Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

Seeking Some Advice

So here's the deal...

I've decided that after five years at one hospital as a CNA, it is time for me to try somewhere new. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest being:

1. Pay. The pay is decent, but below average for what CNAs make in the area. Even with an annual merit raises, I'm still not making what I should.

2. Hours. I'm PRN at this hospital and am technically only required to work 16 hours every four weeks. Obviously, in order to support myself and my daughter through school, I need to work quite a bit more hours than this. I was working pretty close to full time hours (about 72 hours bi-weekly), but lately that has drastically changed, to where I'm hardly able to get any hours.

3. Staffing. I realize staffing is a problem in health care and most likely always will be, but at this particular hospital, the staffing is dangerous and somewhat scary. We're talking one CNA to about 40 patients, most of which are total care (living dead) patients. To some of who are or have been CNAs, I know this may not be considered terrible-- this sort of assignment is normal for a nursing home, but keep in mind these are acute care patients.

All that being said, it is time for a change. The hospital across town is a level II trauma center and has openings for CNA in their per diem (pool) staff. Which brings me to the part where I need your help:

This particular hospital has a base pay that is higher than what I currently make with 5 years experience. However, I've known them to pay several nurse aides with as much experience as myself $13-15/hour. I believe that with my relevant experience and the set of skills I possess, I should make at least $13/hr (right now I'm barely pushing $10.)

So, how do you handle this situation? On the application, there is a spot that says, "Desired salary ____." I'm always careful to not put something I feel may be viewed as too much so that my application isn't thrown in the pile of people they'd never consider hiring, but I never want to put an amount too small because I fear they may give to me. I've heard writing "Negotiable" is an option, but I also hear that most employers will throw at an application with this written because it shows that an applicant is incapable of making decisions.

Salary always come up during a job interview. Sometimes I've felt it really makes or breaks the interview and your chances of being hired.

What do you do?

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