How to Increase Your Nursing Salary

If you’ve been a nurse for a while, you may be thinking it is time for a raise. There are many reasons that a raise would be prudent: working for the same organization for a while, increased responsibilities, or perhaps a rise in the cost of living. Whatever the reason, it’s never a bad idea to take steps to increase your salary. If you are ready to get a paycheck boost, here are a few ways you can start increasing your nursing salary. 

Increase Your Education 

This is likely the first place to start if you want to have a larger salary. If you have an ADN (associate degree in nursing), then earning a BSN (bachelor’s degree in nursing) would be the next step. However, if you already have a BSN, then earning a master’s degree would be the way to go. Continuing your education will further increase your earning power. 

If you decide to seek a higher degree, you’ll most likely be given a pay bump, and may be eligible to become a charge nurse or assistant manager. As an added bonus, many employers will reimburse tuition costs as a way of incentivizing further education. This means that you will not only get a higher education and a higher salary, but you’ll be paid to do it! 

Get A Certifications 

If earning a higher degree is not an option for you for whatever reason, there are still a wide variety of educational courses that you can participate in to receive certifications that will help increase your earning potential. There are certifications in almost every specialty in nursing and include: med-surg, critical care, and operating room (OR). Many healthcare organizations will also provide funds to complete the training and take the credentialing exam. 

Go Above and Beyond 

Coming to work every day and completing your duties as assigned is pretty much the bare minimum of your job. But if you’re looking to earn more, you need to show your boss why you deserve more. Begin by making it a habit to arrive a little bit early each day to prepare for your shift. Work quickly and efficiently, taking extra care with difficult paperwork. Perhaps most importantly, work on your leadership skills and your relationships with coworkers. If a managerial opportunity arises, you want to show your supervisor that you are willing to do the extra work required, are capable of doing a great job, and have the backing of your colleagues who respect your work. If you’ve been practicing all these things, your name will be the first chosen for a promotion. 

Ask for Constructive Feedback 

We often become blind to our own strengths and weaknesses because we live with them every day. The things we are good at may become less impressive in our own eyes because they are just something you do or that you are good at. Our weaknesses may not stand out to us if we’ve never been told it’s something we need to improve. 

When looking for a higher salary, it is important to be self-aware. This will help you determine what you need to emphasize to your boss and what you need to work on and improve. If you need help with identifying these aspects, ask for help from peers and supervisors. They will be able to give you an impartial assessment of how you are perceived at work. 

It is important to remember to ask with an open mind; it will do you no good to have others tell you your weaknesses if you will simply disregard them or have no intention of working towards improvement. However, asking for a critique of your performance and then immediately making moves to better it will show those in charge of promotions and raises that you are open to growth and challenges, which will incentivize them to help you earn more. 

Have the Right Attitude 

With such difficult hours and unpredictable shifts as is common in nursing, it can be challenging to come to work with a positive attitude each day. However, this is the one thing that is entirely within your control. As you go to work every day, make an effort to enter the building with a smile on your face, even if you don’t really feel like it. Avoid office gossip and negativity that can often prevail. Instead, try to bring positivity to those around you. Doing so will show that you are anxious to create a constructive atmosphere with unparalleled optimism. This will make you an indispensable member of the team, so when it comes time for promotions or raises, you’ll certainly stand out as a well-deserving employee. 

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Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D, RN, CNE

Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads is a registered nurse and a nurse educator. She earned a BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and an MS in nursing education from Northern Illinois University. Jenna earned a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in nursing education from Capella University where she researched the moderation effects of emotional intelligence on the relationship of stress and GPA in military veteran nursing students.