Your Value as a Nursing Professional
If you feel undervalued, overworked and underpaid, you’re not alone. Burnout and turnover remain high among nursing professionals. Fortunately, since nurses are in demand, you have options. You can ask for higher pay and better hours to enjoy the quality of life you deserve. Taking a strategic approach to evaluating and asserting your value as a nurse can give you an advantage at the negotiating table. Here’s how to do it.
First, you can always come up with creative ways to increase earnings. Among them:
- Picking up per diem shifts
- Working overtime
- Becoming a traveler
- Moonlighting as a transcriptionist, coder, writer, etc.
- Being an immunization nurse or CPR trainer on the side
- Becoming specialized as a CRNA, neonatal nurse, oncology nurse, etc
There is another way to earn more without making drastic changes. You can try asking for a raise in your current position or negotiating for better pay when applying for a new job. You may not be taken seriously if you go in and ask for more money without explanation. However, you should have success if, before approaching your current or prospective employer, you take time to evaluate your performance, get an accurate bead on the value you offer and highlight the value you can add to the organization.
1. Brainstorm Traits That Create Value in Nursing
How do you define value in nursing? Take some time to generate a list of how you believe nurses create value – for an organization, patients and their families, colleagues, the field of medicine, etc. Crafting your own list will help accurately reflect your personality and uniqueness when it comes time to negotiate.
Here are some traits to get you started:
- Focus on safety
- Empathy, positive patient and family interactions
- Diversity, equity and inclusion mindset
- Extensive knowledge base
- Unique experience
- Specialized care
- General, comprehensive care
- Interpersonal strengths, team dynamics
- Critical thinking, problem-solving, conflict resolution
- Integrity, honesty, transparency, authenticity
- Strong morals and ethics
- Positive healthcare outcomes
- Autonomy, independence
- Support and collaboration with physicians, surgeons, care teams, etc.
- Passion for learning and teaching
- Technology proficiency
- Attention to detail, accurate record-keeping
- Community involvement
- Commitment to organization, mission, values
- Contribution to research
2. Measure Your Value as a Nurse
Once you’ve brainstormed a list of what creates value in nursing, begin to evaluate yourself. Try to think objectively. This can be challenging, so if you’re having trouble, consider enlisting the help of a trusted friend, partner, spouse, colleague or mentor. Also, instead of asking these questions in the first person, try framing them in the third person. Rather than asking yourself, “What value do I bring to the organization?” ask from the perspective of the interviewer, “What value does this provider bring to our organization?”
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself, but don’t forget to add your own questions to help you pinpoint what differentiates you as a valuable nursing professional:
- How will this provider add to the culture of our organization?
- What value will this nurse bring to our patients?
- Does this professional have experience helping with clinical research?
- Can the provider adapt to changing technology and innovative treatments?
- Does this nurse have leadership experience?
- Do they work best autonomously or with a team?
- Does the provider have specialized expertise?
- Do they provide comprehensive, generalized care?
- What is the nurse’s safety track record?
- Do they have examples that show problem-solving, interpersonal strengths, ethics, etc.?
- Does the provider work well in fast-paced, high-pressure environments?
- Does the provider add to the diversity and richness of our organization?
- Do they value and respect cultural differences among colleagues, patients and families?
- Does the provider participate in their community? Do they volunteer?
- Is the provider willing to work nights, weekends or overtime?
- Do they have experience and connections that expand our network and knowledge base?
- Is the provider professional, trustworthy, and transparent?
- Will the provider aim to grow professionally along with the organization?
3. Highlight Your Value as a Nurse
Now, it’s time to describe and highlight your traits as a nurse that bring the most value. Pull out the stand-out traits. Which ones differentiate you from your peers? What are you known for? What are you best at? Put those traits front and center on your CV, resume and cover letters. Keep them in mind when you are negotiating pay. Be sure you have real-world examples to back up each of these valuable traits. Touch on each trait generally, but then provide specific evidence.
Use these strengths not only to negotiate pay but also hours. You don’t want to burn out – and you can make a great case for that. If you’re overworked, you can’t deliver the value you’re agreeing to add to the organization.
Be bold. Know what you’re worth, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
To find out where your valuable nursing skills are needed in exciting locations across the nation, visit Cross Country Search.