with your experience, you're kinda stuck at that pay scale. I would suggest you get your BSN if you haven't already got it, and then a MSN which you should be able to get online. That piece of paper is what will give you the biggest raise. I see young nurses with a Masters getting a ridiculous starting salary with zero experience and minimal knowledge. And don't get me started on the inexperienced freshly minted NPs that are flooding the market. In my area, many hospitals are requiring all new nurses to have a BSN.

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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:21 pm

Weekend nights, 25%

I have a BSN. Not sure if I'm interested in going for MSN, just the choice between these two positions. I already work weekend nights, my schedule would not change. I actually am part time (0.6 FTE) and work Friday and Saturday nights and watch my kids during the week while spouse works full time.

Ah, I am taking some things for granted. There is also an additional shift differential that I am paid in both positions that day shift nurses do not get.

radiowave
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by radiowave » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:48 pm

Cammilus, I can emphasize with your situation. Back in the late 80's when I was practicing, it was common to have new grads start at a higher salary than a nurse with a couple years experience. The only way to bump up salary was to move to another hospital.

Speaking from a leadership perspective, it is likely the nurse manager will make the formal salary offer not recruitment. I had hiring authority for a few years in a prior position and some flexibility in making offers, I was quite surprised that most candidates never made a counter offer. So you may have a little leeway in asking for a higher base salary. Do you know what the typical or average salary is in that unit adjusted for experience? If so, that gives you a better idea where base salaries lie and gives you an advantage in negotiating the best salary. Be confident and professional. It sounds like you are a good fit and have lots of support so that is a factor along with your experience for a better hourly rate.

Good luck! Let us know how things work out.
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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:50 pm

radiowave wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:48 pm
Good luck! Let us know how things work out.
I thank you kindly for your reply!

ThankYouJack
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by ThankYouJack » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:12 pm

I would vote for #3. Pretty much every time I receive a job offer, I simply say "Is that negotiable?". They typically say let me check with HR and then come back a day or two later with a much stronger offer.

I would be as upfront with them as possible explaining the exact salary and benefits you desire. Shoot for the moon!

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:14 pm

camillus wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:32 pm
And I was invited to apply to a very rare "weekend alternative" position at a similar unit with a nearby hospital.
Can you explain a bit more how this "weekend alternative" position works?

Have you been around long enough to have heard of the "Baylor Plan" and if so, is it like that?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:21 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:14 pm
Have you been around long enough to have heard of the "Baylor Plan" and if so, is it like that?
Hi BolderBoy, It is much like the Baylor Plan, but not as good. I work 24 hours a week but get paid for 30. The Baylor Plan would bring that to 36.

I sign a contract to work 48 of 52 weekends a year. The contract comes along with a 25% "weekend alternative" bonus.

I continue to appreciate replies. I am getting more confident in making a counter offer (#3)

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:24 pm

radiowave wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:48 pm
Cammilus, I can emphasize with your situation. Back in the late 80's when I was practicing, it was common to have new grads start at a higher salary than a nurse with a couple years experience. The only way to bump up salary was to move to another hospital.
But back in the 80's, mortgages were near 20% and everyone got 10% raises annually. We're not in that environment now.

To the OP, can you spell out more about this weekend "perk"? My wife's a nurse (started in the 80's, BSN) and I know when she works nights, there's added pay differential, weekend, differential, weekend night, stacked differential. Is this lower hours, paid for 40 or something else. I remember a couple of the wife's friends who did weekend shifts like this. I don't remember exactly, but it was along the line of 2 12's, paid for 40. Again, this was back in the 80's, so it's not a new thing.
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celia
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by celia » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:30 pm

Please explain what this "weekend perk" is that you would get at the new hospital, but not the current one.

Working weekend nights does not sound like a desirable shift at either place, but it fits in nicely for your family.

InMyDreams
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by InMyDreams » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:33 am

It's true that the nursing shortage is back - and the compensation pot is getting sweetened again. And nursing will probably stay in demand for the next while as baby boomers retire or cut back.

But in the long run, it's good to keep in mind that demand and circumstances change, and I've seen nurses unable to find work during recessions (plural, not just the last one). So as you're working, keep an eye out for a career that allows growth - management, discharge planning, insurance. You could move to an area that has outrageous demand - California? - and the wages are much higher.

Good luck, sister!

PS - the other advantage of weekends and nights - much less politics and BS!

bada bing
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by bada bing » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:26 am

I'm not a nurse, or involved in the healthcare field. I do work in a technically credentialed field
with shift differentials though and I have negotiated a few employer changes / new compensation
packages. One thing I've found is that it is much easier to squeeze a bonus or one time allowance
out of negotiation with a hiring manager than to get a commitment to exceed the norm on new
hire compensation rates. If they are actively courting you, it might be much easier to get a "signing
bonus" or "moving allowance" than a start at a much higher rate. As the negotiation progresses, watch
to see if a compromise might develop for a signing bonus instead of higher base rate. The higher base
rate is more valuable, but a signing bonus is much more likely and easier to get IME. In my industry,
a signing bonus for an experienced, credentialed candidate is almost a given and getting a base rate
bump is like pulling teeth. Try for a signing bonus of 2-3 months of gross salary if the negotiation for
your desired base rate is going nowhere.

Archimedes
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by Archimedes » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:00 am

I have found that a good negotiating technique is to continue the interview process up to the point where they have decided definitively that they want to hire you. You then slow down the process just a bit. You say “I am very interested in this position and excited to work here. The only question for me is the compensation. I have family responsibilities and I want to make sure this position works for me. Is this the best compensation package you can offer?” Then see what they say. You may be surprised. Nurses who are highly skilled and who also want to work that weekend night shift schedule are hard to come by. You have certification, skills and reputation going for you. Plus you are willing to work that tough to fill schedule. You are in a strong negotiating position.

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by 4nursebee » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:51 am

I have never known an organization to offer more money to retain RN.
More money always comes with job change at different organization.
You have already discussed pay issues, I would not again. They do not respect you as highly as you respect yourself.
If you have already talked pay with new employer, and gotten more than you asked for, you have already shown your hand. Negotiate better next time.
Newly recognized where you are? What a great resume, perfect time to leave.
Start networking for the next job.
Ability to physically move will favor next job being higher pay yet again.
Current organization might hire you back in a few years, at more money...
I bet you could submit resumes to 5 different places and have 3-4 job offers in a week. I know of a Christmas week job offer.

None of this is personal, it is just business. It should not affect your good name. You will be respected better for doing what is right for you.
4nursebee

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by SimonJester » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:34 am

Also look at both jobs in their entirety, patient load at both places, commute, atmosphere of the unit, other benefits. Pay is only one part of the equation. If possible ask to shadow the unit for a day before you make a decision. My wife did this with her last job switch and she was able to get a good feel for how the unit worked.
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BolderBoy
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:55 am

Below the level of senior nurse executives, I've not seen nursing positions, particularly staff nurse positions, as being negotiable. They tend to be offered, "as is" and the few staff nurses who tried to "negotiate" were quickly labeled "difficult" and the hiring authority moved on.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by ishkadetto » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:04 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:55 am
Below the level of senior nurse executives, I've not seen nursing positions, particularly staff nurse positions, as being negotiable. They tend to be offered, "as is" and the few staff nurses who tried to "negotiate" were quickly labeled "difficult" and the hiring authority moved on.
Can confirm. I have worked in both private and federal hospitals, and pay for new RN staff was based on a rigid scale taking into account years of experience, a little extra for specially certification, or type of degree ADN/BSN/MSN. There was no negotiating, very cut and dry, objective.

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celia
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by celia » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:40 pm

One way to make more money is to be the charge nurse for one or both shifts. Around here, there are some nurses with about a year's experience who are occasionally asked to be the charge nurse for their shift. But then you probably have to look at who else is eligible to be the charge nurse who might be interested.

InMyDreams
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by InMyDreams » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:17 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:34 am
Also look at both jobs in their entirety, patient load at both places, commute, atmosphere of the unit, other benefits. Pay is only one part of the equation. If possible ask to shadow the unit for a day before you make a decision. My wife did this with her last job switch and she was able to get a good feel for how the unit worked.
+1. Also, do you have a feel if the employer wants to practice as safely as it can, or do things just...slide?

Also, at some time you will hit the top of the pay scale. I agree with one of the previous comments that there's not much negotiation that can happen on pay, but once you hit the top, the only way up is to move to another position with what is perceived as more responsibility.

Also - are you giving up seniority, and therefore vacation accrual rate is lower? Seeking a move is multi-factorial.

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BolderBoy
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:19 pm

ishkadetto wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:04 am
BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:55 am
Below the level of senior nurse executives, I've not seen nursing positions, particularly staff nurse positions, as being negotiable. They tend to be offered, "as is" and the few staff nurses who tried to "negotiate" were quickly labeled "difficult" and the hiring authority moved on.
Can confirm. I have worked in both private and federal hospitals, and pay for new RN staff was based on a rigid scale taking into account years of experience, a little extra for specially certification, or type of degree ADN/BSN/MSN. There was no negotiating, very cut and dry, objective.
One RN I knew - long time RN, newly graduated BSN - was complaining bitterly to me about the "heavy" assignments she was getting during report (she like working on a med-surg unit). The facility was making a big deal about registered nursing being a "professional activity" in their recruiting advertisements so I suggested that she test the limits of that claim...

I suggested that the assignment she was being "given" during report was merely an "offer" of patients and not a commandment so she should listen to the whole report and pick/choose the patients for whom she could provide "professional" level care during that shift...and the next time she worked she did just that.

The head nurse on the unit was caught completely off-guard and called the DoN, who rushed to the floor thinking that an insurrection was underway. The head nurse and DoN listened to the RN's reasoning and elected to send her home and call in an agency nurse as a replacement.

But going forward the level of the assignments were changed and the RN was welcomed back with open arms and applauded for thinking outside the box. So some things it turned out were negotiable.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Johnsson
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by Johnsson » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:30 pm

I work as an RN at a similar establishment. Bonuses/incentives come and go based on the current flux of employees. You could move and the extra money could disappear in 6 months. RN's are treated as a commodity. Don't expect that pay to be long-term.

newstreetnj
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by newstreetnj » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:42 pm

I'm a M.D. and have great respect for nurses. You all should think seriously about unionizing! I base that on my dealings with hospital administrators, who I generally do not respect. Bob

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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:30 pm

newstreetnj wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:42 pm
I'm a M.D. and have great respect for nurses. You all should think seriously about unionizing! I base that on my dealings with hospital administrators, who I generally do not respect. Bob
+1 :happy

Thanks everyone for your replies. Just want to keep this thread up to date. Next week I have my face-to-face interview with the nursing manager. If I get an offer - which I'm guessing will happen, I plan to make a reasoned counter offer. Thanks for your encouragement to do this. I don't believe my offer will be rescinded.

I will give my current employer the specifics about any offer I get, but I don't expect them to be able to do much about it. Should my prospective compensation at the new place fall within a certain range, and the culture of the unit checks out, I will likely move. I do plan on ending things well with my current employer to protect any prospect of returning down the road.

I will keep you up to date if I get an offer.

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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by Johnsson » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:21 am

If you move, it might be worth flexing in the old place for a few months to keep your seniority intact just in case the new place isn't all you're expecting (so you can go back if you wish).

InMyDreams
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by InMyDreams » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:22 pm

Johnsson wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:21 am
If you move, it might be worth flexing in the old place for a few months to keep your seniority intact just in case the new place isn't all you're expecting (so you can go back if you wish).
+1 - especially if there is a retirement system that you are not yet vested in. Hang on as PRN until you reach that vesting, doing the minimum hours that you need to still be employed there.

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camillus
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by camillus » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:04 pm

Hi all, thanks again for your wisdom. I wanted to update you:

Yesterday I had my interview with the hiring manager and "shadowed" on the unit for 2 hours.

In terms of compensation, the hiring manager said that I would be getting the weekend option bonus of 25% to my base rate, but I would NOT be getting shift differential. So that effectively reduced 60% of my upside. The compensation was the main reason I was considering the switch.

Today, the HR rep said that I would be getting an offer, but the hiring manager is at a conference so they have yet to work out details.

During my shadowing, a current nurse there had an aside conversation with me saying that she used to be this weekend option nurse, and that shift differential was included, and before that, the bonus was 50% instead of 25%. She also said that if I took the position, I would be one of two weekend option nurses in the whole organization. The hiring unit got special permission because of it's small size and specialty. It's hard for them to get coverage on the weekends.

Some takeaways for me:
1) There may be room for negotiating
2) BUT, the hiring manager seems acutely aware of this as well, and wants to control costs (and keep things fair with other nurses)
3) This perk has changed frequently in the past and perhaps I shouldn't rely on it being there in the long term.

Also:
1) This hiring unit is quite small (15 beds), in a smaller hospital, and the level of care is a bit primitive (paper charting!)
2) I currently work in a world-class dedicated specialty hospital up the hill. My unit has 120 beds.

I am much less inclined to go with the new place because
1) Pay is not what I anticipated - I loss 60% of the up-side
2) Care is quite a bit different, with the challenges of a much smaller unit

My plan right now is to wait for a formal offer, probably be clear about what I need to change. I am anticipating probably declining a negotiated offer, unfortunately. I don't think I'll have much grounds to ask for a raise at my current employer if I'm not willing to walk.

Please give me your wisdom & feedback. Sincere thanks.

newstreetnj
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Re: help this RN negotiate job change

Post by newstreetnj » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:25 pm

Hi! Sorry that you are not getting as much pay as you had hoped.

I'm struck by how different in size the units are:120 vs 15. That's a big change. You did use the word "primitive" for the 15 bed unit but that was due their continued use of paper charting. Just read an article in the New Yorker about the horrors of computers for M.D.s, so maybe paper isn't all bad. I wonder though if the 15 bed unit differs in other ways. For example, I would guess that there would be fewer educational opportunities than in the 120 bed unit.

Bob

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