*Original post released on 4/17/2020
Hey there nearly new grads and new grad nurses! I was bouncing around some ideas for posts with my coworkers when one suggested that this would be a helpful topic for many of you…whether or not you think you need to hear these tips 🙂 Going from nursing school to being a full-on nursing professional, your income will increase all of a sudden and it can definitely be a source of temptation. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom I’ve come to realize this past year:
- Strongly consider obtaining professional liability insurance sooner rather than later. It’s better to have this and not need it than to need it and not have it. Pricing for this can depend on your level of experience and the area in which you are practicing. (For instance, OB/L&D nurses tend to have higher rates for their insurance due to the extended period of liability for both mom and baby). Also, if you ever plan on precepting, orienting, or training anyone later in your career you’ll definitely want this. You will be responsible for that person’s actions/documentation/etc. for the duration they’re working with you.
- Avoid making larger purchases or those with high monthly payments during your first year as a nurse. You’ll be experiencing a lot of stress during your first year as a new grad nurse and definitely don’t need to add any additional and potentially unnecessary financial stress on top of that. Financial stress is a BIG contributor to new grad burnout!
- Keep in mind that any student loans you’ve taken out will begin repayment once the 6 month mark after your graduation arrives. This gives you a half year grace period to become more financially fit. Don’t lie to yourself, 6 months will fly by in the blink of an eye.
- Most employers will offer either tuition reimbursement if you go back to school while working or loan repayment assistance for working for their facility. Be sure to inquire about this. It is typical to have to fulfill a certain number of days worked (my job required 90 days) prior to allowing you to qualify. You’ll have to submit necessary verification to them before they’ll offer assistance and payments will likely go directly to the school or lender. Amounts for assistance will also likely vary if you are a full time or part time employee.
- Create a budget and stick to it! Also take care to lot money for savings, unexpected expenses, and travel/fun expenses. Revise your budget monthly to continue evolving to meet your needs and financial goals.
- Try your hardest to develop an emergency fund of 2-3 months worth of income. If that task seems too daunting, start with just $1,000.
- If you’d like more information about budget because you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin? Try looking into Dave Ramsey! He has a lot of resources, podcasts, youtube videos, and articles to help you as a beginning budgeter. Keep in mind, he’s a bit forward in his ideas but it is refreshing to get information delivered to you straightforward and without bias. His methods work!
- Also consider budgeting for continuing education credits or CEs. Check with your organization to see what CEs they provide before you go out and purchase any…unless you’re working toward a specific goal and they don’t offer a CE for that purpose.
- Consider budgeting for those certificates you know you want to pursue (Ex: CCRN, TNCC). Certs are not cheap by any means as many run between $200-300; However, obtaining these certs may help you increase your rate of pay in the long run or help you obtain a bonus. BONUS: your employer may also reimburse or pay for these! Check to see how that process works before you pay for ANYTHING! Also be sure to verify if you are subject to additional contract requirements if they do fund your certificate. As Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time would say, “All magic comes with a price.”
I could probably go ON AND ON with things I’ve learned in regards to finances as a nurse and new grad professional, but these are definitely some of my top tips. If you have any questions or situations you need help with, let me know and I can do my best to point you in the right direction of the BEST resource. Keep in mind that I am no accountant, nor do I claim to be. I just want y’all to take advice from some of the things I’ve learned the hard way.
Viewers on social media have contributed some additional suggestions such as meeting with a professional financial advisor and contributing to a 401K/Roth IRA. Your employer will likely match up to a certain percentage of your pay that is contributed to the 401K associated with their facility. If they do this, take full advantage and contribute as much as you can to have them match your contributions. This will help you prepare for retirement now so you’re not scrambling later in life.
That’s all for now. Until next time, take care and happy studying!