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Exploring 7 Benefits for Nurses: Making the Most of Your PTO

Updated: Feb 29

7 benefits for nurses

7 Benefits for Nurses and the Secret To Getting the Most Out of Your Unused PTO

Nursing can be a fulfilling career when you’re caring for patients and serving them and their families. It can also come with lucrative pay and numerous benefits.

Nurses have done the hard work of earning a degree, passing the NCLEX, gaining experience, and sometimes earning special certifications. It should only be expected that they should be compensated properly with competitive pay and exceptional benefits.

But are they taking advantage of all those benefits, especially PTO (paid time off)? Or are PTO days locked away somewhere and not being used?

We’ll discuss seven common employee benefits for nurses and how they can be sure they are unlocking all the advantages that come with those benefits — especially PTO.

Table of Contents

What Benefits Do Nurses Get?

A competitive salary isn’t the only thing that draws nurses to the profession. Loads of non-salary benefits also make nursing appealing.

These may include benefits like:

  • Health insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Paid sick time

  • Paid vacation and holidays

  • Paid family leave

  • Retirement benefits

  • Tuition reimbursement

  • Childcare services

  • Paid volunteer days

  • Sign-on bonuses

  • Maternity and paternity leave

  • And more

7 Common Benefits for Nurses

Salary is just part of a nurse’s earnings.

A benefits plan for nurses provides additional resources and perks that help nurses avoid burnout and experience greater work satisfaction.

Providing benefits for nurses demonstrates that employers value their workers and want them to be rested and motivated to perform to their highest ability while on the job. Though they may not be measured in dollars, the perks and benefits can deliver numerous advantages, helping nurses maintain a more productive work/life balance.

According to the Employee Benefits Survey performed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses are first in receiving:

  • Childcare services

  • Paid family leave; and

  • Employee wellness benefits

#1: PTO

Paid time off may be one of the greatest wellness benefits when it comes to meeting the need for rest and relaxation. Depending on the facility or organization where a nurse is employed, PTO may be a benefit on its own, or it may be paired with vacation and sick time.

Need a day or two to regroup after an unimaginable four days in a row working in the ICU?

Take advantage of your stored-up PTO to skip town and enjoy a few days away to rest, relax, and get re-energized.

Or maybe you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe and want to see ALL THE THINGS.

Wish you could add a week to your vacation time to make the most of all the adventures Europe has to offer? You can! Use that banked PTO to extend your vacation, so you don’t miss a thing.

Using PTO for a few therapy days or lengthening a vacation are great ways to use this benefit. But many nurses don’t use PTO like that.

Though PTO is one of the most valuable benefits a nurse can have, it may be the benefit that is most underused.

Many nurses may save up their PTO hours for use in the future or cash PTO hours in when they leave their current employer. But that could be years down the road — years where those PTO days (and dollars) are collecting dust. In the meantime, nurses are working hard without cashing in on the benefit that PTO can provide.

With Sorbet, you don’t have to wait to cash in on unused PTO.

Access the cash value of your PTO today instead of waiting until you leave your job. It’s easy! Schedule a demo today to see how it works.

#2: Wellness and Mental Health Services

According to the Nursing CE Central 2021 Nurse Burnout Study, 95% of nurses reported feeling burnt out in the last three years. Burnout among nurses and other health practitioners especially escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, nurse burnout was at 15.6%, but during COVID-19, it skyrocketed to 62%.

Because of the high rates of burnout among nurses, employers are seeing the value of investing in the mental health and physical wellness of their nurses.

Wellness and mental health benefits may include:

  • Gym memberships

  • Counseling services

  • Access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

  • Wellness incentives

When work stress becomes heightened or personal issues begin to feel overwhelming, a nurse’s work performance may suffer. Mental health and wellness services can help nurses cope by providing stress relief or reduction strategies and by helping them navigate work and stress to create a better work and life balance.

#3: Tuition Assistance

Tuition assistance is especially helpful for:

  • Nurses earning RN degrees

  • Nurses who wish to earn advanced degrees

  • Continuing education (CE) requirements

If you want to become a nurse, you’ll need an ADN or BSN degree, which can cost between $3,000 to $100,000 depending on which degree you pursue and whether you attend a public or private institution. Receiving tuition assistance or a tuition discount is a huge perk to make nursing school more affordable.

The same goes for advanced degrees like Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). Those advanced degrees can take up to eight years to complete and can cost up to $100,000.

Nurses must receive training at various levels, and many nurses are required to complete so many hours of continuing education to retain their licenses. Some employers may pay for all or a portion of these costs.

#4: Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity and paternity leave may be included in the broad category of family leave. Family leave may also include time off to care for sick family members.

Though not all healthcare companies provide paid maternity and paternity leave, more and more companies are beginning to add this benefit. According to the BLS survey mentioned above, family leave for nurses increased from 82% to 92% from 2010 to 2020. And 36% of nurses receive family leave, as compared to 21% of all workers.

Not only does this give moms a chance to recover from birth and regain their strength, but it also gives both moms and dads time to bond with their newborns.

Whether it’s maternity/paternity leave or leave to care for ill family members, this non-salary benefit can be a huge relief when it comes to managing family and personal responsibilities.

#5: Overtime Pay

Most nurses join the healthcare workforce because of their interest in the healthcare industry and their desire to serve patients.

Though financial earnings aren’t the primary motivator for most nurses, it doesn’t hurt that nurses earn excellent salaries, averaging $78,459 per year for RNs.

Add the benefit of overtime pay, and motivated nurses can earn even more — an average of $11,250 per year.

#6: Relocation Assistance

Moving to another location for work can be expensive, so offering relocation assistance is a smart way for healthcare facilities to attract quality nurses. Of course, the relocation package will vary depending on employers and the state, but relocation benefits may include:

  • Storage costs

  • Professional moving costs

  • Temporary housing stipends

  • Permanent housing location assistance

#7: Sign-on Bonuses

Sign-on bonuses are another way to draw in top nursing talent. With the nursing shortage resulting in high demand for nurses, healthcare facilities may offer sign-on bonuses to nurses who commit to a job contract for a certain amount of time.

Of course, bonus amounts and stipulations vary depending on the facility, but sign-on bonuses can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $25,000.

Before accepting a sign-on bonus, do your research to make sure it’s legit. Some organizations may pull from your base salary and call it a sign-on bonus. Take the time to compare the average nursing salaries for your specific field and location to make sure the sign-on bonus is really a bonus. Any sign-on bonus should be beyond your average annual salary.

And while we’re talking about bonuses, hospitals may also offer other types of bonuses, including:

  • Shift bonuses

  • Critical bonuses

  • Referral bonuses

  • Completion bonuses

  • Annual bonuses

How Nurses Can Enhance Their Financial Wellness With Sorbet

Without a doubt, accured PTO is valuable. It can either be used to take some extra days off work, or it can be cashed in for the monetary value of a day’s work. Either way, you don’t want to lose it — that would be like throwing money down the drain.

What if you already have more vacation days than you know what to do with? How can you take advantage of the PTO you’ve accrued to enhance employee benefits and better align your work-life balance?

Here are some ideas:

  • Rather than feeling forced to use the days, you could cash them in and use the extra funds to treat yourself. Go by that new outfit you’ve been eyeing or that new piece of furniture that fits your vibe.

  • You could cash in those days and use the money toward the vacation you’ve already planned, splurging and making the vacation a luxurious one.

Sorbet is the solution to advancing the unused portion of your PTO. Instead of just having your unused days just sit there, unlock and utilize them.

Many nurses are unaware that they have so much money wrapped up in their unused PTO. Sorbet can help them learn about their locked-up compensation and take that money and use it now — instead of at some unknown point in the future.

Many nurses are taking advantage of Sorbet and loving it. To get on board, check out Sorbet’s PTO solutions today.

FAQs About Benefits for Nurses

Do Nurses Get Health Insurance?

Yes, many nurses receive health insurance benefits from their employers, which may include:

  • Dental

  • Vision

  • Prescription drugs

  • Medical health insurance

The type and level of health insurance offered will vary from facility to facility, but according to the BLS, 91% of nurses receive health benefits compared to 73% of all other workers.

Some nurses may need to pay a portion of the health coverage while others may not be required to pay anything — and those benefits may be available to their dependents as well.

Do Nurses Get Retirement Packages?

Yes, many nurses receive retirement packages, which may include options like:

  • 401(k)

  • 403(b)

  • TSP

  • Pension plans

Healthcare facilities may offer plans that allow nurses to contribute some of their salary toward retirement savings. Additionally, employers may also match contributions, further growing retirement accounts.

Time Is Money! Spend It With Sorbet

Instead of waiting to use your PTO cash when you leave the company, Sorbet makes a way for you to assess the cash value of your PTO as you accrue it.

You’ll pay a small monthly interest payment and then repay the full amount either at the end of the term or when you receive your payout from your employer.

It’s super easy with these steps:

  1. Use Sorbet’s free calculator to calculate the value of your unused PTO.

  2. Apply. There’s no risk when applying, and you can change your mind during the application process.

  3. Get paid. You’ll receive your funds on a prepaid Sorbet Visa card.

Improve your financial health with a Sorbet PTO advance and spend your hard-earned cash now rather than later.


We are thrilled that our product is helping nurses take hard-earned time off. Here is a testimony from a nurse that utilizes Sorbet’s PTO cash advance to take a memorable and well-deserved vacation.

“With staffing shortages still high, it is almost impossible for nurses to use all of their PTO during the year. When the chance to take some time off does come up, we need to jump at that opportunity and get the most we can out of it. Thanks to Sorbet, I was able to use some of my PTO to plan a vacation and cash out some of it so that I could cram as much fun into that time as possible. This money was used to build memories with my family which is invaluable because kids grow up quick. You don’t want to miss that time working doubles trying to save for a great vacation when there are tools available to help you live that dream now.' 

-Naomi Riley-Walker, Registered Nurse

Naomi Riley-Walker, Registered Nurse

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