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Why is it so difficult to get salary ranges over the phone from hospice or home healthcare agencies?



Dear Donna,

We were informed that, due to the economy, RNs at the facility where I work are required to take four furlough days per month, one every Friday. This will give me a three-day weekend each week.

I’m thinking of doing hospice nursing during this time off, as I cannot afford to take four days off a month without pay. The benefit is that I could work an extra 12 days per month, if I included the weekends.

Why is it that when I call a hospice agency or a home health agency, they will not give me an estimate of what I could expect to earn? What is the hourly salary range for a hospice or home health RN for the Central Region of the United States?

Wants Salary Info

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants Salary Info,

While it is understandable that you are trying to get some idea of salaries in these organizations, many places won’t give this information out over the phone for several reasons. First of all, they’re not interested in salary shoppers — people who are just looking for the highest hourly wage without considering other issues related to employment with them, such as benefits, training and support. Also, they may offer a salary range based on experience and education, and therefore, cannot quote you a rate prior to an interview.

Go on some interviews to find out if the agency and the work are right for you. If they are interested in you and you in them, then talk about salary. Read “How to negotiate salary” (

To find out about average salaries for this type of work in your area, contact your state chapter of the related professional association, such as Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America or the Home Health Nurses Association (

Do some informational interviewing ( with officers to find out which agencies are the best to work for in your area, what average salaries are and to make contacts and get advice.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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