Do Nurses Earn Big Money? You Decide. - page 32

Am I the only one who becomes at least mildly irritated whenever a random individual finds out that someone is a nurse and proceeds to say, "You're rolling in the big bucks!" To keep things... Read More

  1. by   GM2RN
    I agree it depends on where you live and your definition of "rolling in dough." I make enough for one person to support a family through high school as long as there are no great needs out of the ordinary, but my income would not pay for college. My personal situation is such that I support a son with extraordinary medical needs and a granddaughter, so I need to work OT to provide for everything and have no retirement savings.

    If looking only at the amount of yearly income for the average nurse, then nurses make a somewhat above average income in my opinion, but are certainly not "rolling in the dough" since that implies to me a well above average income that would allow for a nice house, 2 nice cars, college for at least 2 kids, and retirement savings for both parents.

    If you consider the knowledge that a nurse must have to do the job well, along with the responsibility, accountability, and personal risk that comes with the job for most nurses, then they do NOT get paid enough!
  2. by   FunnyPants
    It may be "big money" for those who have tax write offs, such as a home for example. I can't look at the breakdown of my paystub without feeling a little helpless. Wishing that i hadn't spent so much on an RN education.
  3. by   LeeAnne51
    I do believe that some nurses can earn big money......I have been nursing for About 14 years and I make without overtime 90k a year working in long term care
  4. by   TraumaKittyRN
    Do nurses make big money? No. That's not to say that I don't feel that I take home a pretty decent paycheck. That being said I am married with a spouse who makes a little more than I do and no kids so we are pretty darned comfortable. If you are like me, or single with few expenses a nurses salary can go a decent way. But in no way am I rolling in the dough! I also work long stressful nights, have no guaranteed holidays or weekends and am often in some situations that can be dangerous (needle sticks, violent patients, communicable diseases, etc). Overall I feel like nurses are paid adequately, but by no means do we make big money.
  5. by   johsonmichelle
    Earning big money is very subjective, now that I'm working as a new nurse I would say that nurses do not earn big money. I feel very sad for those who have taken out big loans for a nursing degree because they're in for a rude awakening.
  6. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from johsonmichelle
    Earning big money is very subjective, now that I'm working as a new nurse I would say that nurses do not earn big money. I feel very sad for those who have taken out big loans for a nursing degree because they're in for a rude awakening.
    Yep. I always tell those who ask that it would not be wise to take out more in loans than they can realistically expect to make in a year. And sometimes, even that doesn't work out- I've had so many hours cut lately that I'm struggling to make ends meet because I don't have the PTO to cover the low census hours.
  7. by   johsonmichelle
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    Yep. I always tell those who ask that it would not be wise to take out more in loans than they can realistically expect to make in a year. And sometimes, even that doesn't work out- I've had so many hours cut lately that I'm struggling to make ends meet because I don't have the PTO to cover the low census hours.
    I have the opposite problem, they already want me to start picking up overtime. I work for a ltc that is very very short staffed, it daily struggle for them to staff the facility each shift. I would rather not pick overtime because I won't see a real financial benefit since I work 40 hours a week and it would just go to taxes . Plus it seems like I'm making less money working at ltc than I would working at hospital.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    Yep. I always tell those who ask that it would not be wise to take out more in loans than they can realistically expect to make in a year. And sometimes, even that doesn't work out- I've had so many hours cut lately that I'm struggling to make ends meet because I don't have the PTO to cover the low census hours.
    Perhaps it may be time to obtain a PRN gig on the side?
  9. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Perhaps it may be time to obtain a PRN gig on the side?
    I already have a non-nursing gig on the side. Unfortunately, with my unpredictable call requirements anything with a schedule is a no-go. I am working on a whole new place of employment though.
  10. by   brownbook
    "Sherman's first discovery about the wealthy is that they don't want to talk to her. One woman begs off, saying she's "swamped" with her children; Sherman subsequently learns that the kids are at camp. Most have family incomes of more than five hundred thousand dollars a year, and about half have incomes of more than a million dollars a year or assets of more than eight million dollars, or both. (At least, this is what they tell Sherman; after a while, she comes to believe that they are underreporting their earnings.)

    A second finding Sherman makes, which perhaps follows from the first, is that the privileged prefer not to think of themselves that way. One woman, who has an apartment overlooking the Hudson, a second home in the Hamptons, and a household income of at least two million dollars a year, tells Sherman that she considers herself middle class Another woman with a similar household income, mostly earned by her corporate-lawyer husband, describes her family's situation as "fine."

    "I mean, there are all the bankers that are heads and heels, you know, way above us," she says. A third woman, with an even higher household income-two and a half million dollars a year-objects to Sherman's use of the word "affluent."
    " ‘Affluent' is relative," the woman observes. Some friends of hers have recently flown off on vacation on a private plane. "That's affluence," she says."

    The above is from an article in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert: Feeling Low The Psychology of Inequality.

    Plumbers deserve more money than nurses. Good sanitation saves more lives, prevents illness, than nurses and doctor who are treating illness after the fact.

    When we were first married I always tried to roughly plan a budget. We had a whole $25.00 extra left over each month after basic bills were paid. We weren't in section 8 housing, but it was a means tested apartment complex. It was kind of fun, and we managed. I still remember the excitement of being able to afford a pizza once a while.

    Talk about welfare. My husband is a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine). He fought in Viet Nam, had a relatively (in the whole big scheme of injuries) minor gunshot injury. The money and benefits the Veterans Administration gives him, us, for that injury...I am embarrassed to receive the benefits, but not so stupid that I am going to refuse it!

    A friend said everybody receives "welfare" benefits in one form or another. The rich get tax write offs, put all their money in trusts for their children, the poor get welfare, big business get tax cuts, "and the beat goes on".
  11. by   applewhitern
    I haven't had a pay raise in 4 years. As everything else gets higher and higher, my income gets smaller and smaller. My health insurance premiums have doubled, and pays much less. My deductibles have risen dramatically.
  12. by   Buckeye.nurse
    Nurses are definitely part of the shrinking (and struggling) middle class. We are the link between 2 increasingly unequal extremes in America. On one side we have the working poor, such as Carla, who don't earn a livable wage, and only survive due to government assistance in one form or another. Between Carla and many nurses we have the working class that many forget about. They earn too much for government assistance (think $13/hr to $18/hr), but still struggle to meet all their financial obligations with the growing cost of living.

    Above nurses, (who top out at around $95,000/yr at my employer working 36 hours a week...a little overtime easily bumps that to $110,000), are the professional upper middle class....these are the lawyers, administrators, successful physicians, and engineers that we think of as "rich". The extremely wealthy that Brownbook mentions in her article (those making multi-millions) tend to stay hidden. They use the 150,000-250,000 income bracket as a shield, and cry about how affected that category will be when tax adjustments are mentioned in Congress.

    A completely different arm of the argument is the one that ApplewhiteRN brought up. I've been a nurse since before the crash in 2008. I remember the days of a 3-4% merit raise per year, plus a cost of living adjustment every other year. Our health insurance was affordable, and being admitted to the hospital was a flat $250 co-pay....MUCH different than what we have to budget for today.

    None of this probably will change though. I *do* feel lucky to be making a very solid middle class salary. I work 4 hours of overtime per week, and brought home enough last year to stay on budget, pay extra on the mortgage, put away a decent chunk of savings, pay for some small remodeling around the house, and fund a vacation. We need to find a balance where we don't turn a complacent eye to inequality (vote people!), but still enjoy the life we've been given to live.
  13. by   NurseSpeedy
    I had to laugh when I was working with a CNA who was really interested in watching and observing some of the procedures that we do as nurses. Not because she was interested, but because of what she said later.

    I asked if she was in nursing school. Her response was, "Hopefully next semester. I love my job and all but I can't live on $9/hr. $30/hr would make things sooo much easier". She has the similar living situation from the article. I laughed because she had some strange idea that she would graduate from nursing school, transition to RN with our current employer, and be making $30/hr as a new grad....Oh, she's in for a shocker. I just whispered to her that no hospital in our area pays new grads anywhere near that...it would be many years before she'd see that unless she worked agency (which requires a minimum of 1 year experience).

    Where the hell the public is getting our supposed pay rates is beyond me. Unless their just going by what they hear for California-which then they have to look at the cost of living...

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