How should I handle a young, salary-obsessed nurse?

Share this article:
Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
Q: I recently hired a 20-something-year-old nurse, one year out of nursing school, who communicates with her colleagues only about how much money there is to earn in nursing. Her colleagues say she is not interested in becoming a better nurse. I want to have a discussion with her about the rewards of nursing being other than financial. What do you advise for this situation?

A: Start by reviewing her resume, if you haven't already, to get a better idea of her career background. This will probably take more than one discussion.

Whenever I ask an applicant or new nurse why they chose nursing as a career, I nearly always get a response of “I want to help people.” That response tells me nothing, except they are telling me what they think I want to hear.

Ask about what her goals are in nursing, and why. You will learn about the amount of thought she put into her career choice. It's also possible she has struggled financially in the past. Ask about what she has learned in nursing so far and what types of situations help her to feel that she is making a difference. Share that although nurses now can earn more income than ever before, it is very hard work to earn it.

Get her thinking about her responses so that superficial answers won't work. At the end of your discussion, give her some more situations to think about, such as how you can help her, as the head of the nursing department, to reach her goals. Ask her about what she feels are her strengths and weaknesses so far, and again, what areas you can help her with. Set up a follow-up meeting.

Of course, there are some nurses out there who really are only motivated by the money. That is not necessarily a  sign that they will be bad nurses, but it does mean they should be monitored so that you know if their motivation leads to undesirable practices.
Share this article:

More in News

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume ...

Long-term care bucked healthcare industry trends with strong merger and acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2014, according to newly released data from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Empowering nurse practitioners could reduce hospitalizations from SNFs, study finds

Granting more authority to nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to recently published findings.

Pioneer ACO drops out of program, despite reductions in skilled nursing utilization

A California healthcare system has become the latest dropout from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, despite reducing skilled nursing facility utilization and improving its readmission rates. Sharp HealthCare announced its decision in a quarterly financial statement released Tuesday.