An appropriate hourly rate of pay for a Registered Nurse at the bedside? - page 2

I know that cost of living is said to vary from one area to the next but with few exceptions the cost of living is actually comparable. I have lived or journeyed to many areas in the us and can... Read More

  1. by   Q.
    You know, maybe I am just dumb or perhaps "used' to getting paid low for what I am worth- but I don't think $80,000 a year for a bedside nurse is really appropriate. I know there are other jobs out there that make more - but perhaps then THEY should be paid LESS.

    Each job has it's own stress and level of responsibility that could be considered "high" related to that profession. Simply because someone doesn't make life or death decisions doesn't mean their job is less important than nursing.

    My husband is in a pretty high role in the IS field and doesn't make $80,000 - he makes decisions that effect the company's bottom dollar and investment activity - which is about as important to that company as life is to an individual Joe.

    I think as nurses our perceptions are skewed, and rightfully so, as NOTHING will ever be as important than a life or death situation at the bedside. I worked in an insurance company and could not get as "stressed" about what stresses them on a daily basis as I could about the stresses of nursing - simply because of of my perception of stress.

    And this opinion is coming from a RN who makes $16.75/hour.
  2. by   nurs4kids
    I agree 100% with Suzy. If we ask for unrealistic salaries, then we will be laughed out of the profession. We MUST remain realistic in what we seek, or we will definitely never get ANY improvement.
  3. by   Q.
    Hey Tracy-
    Glad to hear I'm not the only screwed up one out there! I agree, if we demand $80,000 a year we WILL be laughed right out of the profession. Hell, I even laughed when I saw that figure.

    We need to be realistic here.
  4. by   wildtime88
    Here is realism for you. I have made 35 an hour plus had free housing, health insurance many times working as a bedside nurse. No one was laughing me out the door. Many other nurses are doing this as well. They are not being laughed out the door. The offers are still there for us to pick and choose from.

    The sad part is, the only people who laugh about this are the nurses who are making this. We work along side of other experienced nurses making far less and have to laugh sometimes when we here comments like yours. We have to laugh because we know for a fact that you could make it too. You could even do it without having to travel away from home. You just have to demand it as a group.
  5. by   Q.
    Wild-
    If travel nursing was so attractive to you, tell me, why are you looking into real estate?
  6. by   wildtime88
    You do not have to travel to make this kind of money in many places in the U.S.

    As for real estate, better money better hours, less headaches, better working conditions. Do I need to say more?
  7. by   Q.
    Maybe it's regional, but I do not know any bedside nurse making $80,000 a year unless they are travelers. Obviously traveling isn't all that, Wild, because you left it to go for real estate. Why? Better hours, you say. No call, you say. No holidays, you say. Well...sounds like the $80,000 isn't worth it after all. Sounds like being able to live your life is what is important.
  8. by   wildtime88
    If I can make $80,000 either way, then what would you choose.

    Wold you rather work hard or smart?

    I hate to burst your bubble, but between $30 and $40 dollars an hour as local agency is not that uncommon in many areas of the country. In fact in some area the pay can go to $45 and hours and more for ACLS trained nurses.

    Believe me, no one is laughing them out the door right now.
  9. by   Q.
    $30/hour with an agency is not uncommon no - but that's not $80,000 a year is it? Not to mention, by us, our agency nurses get cancelled alot and they are basically worthless to us - because they can't circulate or scrub in for C-sections so we usually have to call in our own staff to take over. Now we are paying a nurse $30/hour to basically do nothing.

    I had stated that I don't know any bedside nurse making $80,000 unless they are travelers. And I'm sorry, but there is a price to pay with traveling. Life is not all about money.

    Also, if bedside nurses would make $80,000 - what does that leave for nurses in administration, or research, or those who are educators? Are you saying that those roles in nursing aren't as important as the bedside? If so, that is a dangerous opinion to hold.
  10. by   nurs4kids
    Couple other things:

    #1. Wild, you keep speaking of free housing, yet every agency I've researched deducts housing from your pay. In my book, that ain't free.

    #2. If everyone went agency, we'd price ourselves right out of a profession. It'd be impossible for many healthcare providers to stay afloat paying the high cost of agency nurses. You only make the big bucks because you're one of the few, the proud...those with no family, no roots.

    #3. Hypothetical situation: Majority of exsisting nurse goes agency. We all get (I'll go low) $70k/year plus this free housing I keep hearing of. Then healthcare starts screaming broke, federal govt passes even MORE legislation to flood the market with new grads (which is easy because NOW the average salary for RNs ='s $70k/yr..looks great to a kid). So, 2-4 yrs down the road, the field is flooded with nurses, again. Won't be much need for agency nurses. All those nurses that left their regular jobs for agency now return to regular jobs. "Sorry, due to the market flooding of nurses we can't pay you what you left here making, Ms. I'm gonna get rich doing agency, BUT, I'm sure you'll be back to that pay rate in a few years."


    I'm all for increasing salaries; mine suxs. BUT, we must remain realistic. I'm like susy, I have no desire to do travel nursing. I have kids, hubby...you don't just snatch everyone up and say.."but the money's at the end of that rainbow..". Stability means alot.

    We can only use that "we hold their lives in our hands" line so much. If the guy at Mc D's doesn't cook the burger enough, doesn't keep the meat fresh...IF the electrician doesn't wire the traffic lights correctly...IF the buyer doesn't order the needed medical supplies..etc. All those have the potential to be life-threatening.

    Anyhow, I'd love a big whopping $35k/yr raise, but I think it's a bit unrealistic and I'd honestly feel like a thief. I'd be much happier with $30/hr...and would still feel a little guilty (BUT I'm not trying to handle a 15:1 ratio!).

    I don't think you can judge a fair salary for nursing. There's so many factors: specialities, experienced/non-experienced, cost of living, nurse patient ratio, etc. There is no magic number.....
  11. by   wildtime88
    All I can say is that $35 or more an hour is not uncommon in some areas of the country for agency nurses. And many times this has nothing to do with a high cost of living.

    If you are paying a nurse to do nothing well then who's fault is that? How about an orientation or change in hospital or floor policy?

    There are agency nurses who work in surgery and I bet that they do not get paid for doing nothing.

    No I never said anything about the value of a bedside nurse, but if you think about it when comparing them to research, teaching, and even administration then who actually has the most personal responsibilities. Who is actually there to personally insure the health of a patient. Who is most likely to get sued? Out of this group of nurses which one can you absolutely not do with out? Who do you believe is the backbone of the nursing profession?

    This whole conversation started because you stated that if nurses asked for 80k a year that they would be laughed out the door. Well guess what, some nurses already do and no one is laughing them out the door.
  12. by   wildtime88
    nurs4kids,

    First continue your research. There are many travel companies that pay for free housing. If you do not want the housing you can take the monthly stipend. There are also many married people who do work for travel companies. If you live near a big city that is in driving distance or even in an area where there are a number of hospitals within commuting distance, then you can pick up a travel assignment. There are also many nurses that are married with families that work for local agencies who make a lot of money.

    Now, wouldn't it actually be nice to have a hospital filled with nurses because pay and of course everything else was wonderful.

    So where would the money come to pay the nurses. Well this could come from a number of sources. The first source would be directly out of the pockets of the places we work. It could come from less money for CEO's and other higher ups salaries, bonuses, and perks. A reduction in the amount of money used for decorating offices, board rooms, and physicians dining facilities could help pay for it. Some of it could come from a reduction in travel that is paid for to retreats or other functions by having a room at the holiday inn or not flying first class. The other can come from the constant cost of building new buildings that really are not needed. And yes ultimately some would have to come by passing on the cost to the consumer. But there is much that can be said about how the hospitals could stop paying the high cost of supplies on anything that has medical stamped on them. You can buy the same kind of tape or cotton balls all day long for a third of the cost. The price goes up as soon as the word medical appears anywhere on the packaging. The funny thing is that the exact same person makes many times the product with the exact same process, but the packaging is changed. Pharmaceutical products is another thing that can be investigated. It has long been know that the same manufacturers sell the same products in Europe and other places far less than they sell them here for.
  13. by   Q.
    Wild-

    I would argue that bedside nursing is the backbone of the profession, as you put it.

    You could easily argue that the nurse educator is, because they MAKE new nurses. You could argue that the nurse researcher is, because they impact nursing PRACTICE. You could argue that adminstrative nurses are, because they make decisions that effect PATIENT CARE, nursing EDUCATION, etc.

    Again, bedside nursing isn't the most important role in nursing. Once you realize that, you won't feel justified in asking for $80,000 a year.

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