To all my nurse practitioner (NP) colleagues: never accept the first offer and always ask for a raise. Remember, every raise, no matter how small can impact the salaries of future generations of NPs, whose compensation will be based on market averages.
In her book Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock explains that 57% of men negotiate their salary resulting in a 7.6% increase in their offer. On the other hand, less than 10% of women negotiate. With 90% of nurse practitioners being women, this is definitely something we need to talk about. The purpose of this article is to provide practical advice to NPs who are ready to negotiate.
You can also read this article in the new online community for NPs & PAs: Clinician 1. There you'll find continuing education, patient cases, medical quizzes, job boards, and featured articles like this one from me!
First things first. Do your salary research. Fortunately, the awesomeness that is the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), conducts a national survey of nurse practitioner income across specialties. Over the past 10 years, these surveys have demonstrated that NP salaries are rising much faster than inflation; they have risen over 10% in the past four years. Members of the AANP can access the survey on their website, and non-members can purchase it for $50.00 in the AANP research store.
Before you start negotiating, know what the average compensation is for an NP in your medical specialty and in your practice setting. For example, the average total income for NPs in each specialty are listed below.
At every job, always aim for at least average, even if you’re a new graduate. Think about what makes you better than average. Did you graduate with a DNP? Do you have years and years of experience? Are you exceptionally technology savvy? Are you board-certified? Are you creative? Did you graduate at the top of your class? Are you personable? Are you a natural leader? Did you graduate from a top 10 school? Know what makes you special and use it to argue that you’re better than average.
Conducting salary research gives you a sense of what to expect. A good company will value you, respect you, and want you to work for them. Nurse practitioners in all specialties are in high-demand, meaning your current or future employer should be fighting for you. They should be offering you a salary at or near the values listed above. If they aren’t, either negotiate or go where they’ll pay you fairly.
To continue reading this article, check out the new online community for NPs & PAs: Clinician 1. There you'll find continuing education, patient cases, medical quizzes, job boards, and featured articles like this one from me!
I know there is a lot of anxiety surrounding negotiation. Some nurse practitioners are afraid their employer will harbor resentment or be offended at their request for higher pay. The website Salary.com recently surveyed companies and found that 84% actually expect candidates to negotiate their salary during the interview stage and 87% said they have never rescinded a job offer during negotiations.
Importantly, negotiating your salary is not just for your own good, it’s for the betterment of all nurse practitioners going forward. The salary that a company decides to pay you is most often based on market averages. Where do these market averages come from? The market! If nurse practitioners across the country all accept low salaries, then the market average never rises and neither will the pay of future generations.
Furthermore, every negotiation, no matter how small will impact the next nurse practitioner your company hires. If they only compensate you $80,000 per year, then they aren’t going to pay the new grad they hire any more than that. Negotiate for yourself. Negotiate for your peers. Negotiate for the future of the nurse practitioner profession.
Looking for more advice on salary negotiation? Check out these great books: