5 times every nurse needs good bargaining skills

Thinkstock / monkeybusinessimages
Thinkstock / monkeybusinessimages

The skillset of a nurse sometimes reaches far beyond the bedside. Maybe there should be an optional “car salesman rotation” during nursing school?

The art of bargaining is not something to be taken lightly, and nurses with a sharp eye for the quibble will find themselves in a pretty good situation all throughout their nursing careers.

You’re probably wondering when (and why) the heck a nurse would need to know how to bargain? Well, I can think of 5 situations when your haggling skills can come in handy:

Changing clinical assignment

There will come a time at some point during your career when you will want to avoid a certain patient and/or assignment. It’s okay; it happens to all of us. As a student you’ll flex your bartering skills with your fellow classmates or maybe your instructor. Even as a staff nurse you’ll continue to utilize those skills with your charge nurse and/or coworkers. Trust me, it will happen.

Bartering for more time off to study

Or time off work, or time needed for vacation, etc. You’ll be utilizing the art of the bargain with your supervisors to figure out how you can get the time you need. I did it with my employer while I was a student.

Bargaining with a fellow coworker to turf those tasks you hate

I’ve blogged about this one before: What is your weakness? We all have a nursing weakness; mine is severe tunneling decubitus ulcers. Any time my patient assignments involved this type of dressing change, I would bargain with my coworkers to exchange one task for another. I was willing to do just about anything in return for getting out of that dressing change. Blegh.

Possible negotiation out of being pulled to another unit during a low-census day

This takes some practice and some serious high-level bargaining skills. In most facilities you take turns on a rotating type basis to keep it fair. So getting out of this responsibility is tough, but it can happen. This scenario is sort of similar to when bargaining to NOT be put on call (because you need the $$).

Rearranging schedules once you become a nurse

Ultimately, this is when you put your money where your mouth is. Your schedule and the way the days fall can sometimes be completely out of your hands due to time in grade, seniority and just bad luck. The last-ditch effort that every nurse uses is throwing the bargaining chip at your coworkers who work side-by-side with you. Sometimes last-minute things can come up and you need to switch shifts or get time off. It’s your haggling skills that will get you what you need.

Just ask any nurse–you need to know how to make the “sale” with your coworkers.

As you can see, those car salesmen could teach us a thing or two. At the very least, we could make this new clinical rotation an elective, don’t you think?

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