Tips: How to maximize your nursing income as soon as possible

Although nursing, by and large, offers a good income, there are variables that can affect your salary. There may also be times when you want additional income to help pay off student loans or for a major purchase. At the same time, you need work-life balance to avoid burnout, especially early in your nursing career when it can be stressful making the transition from novice to expert nurse.


One of the first things to consider is salary negotiations. Even if you’re a new graduate, it’s worth the effort to negotiate. In addition to asking for a higher wage, see whether you can get other financial benefits: extra money for CEUs or travel reimbursement, or perhaps a higher 401K match. Research indicates one of the reasons for pay disparities between men and women is that men are more likely to negotiate for a salary.

Look Around

Look outside the traditional venues. Although most nurses still work in hospitals, there are plenty of other work settings, many of which don’t have a lot of job candidates. They may be more flexible in job negotiations. Consider working as an industrial health nurse, insurance nurse, wellness nurse, or in risk management or utilization review.

Choose Your Work Setting

Salaries vary in different work settings, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2014. annual nursing salaries ranged from $63,490 in skilled nursing facilities to $92,840 in the non-nursing venue of accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, which employed 520 RNs. Hospitals — by far the largest employers — paid an average of $72,980 a year, and outpatient care centers offered $73,620. Specialty hospitals paid $76,310.

The Little Extras

Education, specialization and certification can make a difference in income. A BSN, for example, is more likely to give you a foot in the door for a higher-paid position like a management role. Some hospitals pay extra for nurses who are certified in a specialty. Specializations in a high-demand field like nursing informatics can also bring in more money.

Secondary Work

If you normally work 12-hour shifts, consider picking up an additional shift occasionally. Nursing programs sometimes hire tutors for students who need extra help. You might also find extra work as a telephone triage nurse, and some health plans offer work to nurses who can take phone calls or online questions from patients.

Outside opportunities can offer extra income, but be careful. Burning out is a real risk if you’re stretched too thin. Pay close attention to your level of fatigue, recovery time and performance. A final consideration — it’s not necessarily a matter of what you make, but what you spend. Living frugally can make a big difference.


Written by 3rd independent party

2016-24133  Exp. 6/18