Another question about nursing salaries

  1. Why do nurses think that nursing salaries are so terrible? Around my metropolitian area, new nurses can start at 25-27 dollars an hour. That is at least $50,000 per year. Conversely, many of my friends who just graduated with degrees in biology and chemistry are lucky if they are making $40,000 per year. In fact, many of them continued on to grad school because they couldn't even find jobs, and as a nurse I will certainly not have that problem. Granted, my friends who are engineers make more, but I don't think $50,000 is anything to grumble over. Yet, I have heard many nurses say that they are not paid comparable salaries to other college educated professions. I realize that nurses in rural areas don't make this much, but then just about all salaries are lower in rural areas than metropolitan areas. Please don't flame me, I'm just interested in hearing everyone's thoughts and opinions on this. Maybe I'm just naively optimistic because I'm still a student.
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  2. 81 Comments

  3. by   fab4fan
    Once you are working, you'll see...YOU are responsible if the doctor screws up the med order and you don't catch it...YOU will be coaching the baby docs through codes, only to watch a family thank that baby doc later for "saving Grannie's life"...abuse from just about everyone...risk of harm to yourself from the latter, plus the crazy diseases people come in with...working off shifts/weekends/holidays (yeah, maybe you get a differential, maybe you don't...watching other people's salaries go up, while you hit a ceiling and don't make more after 10y...seeing new grads come in making more than you, who have 5, 10, 15, 20+ years of experience...like I said, you'll see.

    Money has to be way down on considerations for going into this profession...your remuneration is more difficult to quantify. No flames here.:spin:
  4. by   imenid37
    in awhile, you'll learn even if you made 75-10k it would not be enough to keep most people in this profession too long. it is very difficult. i am not whining but simply stating fact. after almost 16 yrs. i can truly say, it's no cake walk to be responsible for someone's life and to have to answer to management, pt, family, God,yourself (usually your own worst critic) and the drs. and pharmacy (who belive they are God). when you have been working for a couple of years and precept a new grad who has a several thousand dollar sign-on bonus and know your salary figures to less than theirs, you won't be so happy w/ your paycheck either my friend. good luck in your career. sorry to sound cynical, i really do wish you well.
  5. by   TX Guy
    Emerald

    I agree with you, Pay in my area is good for nurses also, great even! And I've still heard nurses here complain about it.

    Obvously there is other problems besides pay.
    Pay is probably not the main reason your gonna be a nurse anyway.
    Your probably gonna be a nurse because your an honerable person.
    Stick with it, sounds like you know what your doing.
  6. by   EmeraldNYL
    I totally agree that you can't go into nursing for the money. However, I certainly don't think the money in nursing is as bad as a lot of nurses make it out to be. It seems as though some nurses think that raising salaries will magically fix all the problems that nursing has-- like lack of autonomy and respect. It will be interesting to see in the next few years of this nursing shortage how those issues are dealt with and if any of them change. Personally, I see the current shortage as an opportunity for nurses to use their barganing power to change the things that they are displeased with.
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    Yah, em, I thought that too when I was in school.

    But....the Real World awaits. Good Luck.
  8. by   sphinx
    hmmmm, well, I don't live in a rural area. I work in a decent sized city, with 2 major hospitals, 2 smaller hospitals, and several smaller ones in outlying areas. Not to mention 2 large home health agencies, and many smaller ones, and zillions of SNF, assisted living etc.....Starting salaries for new grads here run around 15-16$/hr. At least 3 colleges that I can think of here offer BSN, and 2 offer ADN. We have 1 LPN program in town, but no diploma programs. The strating salaries I mantion are for RNs, the same for either BSN or ADN.And yes, we are making less than what those with comparable degrees make. I myself have 7 yrs of experience and make 19$ and hour, which is considered *good*. When I worked at the hospital affiliated with the local teaching university (which is well known in many areas, has a nusring program including several masters programs and doctorate program, also has med school), I was a nurse who worked there the same amount of time as my husband worked in the university side doing computer work. He made 25% more than me, had more vacation time, more sick time, more perks all around. Granted, I didn't go into nursing for the money, but if I made 50,000 a year out of school, plus increases since then, then perhaps I wouldn't complain about money! The cost of living here isn't outrageous, but it isn't cheap either. It would be nice to have money to do some extras besides just pay rent and pay for the car, and if it weren't for my husband, we would be living paycheck to paycheck. There's a lot of emotional rewards to nursing, but it can be frustrating when you are working so hard, and get so little recognition (not only financially, but in other ways...ie pt's always give their docs 100% of the credit, it seems, even if you are by their bedside doing all you can for hours at a time, when the doc buzzes by for 5 minutes and pats ya on the hand or some such nonsense.)
    BTW, not meant as a "flame", just a hot spot for me, esp as I've been working so much overtime in the past year or so, and usually not getting a thing out of it but a headache.
  9. by   ratchit
    1) Nurses start out with equal or higher salaries than new grads in other fields, but our salaries don't increase much after that. My sweetie and I got out of school the same year. I made a couple thousand a year more than he did at first (working shorthanded, 3-11 and 11-7, weekends and holidays, and mandatory OT- not Mon-Fri 9-5 like him.) 7 years later, he makes at least $15K a year more than I do and still has his sweet schedule. Our raises are usually set percentages and less than 5% a year. People in other fields receive raises that are linked more to their performace and also get some nice perks as incentives.

    2) I think nurses deserve to be paid more because our responsibilities have increased exponentially just in the last 5-10 years. We're doing more, we should be paid more. But I think a HUGE part of the reason that nurses want more money is that in the workplace, money is closely linked to respect. Working conditions often suck, to put it mildly. We get terrible schedules that are put out at the last minute, get stuck working OT, do the lion's share of patient care, yet people think doctors save them, not us. Nurses feel disrespected by doctors, the public, by administration, and often by our patients and their families.

    Money is nice and I do think we deserve more. But what we really want is respect for what we do and the best way to say my contribution to healthcare is valued is to show me the money.

    I know that sounds somewhat crass. But when people in other fields say they deserve more money, no one says "you're paid enough for what you do." If we're going to be seen as professionals, we should demand compensation just like all other fields do.
  10. by   On-z-go-nurse
    Why is it when a nurse even mentions money we are made to feel like hookers but no one has a problem when they call their doctors office and the first question you are asked is not "what is wrong with you?" but "what insurace do you have?" And yet they get all the hero worship..excuse me, did I say hero...I meant to say GOD! There are things nurses do that people on FEAR FACTOR wouldnt even think of doing! Ok but that is another trend so Ill get off this one. No flames thrown here;-)
  11. by   fab4fan
    This is one of those things that, until you've actually been in the situation, you really can't understand it completely.

    I admire your idealism about taking advantage of the "shortage"...problem is, as stated earlier, there is no actual shortage, just a lot of nurses who won't work in hospitals due to being taken advantage of, even outright abused.

    I think you to some degree be seeing things in rose colored glasses. There's nothing wrong with being an optimist, but understand that many of us have been trying to improve conditions for nurses for a long time, and haven't always been rewarded for that.
  12. by   EmeraldNYL
    Ratchit, thank you for the thoughtful insight. Why are nursing salaries stagnating after a few years of employment? Also, why do salaries seem to vary so much depending on your geographical area? I certainly don't think nurses are "hookers" for asking for more money, but on the other hand, I don't think that more money automatically equals more respect.
  13. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by On-z-go-nurse
    Why is it when a nurse even mentions money we are made to feel like hookers
    HA! God, isn't that the truth.

    Emerald, most nurses DON'T start at 50K. Around the country, the average nurse's salary peaks and plateaus in the mid-40's. Which is not a great deal higher than where most of us started.

    Bus drivers make more than we do. I have posted this before, but when I started my first nursing job, post-BSN, in an ICU--my pay was exactly what it had been during my college summer job as a flagger on a road construction crew--for which I had to take a 4-hour class to qualify.

    It's about more than being paid enough to live on. It's about being paid what we're worth, and what is commensurate with our education, experience and level of responsibility.
  14. by   nursechris1
    I have been a nurse for 9 years, I am now up to $20 an hour, which is almost at the top of my pay scale.
    My husband, who has no college (learned his trade in the military) Makes at least 15K more a year, has much better benefits, gets 12 + holidays a year, and gets time and a half for Saturdays and double time for Sundays. But, I do love my job.
    I guess I would like to see better benefits

    ie: I am a Hospice Nurse, and our insurance only has a $3000 lifetime benefit for hospice, which would not go very far. I pray I don't become deathly ill!!

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