Nursing sign-on bonuses are often offered by healthcare companies. As a new nurse graduate–or a nurse looking to change specialties or companies–you may have noticed advertisements from companies offering a sign-on bonus. When I got my first job, the company I worked for just stopped offering sign-on bonuses a month or two before I applied. Therefore, I just missed out on some extra cash (bummer!).
Sign-on bonuses can be a great way to boost your overall salary. Not every company offers a sign-on bonus, but some do. However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before signing an employment contract that includes a sign-on bonus.
Why Companies Offer Sign-on Bonuses
Companies offer sign-on bonuses for three main reasons:
- The company is simply understaffed for a nursing position. Therefore, they offer a sign-on bonus in an attempt to draw in nurses from the surrounding regions.
- The nursing company is hiring for a position that most nurses dislike. Therefore, a high turnover rate means that the company will have to offer some perk to maintain their workforce.
- The job may involve some level of risk. For example, a job may offer a sign-on bonus if nurses will have to work around violent prisoners or in an unsafe area. This bonus helps to entice nurses to apply for the job.
How High are the Bonus Offers?
Sign-on bonus offers vary for each employer, but some companies have offered between $1,000-10,000 (or more) in exchange for an agreement to work for them, usually for a set time period.
However, there are two “catches” to the sign-on bonus that many nurses fail to realize:
- The sign-on bonus usually isn’t a lump sum payment. In other words, a company probably isn’t going to hand you a check for $10,000 the second you agree to work for them. Instead, you’ll receive those payments spread out over time. For example, you may get an extra $50-100 per pay period for 1-5 years, until you have earned the entire amount of the sign-on bonus.
- The sign-on bonus usually requires that you work for a specified period. This is why it’s so important to read the fine print of an employment contract or bonus offer. The contract may stipulate that you work for 1, 2, or even 5 years for the company. If you quit before your contract is up, you may be required to repay the bonus. Every company is different, so it’s important to read that fine print to find out the details of the agreement.
Conclusion: Sign-on Bonuses are Still Great
Even though sign-on bonuses are usually spread out over time, and may come with additional stipulations, they are still a great opportunity for nurses to earn some extra cash. I hope that you find the job of your dreams and that you get a hefty sign-on bonus!