Nurses are increasingly in demand, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. For nurses like you, this means hospitals are willing to pay more for nurses who bring the whole package. We’ve compiled a few ways nurses can make sure they’re earning top dollar wherever they take their next assignment. If you’ve made the decision to become a travel nurse, or are just exploring the possibility, here are 5 tips for increasing your pay as an RN:
#1: Get your BSN (or advanced degrees)
The most surefire way to increase your pay as an RN? Make yourself a valuable asset to any facility or team by completing your education. A BSN will prepare you for the future of healthcare: you’ll be better at identifying preventative care and be able to practice in more settings than the traditional inpatient role. Hiring managers and facilities are also aware of the benefits of a BSN degree – research has shown that BSN nurses have lower incidences of post-surgical mortality and hospital-acquired infections.
Getting your BSN will also prepare you for the future. Lawmakers and researchers want to see a larger portion of the nursing workforce complete their BSN degrees, and have floated ideas like “BSN in 10,” which would require nurses to acquire a BSN within the first 10 years of practice. Researchers have also called for the RN workforce to be comprised of 80% BSN-holding nurses by 2020. By acquiring your BSN, you’ll be future-proofing your nursing career and be a valuable commodity to facilities as the nursing landscape changes.
#2: Work overtime
With nursing shortages hitting the US hard, many nurses don’t have a choice in working overtime. However, if you’re trying to make the most you can as an RN, working overtime is a guaranteed way to boost your income. Some facilities may offer “premium shifts,” such as nights and weekends, that aren’t desirable for other nurses. These “premium shifts” often pay double-time, which makes them lucrative to nurses trying to maximize their income!
#3: Get relevant certifications
By getting certified in your specialty, you’re showing that you’re a valuable addition to a team due to your in-depth knowledge. Here are a few certifications that will make you more in-demand:
- CNOR: This is a great certification for OR nurses. It shows you’re dedicated to providing the highest quality care for operating room patients.
- TNCC: It’s a good move for ER nurses to get this certification! This certification will help nurses guide trauma patient care, and it will open a lot of doors in the future.
- AWHONN Intermediate/Advanced Fetal Heart Monitoring: Great certification for L&D nurses, and will make you a valuable asset to any L&D team.
Certifications are a great way to increase your pay by making you more attractive to hospitals due to your increased knowledge as a nurse. Multiple surveys have shown that certified nurses consistently make more than uncertified peers.
#4: Become a travel nurse
The best way to make the most as a nurse is to follow the money. By becoming a travel nurse, you’re able to travel to parts of the country that need nurses the most (and pay the most for your skillset!). You’re able to negotiate new contracts with every assignment, which ensures that you won’t be stuck in a low-paying contract forever. You’re also free to turn down offers that don’t meet your standards since travel nurses are so in-demand.
As a travel nurse, you’ll also be able to work with a recruiter who can help with contract negotiations and advise you on the highest-paying assignments available. Your trusty recruiter sidekick will be invaluable as you start your travel nursing adventure!
#5: Get your compact license
Getting your compact license is a great way to make yourself marketable as a nurse. If you only have a license in one state, you’re limiting yourself to working with facilities in that state. If you have a compact license, you’re free to work in over 30 states across the US. With the nursing shortage affecting different states differently, you may be compensated differently based on which state you’re in. Colorado, Texas, and Arizona are all compact states, and are some of the best states in the country for nurses!