I’ll bet that got your attention. I don’t think there is a nurse out there in the workforce who doesn’t want a raise, right? While most of us didn’t enter this awesome profession for the money, not many would refuse more of it in their paycheck.

Now, I know the economy is still recovering and that many nurses out there would appreciate a low-paying job versus no job at all, but I thought I’d touch on some behaviors that can limit your chances at receiving a raise. I’d also like to point out that maybe it’s not a pay raise your looking for, but a change in your job? Maybe you’ve been wanting that promotion? Here are seven reasons why you’re being passed over:

  1. You’re always late. Whether it’s five minutes or five hours, late is late. “If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late.” I’m not exactly sure where I first heard the saying, but it has served me well. I consider myself late if I’m not early (or on time). When you are late, you are giving those waiting on you the message that they are not important. We all have unforeseen circumstances that can crop up, but if you make it habit to never arrive on time, it’s disrespectful. For us nurses, this means arriving early enough to gather all of your supplies and gear, change and be ready for report at change of shift.
  2. You always leave early. This is sort of a misnomer in the world of nursing, since we technically can never leave early (those of us working a clinical position, at least!). This has to do with your teamwork mindset. You were able to finish all of your tasks and you gave report in a timely manner, but your colleagues who have been with you for your entire shift are swamped. They are running behind for one reason or another, and it looks like they will be clocking out hours from now. You know what’s going on, but you choose to clock out and run for the hills without offering any sort of assistance.
  3. You point fingers. This is your stereotypical passive-aggressive behavior. There is an unlimited number of possible scenarios for this type of behavior, but in essence, you don’t take responsibility for your actions or your team’s actions. You’re out to clear your name and your name only. Period.
  4. You have a narrow vision. An inability to think outside the box. No need to explain this one. Everyone has the ability to think beyond tradition, but some out there refuse to take the leap. This is not about skill or education, but the basic choice and/or will to try.
  5. You’re quick to complain. “You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution.” Are you willing to troubleshoot the problem in the hopes of solving the puzzle, or are you content just complaining about it being broken? Complaining is easy; solving the problem requires effort.
  6. You ignore professional growth. If you haven’t figured it out by now, our profession is growing exponentially. In order to keep pace with the change and evolution of health care and all its moving parts, we have to grow. Professional growth is disguised as “continuing education.” Without it, we put our patients at risk.
  7. You’re resistant to (any) change. This is the toughest one of all. Nurses can be quite stubborn. Most of us have a difficult time breaking from the age-old mantra of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” I’m not saying you have to be an early adopter, but you need to have an open mind and have meaningful dialogues to express your concerns. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 

It’s a jungle out there folks, and only the strongest will survive. What other behaviors or traits would you add to this list?