When you’re in the nursing job market, receiving a job offer can feel like a lifeline has been thrown your way. And when you get multiple job offers, it’s truly an embarrassment of riches that looks more like a lifeboat!
Just recently, one of my coaching clients received two great offers as a result of a string of very positive interviews. She nailed those interviews, and now she has several great offers to consider.
When you receive a job offer as a nurse, there’s a lot to consider. What are the factors that mean the most?
We always think of salary first when considering a job, and salary does indeed matter. You have bills to pay, perhaps student loans to work on, and you need to earn enough to live. You also want to make sure that the money you’re being offered makes sense, so consider whether the salary being offered is commensurate with your level of experience, skills, and knowledge.
You also want to assess what nurses in similar positions in that geographic region are making on average. When you have multiple offers, you will, of course, compare the salaries being offered.
If you have multiple potential positions on tap, this gives you the upper hand for salary negotiations. Always negotiate in good faith — you don’t want to burn any bridges along the way.
Keeping that in mind, if the job you want most pays $75,000 and the other position pays $85,000, let the former employer know that you would prefer to work for them but are being offered $10,000 more per year by the other facility. If they really want you, they may come up at least a little, or they may pile on the benefits in order entice you aboard. Play your cards slightly close to your chest, and see if you can edge that salary up a little bit.
Money isn’t everything when it comes to a job offer. Benefits mean a lot too, and a job that offers slightly less money per hour may really make up for it in terms of time off, sign-on bonuses, health insurance, retirement plans, and other factors that add to the position’s attractiveness.
Relocation costs can be a big deal if you’re moving across the country for a new nursing job, and some hospitals and other employers will pay for relocation if they really want to lure you to their team. Several of my clients have recently received relocation bonuses.
Also ask about tuition reimbursement. This can be significant and important for your future, and ultimately save you a lot of money.
Room for advancement and professional growth:
This factor may be hard to assess, but some employers will make it clearer than others in terms of how nurses move upward through the nursing hierarchy in their particular workplace.
If you can talk to other nurses who work or have worked for this employer, you may be able to assess whether nurses are able to grow in the organization. And remember that growth may not come in the form of promotions; it may come in the ability to work on research, co-author papers, serve on interesting committees, or work on special projects that tap your interests and skills while building your resume.
If you have multiple job offers, figuring out which employer will give you more incentive to grow as a professional over time is something to think about.
Assessing a workplace’s culture is very difficult, but it’s meaningful and important. A reputation for bullying, aberrant workplace behavior, or nurse burnout may cause you to run the other way screaming. Connections on LinkedIn, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and perhaps even postings in online nursing forums may help you understand what goes on behind the scenes in a particular hospital or healthcare facility.
Culture also means how nurses are treated by administration, how they are rewarded and recognized, and if the organization invests in its nurses or simply pays lip service. If you’ve been offered a high-paying job at a hospital where you’ve heard bullied is rampant and nurse turnover is high, you may choose to agree to another job offer at a smaller facility where nurses are happy and stay for years. More money won’t necessarily make you happier if you burn out in the process of earning it.
If you grew up in Hawaii and can’t tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees, a job in Minnesota, no matter how well paid, may not be worth the personal sacrifice of your physical comfort.
Likewise, if you love the ocean and the beach, a job in hot and dry Tucson, Arizona may leave you homesick and pining for water. Two job offers in very different climate zones offers you a very clear choice in terms of your personal happiness. You may also want to consider relative distance from family and friends and the cost of travel as a factor.
The importance of lifestyle cannot be overlooked. If you’ve been offered a night position and your lifestyle is such that you would never see your kids of spouse all week, then that position may not work best for you.
And let’s say you’ve been offered a job in Reno and a job in Miami. You need to assess the cultural and social amenities of these two cities in order to see if you can make a happy life for yourself in one or the other. We all have things we like to do and a general sense of the lives we want to live. If we move to a place where we’ll be generally unhappy socially and otherwise, no amount of money will make up for that deficit.
Which job serves your larger long-term goals?
A very well-paying position may not necessarily serve your long-term vision of your career and life. If you have some clarity about where you’re headed, weighing your various options in terms of jobs can also be influenced by how the particular jobs at your fingertips may serve your greater vision.
If your ultimate goal is to be an advanced practice nurse, an employer that will reimburse your tuition for graduate school in exchange for two years of service as a new NP might be a worthy employer indeed. Even if they’re offering a slightly lower salary than another position you’re considering, getting out of grad school without hefty student loans isn’t something to overlook.
Multiple Job Offers = More Choices!
When you’re blessed by multiple job offers, the world is your oyster in many ways. But even one job offer of an awesome nursing position can do so much for lifting your self esteem and confidence.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century” and “Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters.”
He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for Nurse.org, Nurse.com, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, American Sentinel University, American Nurse Today, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.