While it may be tempting to accept a low-paying job because you’re a new college graduate or attempting to break into a certain specialty, this decision will ultimately hurt you in more ways than one.

1. Hurting Yourself

No one is happy or satisfied at their job if they feel cheated and underpaid. In turn, harboring feelings of unhappiness will most likely come across through your communications with patients and your daily interaction with friends and family.

With that said, an employer who underpays you will never catch up with what you deserve to earn. Raises are usually a percentage of what you’re currently being paid (typically 3-5% annually). This means that if you’re already far below the curve, a 3% salary increase each year will never be enough to allow you to make up the difference. If you believe that your employer will significantly increase your salary once you’ve demonstrated what you can bring to the table, you’re wrong! Most stingy employers will only get used to their profit margin and be very resistant to change.

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There are also cases in which tight-fisted employers have earned a bad reputation among their peers. When it comes time for you to change jobs, you may find yourself unfairly tainted by association.

2. Hurting Your Patients

Most likely, if you’re currently underpaid, you’re handing in your resignation papers as soon a better-paying job comes along. When this happens, there’s no continuity of care, and your patients suffer.

3. Hurting Your Profession

Whether you’re a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner, accepting a below-average salary ultimately damages both professions as a whole. Settling for less than you deserve creates an environment in which employers will expect to pay all PAs and NPs poorly. These practices often become a revolving door for new graduates as they gain experience and leave for (supposedly) better-paying employers.

In addition, patient care suffers, and the underpaying physician becomes bitter to PAs and NPs, labeling them “job-hoppers” with no sense of loyalty.

As advanced trained and skilled medical professionals, all NPs and PAs must stand united and refuse to accept under-compensation. Don’t allow your professions to be abused by taking a payment package out of line with what the market deems appropriate.

Ms. Jacobson practices dermatology in Lancaster, Pa. She is also the owner of Strategic Medical Consulting, LLC and PAprofession.com.