A Nurse's Lifestyle

  1. Okay, so I'm new on these boards and I'm not going to pretend like I know all about nursing because I really don't. However, I am learning.

    I have learned from reading around, that nurses don't get paid very much. Or at least, not as much as they should. So, my question is: as a nurse what kind of lifestyle can you afford? What kind of home do you live in? What kind of car do you drive? Do you get to go on vacations? Stuff like that. Do you feel as though you have all the things that you need?
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  2. 72 Comments

  3. by   Lauren3249
    Oh, btw, if you feel this topic is out of line... feel free to let me know. Like I said, I am new to these boards. So please correct me if need be.
  4. by   Truly_Blessed
    I cannot personally say...I am barely going to start nursing school. But some nurses i have talked to make more than their husbands. One in particular has a 3 bedroom home w/a swimming pool...it's what i would call nice, but not over the top. She drives a brand new Ford truck, not sure what kind it is. Her 3 kids always have nice clothing. BTW, her husband does not work. I think it has more to do with the way you manage your money, and living within your means. I see some nurses always crying about being broke, and others are as happy as can be with the money they have. I really think it all depends on the lifestyle a person chooses to have. Personally I think the nurses where I live make some pretty good money. Then again the cost of living isn't what I would call outrageously high either. I want to see what a nurse of more than a year or two says. I'm curious too.
  5. by   luckymichelle
    You can get some really good salary info at www.salary.com ... it's free, and you can get an idea of what RN's/LPN's/CNA's, etc make according to your area code. It seems to be pretty accurate from what I understand!
  6. by   zambezi
    I have been a nurse for about two years. 25 years old so I don't really have any prior income. Husband, no kids. I do make more that my husband does (and possibly my parents too). We just bought a brand new house and I bought a new car when I graduated. All of house furnishings are basically new as well. Plus we have lots of toys I feel that we have nice things...as the other poster said, not over the top of definately nice. We do have a fair amount of debt from school, etc but we are working on paying it off. I think that we could budget better but I do put money into a retirement plan...right now we are just having fun. I certainly could make more money but we definately can't complain...I also think that how you view what you have is dependent on how you grew up and where you are from. Just my two cents...The neat thing about nursing is if we want something, I can easily pick up more hours or an agency job for a couple of nights and bust out a a couple of hundred dollars to pay for something fun...sure it means more work but for us it is doable, I am sure that it may change when we start a family, but right now toys and putting in my front yard is fun.
  7. by   kimhaw
    Interesting question I am not a nurse yet but I know two RN's very good and they live very good. One is a sinlge mom live where the cost of living is high but not new york high. She has six kids drives a yukon denali, beautiful 4brm home and she is only 36 and single. So I would say that is great.
    The other nurse works in a large Memphis hospital but stays in a rural town outside of Memphis she and her husband both have brand new 2003 dodge hemi and 2003 seqouia and has one of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. You know how in some of the movies you have this long drive up to this big house with beautiful trees. That's her house. Also her husband does not work also. Keep in mind they stay in a rural town and did not go out a get all this stuff at once. They first stayed in a 800 sq ft. house then 8years and 3 kids later decided to buy their dream home.

    Both of these women will tell anyone that nursing is not about the money, you have to have a passion for it. These women both do are compensated pretty good.

    But on the lighter side I know alot of teen girls have saw these women inlcuding my teen sister and said I would like to be a nurse and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

    I am interested in what the Rn's have to say about their lifestyle.
  8. by   Spoiled1
    When my father was sick with cancer, he had a home health nurse who I asked this same question to. She has been in nursing for 9 yrs. She said that it is good money when you are starting out, ( no kids, family, etc). But as time goes on and your lifestyle changes then the money is not that good?? She also mentioned that the pay has been pretty much the same, not a lot of raises. That makes a difference too. I actually don't know. I have heard people say that "nurses do better(making money) than what people want to give them credit for". I honestly feel like they make an above average wage. Here in Charlotte, NC the starting pay is $40,000-$42,000. I could live great off of that. I figure I am going from $0 to $40,000. That's a lot to me!
  9. by   tiredfeetED
    Been out of school two years now...the money is good...but your right...not alot of raises out there...a dollar here and there! Where i live starting RN-ADN is $24, one year exp or BSN 25$ so on..max is 31 i believe and thats with many years and must obtain CCRN, CEN or Cert in your field. The real money is with overtime...I pick up 40/hr on weekday, 50/hr weekend. I work along side with a CNS (RN with masters) and she is top salary $31 or 32$. Not a huge diff in pay which is very wrong. So ave salary is 45,000. I tend to work my norm 3 a week then pick up one extra. That is a comfortable wage..but far from great!
  10. by   studentNY
    I have been home for 15 years raising kids. Start RN program in sept. I can NOT wait to get a paycheck. Husband works very hard, but on Long Island things are CRAZY expensive, nutty. Any $$$ will help!!!:chuckle
  11. by   mrdoc2005
    Has most have said the average is around $40k. To me that is not great. However, 50% of the working population makes less than 18K a year. (Suzie Orman, The Suzie Orman Show) When you consider that it sound better.
    One must also consider the job market right now. For example, my best friend graduated from Auburn last May and just found his first job two months ago. Now he did start at 30K but he is living in a high cost area. My point being we do not have to sit around looking for work; they are looking for us.
  12. by   New CCU RN
    I am two years out in the working field as a nurse. Right now other than my fellow nursing graduates, I am making the most of any of my friends who I graduated with. I am twenty three years old and my only responsibility right now is my dog. I have enough money saved up to buy a home pretty soon and I drive a nice car. I have spare money to splurge on things and I take a vacation at least once a year to somewhere new.

    That being said, I am making about 10-15k less than fellow nurses who have been in the field for 20 years. These same nurses have children to raise. So I do agree that while you start off with a very nice wage --- there is little growth from that wage. Which is quite different than other professions where your salary grows exponentially with experience.

    There are of course options to raise your salary -- going back to school for a master's, or doing agency to pick up shifts. My hospital also has a supplemental program where the nurses are floaters and they make 22 dollars more than their RN matrix... so say they would be making 23 working in the ICU -- if they are willing to float everyday to various units they will make 45 dollars an hour. They do not get benefits but if a nurse was on their spouse's health insurance and invested in their own 401k/ira to plan for retirement than it isnt such a big deal.

    There is also plenty of OT and agency jobs... so basically it is good in that you make what you work for. While some jobs you are salaried yet spend 60 hrs a week there --- in nursing if you work 60 hrs a week you are gonna get paid OT.....

    I do agree that it is also budgeting and prioritizing. However, I can imagine it must be pretty hard to raise kids at least in my area solely on a nurse's income. Many people I know do it -- but there are sacrifices.... However, nursing at the same time makes it easier to have a two income family with the flexibility of scheduling.
  13. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from LBHOTGIRL99
    When my father was sick with cancer, he had a home health nurse who I asked this same question to. She has been in nursing for 9 yrs. She said that it is good money when you are starting out, ( no kids, family, etc). But as time goes on and your lifestyle changes then the money is not that good?? She also mentioned that the pay has been pretty much the same, not a lot of raises. That makes a difference too. I actually don't know. I have heard people say that "nurses do better(making money) than what people want to give them credit for". I honestly feel like they make an above average wage. Here in Charlotte, NC the starting pay is $40,000-$42,000. I could live great off of that. I figure I am going from $0 to $40,000. That's a lot to me!

    Nursing salaries are basically flat. A good friend of mine, an RN for 20 years, makes only $5.00 and hr more than she did 20 yrs ago. Many new grads make at or near what nurses with many years of experience make.

    When you add in sign-on bonuses which long term staff do not get, new grads can make more.

    Also, you never know how much debt people have gone into to get their nice house, cars, furniture, etc.
    Almost anyone can look like they make big bucks, by getting into debt!
  14. by   RNPATL
    As a single parent, I make a little over $43,000 a year. That is really not a great wage when you consider that I have 20 years of experience in nursing. Of course, it depends on where in the US you live and how the cost of living in that area is as well. It is tough raising a family on $43,000 a year, but I generally manage. The kids all have decent clothes, we live in a decent house, although I am renting and can not really afford to purchase right now. My goal was never to be rich, just to make enough to raise my kids and provide a decent lifestyle. I guess I am doing that so perhaps I should be happy.

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