Deflating Moment for a Soon to be New Grad

  1. I was at the dentist yesterday getting my teeth cleaned. My dentist was asking me about school and stuff, telling me that his wife was also an RN, and had been such since the 70's. Anyway, he asked me, "How much do new grads start out making out of school?" I told him that that typical offer in this area was $19 to start. He snorted and said, "You went to the wrong school."

    I was puzzled until he told me that fresh-out of school dental hygenists start out at $35 on up. The dental hygenist that was sitting on the other side of my chair is nodding in agreement. Then, my dentist proceeds to vent on how poorly nurses are paid considering all the responsibilities they carry. Life or death choices we make, and someone who cleans teeth makes more. I swear, that man went on a tangent that lasted a good 10 minutes...furious at how unfair nurses were treated.

    I know that nurses don't do the work for the money, but mostly that they love the work. However, it is pretty deflating when society puts a greater price tag on a white smile, than healing the sick.
    •  
  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I lasted one day as a hygienist's assistant. There's some nasty mouths out there, and it would take more than 35/hour to make me want to look at that EVERY single DAY!

    (As for the dentist's snort, offer him a Kleenex next time )
  4. by   newgrad2004
    It is true, I nearly went into hygiene school. They do make that amount. BUT they have nothing to do but scrape teeth all day long. B-O-R-I-N-G, and carpel tunnel is very high risk for them. I was an RDA, and I thought I would be a hygienist my whole life. But after talking to one 6 mo out of school, who was tired of it, I changed my mind. In nursing if you dont like one field, you can easily go into another, and also there are plently of nurses whom I know who make nearly 40 an hour (after alot of time in), but they can also make as much or as little as they want. I know some who do hospital, and home health. And make bank. I also know of another who does home health and works 4 hours a day and makes 300, doing wound care. Please!! Im lining up for that job. I also know of new grads who graduated and did travel nursing an hour away and made 100 k thier first year. But that included alot of over time. But its all what you want. I know I will spend my time learning everything I can then I will go to a specialty floor, or ED, and I eventually would like to be a flight nurse. Yes base pay isnt so great. In my area which is lower cost of living they are acutally paying nearly 22/hr with a 3/hr shift differential. So not so bad for a new grad. I may put in a day or 2 in the hospital an hour away just to make more money and for experience. But after you get in your time, you can travel and be paid nicely to do so. DO you want to scrape teeth? If you do, go for it. Myself I like the different options of nursing. I have talked many out of going thru hygiene. It makes more sense, atleast to me.





    Quote from Headhurt
    I was at the dentist yesterday getting my teeth cleaned. My dentist was asking me about school and stuff, telling me that his wife was also an RN, and had been such since the 70's. Anyway, he asked me, "How much do new grads start out making out of school?" I told him that that typical offer in this area was $19 to start. He snorted and said, "You went to the wrong school."

    I was puzzled until he told me that fresh-out of school dental hygenists start out at $35 on up. The dental hygenist that was sitting on the other side of my chair is nodding in agreement. Then, my dentist proceeds to vent on how poorly nurses are paid considering all the responsibilities they carry. Life or death choices we make, and someone who cleans teeth makes more. I swear, that man went on a tangent that lasted a good 10 minutes...furious at how unfair nurses were treated.

    I know that nurses don't do the work for the money, but mostly that they love the work. However, it is pretty deflating when society puts a greater price tag on a white smile, than healing the sick.
  5. by   newgrad2004
    Oh LPN2Be Did I mention when I was an RDA, I did an impression on a person who i SWORE I would be doing an extraction on if I did an impression? They had no bone left around their teeth and the teeth were hanging by a thread. They had so much loose cr*p in thier mouth when I looked at the impression (which incidently i didnt remove any teeth, mucht o my surprise) I nearly tossed my lunch? It is disscusting. The smell of rotten, or even a drill drilling out decay which is throughout the whole office somedays is so bad, reminds you of your cadaver days.
  6. by   newgrad2004
    oh one more thing, yes for what little they have to know of the anatomy, and what they have to do in thier jobs, they are highly over paid. But there is a shortage of them too. Get enough of them out there and that to will decrease. The dentist HATE paying that, trust me I know. But with health care people are living longer needing more nurses all the time, the demand is going to just get greater.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    Ouch. But I'm sure the dentist is speaking from his wife's POV too and has watched her struggle. If I were starting out again, I would definitely consider the hygeinist role more than likely. Nasty parts of the job no doubt but better hours and pay.
  8. by   RedSox33RN
    There was an article in one of our state newspapers a few months ago about the shortage of dental hygenists, and they can command $60+/hr for "seasoned" hygenists. New grads upwards of $40/hr.

    But, I'd rather clean bottoms than look in the NASTAY mouths of some people. Bad breath just heebs me out. Give me spurting blood and other bodily functions any day over that! :chuckle
  9. by   AlaskaKat
    Quote from LPN2Be2004
    I lasted one day as a hygienist's assistant. There's some nasty mouths out there, and it would take more than 35/hour to make me want to look at that EVERY single DAY!
    I've always thought that would be one disgusting job! One time I started to tell my hygeinist that I thought it would be pretty gross to have my hands in people's mouths all day long, but then I remembered what I do for a living (I'm a L&D nurse)
  10. by   RNKITTY04
    OMG I should have known better than to eat my dinner in front of the computer. YUCKO!!
  11. by   RNsweetie
    A girlfriend and fellow classmate of mine was a dental hygenist (~15years) prior to her career change. She developed carple tunnel and was forced to make the change.
    She will be taking a big pay cut.
  12. by   RNsweetie
    thanks AlaskaKat for the laugh!!! :chuckle
  13. by   roxannekkb
    I think the point of this discussion is really--why are dental hygienists paid so much more than nurses? A friend of mine who was a nurse went back to school for dental hygiene. Yes, I would find it disgusting, but then, nursing isn't exactly "clean" either (cleaning up pee, poop, puke, blood). And their hours are very regular.

    So why are they paid so much more than nurses? Why is almost everyone paid more than nurses? When I hear that some nurses are starting out making less than $20 an hour--it's ridiculous. The starting pay has barely budged in 20 years!
  14. by   cmbruno
    I am a new BSN grad (yeah) and I just had to respond to this dental hygienist issue. I am just outraged by the fact that someone who cleans teeth can make more than us - and require much less schooling to do it. We save lives - HELLO. My friend is graduating hygeine school and is starting off at 37/hr, while I landed my first job in CCU at 18/hr here in Austin, TX. Now I love nursing and would not change my career choice for anything, but come on people - something is wrong with this picture!!!

close