Do Nurses Earn Big Money? You Decide. - page 6

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

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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 honest, I’ll recall a few... Read More


  1. 5
    I think nurses get paid very well for the amount of education that they have. Not in many other professions can one make 60k their first year out of school. Sometimes I look at my union contract and think "I am part of what's wrong with healthcare in America." Double overtime, triple time holidays, large shift differentials, weekend bonuses, extra shift bonuses, and God help us if we don't get a raise every year... Don't get me wrong, I love these perks, but I do think nurses are more than adequately compensated. So yes, I guess to answer the question- nurses can make a good amount of money. Maybe not the "big bucks" but decent enough, I'd say! Hiding now, please don't hate!
    While you may get those perks many nurses do not. I work in a hospital with a union and we do not have double overtime ever. Actually the only thing we have is a fairly decent shift differential (4.00 if 50% or more of your shift is worked after 3pm). Just time and a half for overtime and holiday pay. I think I need to transfer and come to work with you
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 27, '12
  2. 2
    Quote from PMFB-RN
    *** Any student who said that in my hearing would be mentaly marked as a student to keep my eye on since they are likely an idiot.
    Yes, and you have to remember, it's not that nurses make soooo much money, it's that it's a job that pays better than the local convenience store or the Walmart.

    There are the two year ASN programs and the accelerated nursing programs. Why that's a fair amount less in terms of time and investment for the buck as compared with many other "professions" or occupations. To me, this is just another reason to support BSNs and advanced nursing education; b/c those that make the commitment in education are perhaps saying they are in it, at least hopefully, more for the right reasons.. . .maybe. . .hopefully. (This is something I worry about though with nurses that just want to spend a year or two in clinical nursing and then move right through an advanced practice nursing program to become a NP or CRNA. IMHO, those nurses are at a very distinct disadvantage, clinically speaking, but that's another story.)

    While IDK everything, I have heard a recurrent theme, especially from women that were recently divorced or were in the process of divorce or thinking about divorce. And trust me, I'm not knocking single women (or men) for going back to school to better provide for themselves and their families; but I have heard and seen the mentality of "It pays better than the Walmart" in quite a number of such individuals. And when they didn't say it straight out, it eventually came to light later.

    So what do these people do? They sign up at the community college, and then try to matriculate into the nursing program. A two year program is a short distance to a pretty fair jump over walmart pay for those working the register. Listen, I'm just saying. . . (I'm not all hot for the accelerated programs either, regardless of the fact that the person may have an undergrad degree in teaching or psychology or art history. That's nice in terms of electives and other GE courses, but what the Sam Hill does it have with nursing, and how in the heck do you think you can adequately educate and train someone in becoming a professional nursing, from no nursing at all, in about a year or so? To me, it's insane, but the schools make some money off of it. And that also is another story for another thread.)

    IMHE, I've found that a good percentage of people in nursing either really didn't care for it, in terms of what they are doing--core nursing fx and nursing processes, or they had some other motivation for going into the field that is not exactly altruistic. And these folks tend to be the ones that stir up the most trouble on floors or units or systems.

    The ones that really love the core of what they do as nurses aren't out to dump on others, or step on others, or put on some sort of show, or hob nob with whomever is considered the upper echelon, whether it be residents, fellows, attendings, nurse admins, managers, other admins, the rounding pharmacists, whomever. . . Those that really care about nursing are about the job, and they aren't regularly miserable or backbiting or otherwise displacing on to others.


    Of course I am speaking in my own experience and in general.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Nov 27, '12
    cp1024 and anotherone like this.
  3. 6
    Quote from PRICHARILLAisMISSED
    ....I agree with her. Not trying to be rude, but I think it's INSANE that someone who makes $12 an hour can be assisted by the government to the point of living the equivalent lifestyle of an RN...

    I'm with ya, "deanne52." You're not alone

    Sorry, but I work in social services and the government is not handing out money like that...lol You pretty much have to be starving to death to qualify for anything. In my state, a person making $12hr with one child would only qualify for childcare assistance and medicaid for the CHILD. They'd be expected to cough up $200 a month of their income towards the childcare. If they are living a lifstyle equivalent to an RN it has nothing to do with welfare and everything to do with their under-the-table side hustle. No one can live on or come-up off of government assistance alone.


    Correction, a person making $12/hr with one kid no longer qualifies for childcare assistance.
    Last edit by charli_appleRN on Nov 27, '12
    gummi bear, tnmarie, StinkMomBomb, and 3 others like this.
  4. 7
    Nurses do earn more money - just like police, programmers, etc.

    Would you rather be working in a factory earning minimum wage?
    Would you rather be cleaning toilets earning minimum wage?
    Would you rather be at the farms on your knees all day picking vegetables earning minimum wage?

    If somone tells me that, “You’re rolling in the big bucks!” I would have to agree. I came into this profession because I knew the potential was there to earn big bucks.

    On top of that, you have the opportunity for advancement - to earn more big bucks. Compare that to the advancement of a factory worker, a toilet cleaner, or a farm worker.

    When a person says, “You’re rolling in the big bucks!” take it as a compliment.
  5. 5
    Drives me crazy... My mother is a flight attendant and makes twice what I do in a job that requires no real training whatsoever. And I earned more as a paralegal which also requires no training or licensing exam to do. We really settle for too little in this profession and horrible working conditions to boot!
    GM2RN, CPhT2RNstudent, noahsmama, and 2 others like this.
  6. 7
    when I see this type of question or hear a similar comment about nursing salary it makes me think they are really asking is if nurses DESERVE the income they receive. Only a nurse can answer that and I have not met one yet who felt they were overpaid.
    CPhT2RNstudent, tnmarie, Mollypita, and 4 others like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from RNEMT-P
    The problem with this statement is that it does not take into account where the dollar came from to begin with. In order for the government to spend a dollar, it must first do one of three things. One is to steal a dollar from the economy in the form of taxation. In this case, the dollar would have been spent in some way without government intervention; the government is only choosing who gets to spend it. The second option is to borrow a dollar. In the current ways of DC, that dollar typically comes from China or another foreign nation, meaning that at a future date a dollar plus interest must be taken from the economy to pay for the loan. The final option is to print a dollar. Here, the laws of supply and demand dictate that because of this new dollar (since we are no longer on the gold standard), all other dollars are worth less than they were the day before, further depressing the economy because everyone's spending power is hurt in the process. If something cost $1 before the printing, but the devaluation of the dollar makes it now cost $1.10, it does not help the economy. If what you said was true, the recession should have been fixed after TARP I&II, ARRA, and the auto bailouts. These programs helped the poor with jobs, mortgage assistance, and other assistance. Hundreds of billions, maybe even into the trillions, were spent on these programs, therefore the problems should have immediately gotten better rather than worse. So, to say that government spending helps the economy is to focus only on one half of the story while ignoring the other half.

    Also, people do complain about corporate welfare. True conservatives and libertarians do all the time. It's Republicans and Democrats who ignore it. The rich send money overseas because that is where it is most profitable. If the government stepped back and allowed it to be profitable here, there would be no need to send it offshore.

    The problem with this statement, is the word "immediately". The multiple and vast US economies are like giant ships, and do NOT turn on a dime, but, are now headed in a more healthy direction. Some economists argue the deficit is not big enough to solve the unemployment problems, ("normal" unemployment, btw, is 6%, not zero, it's NEVER zero)
    and some argue that a weak dollar actually helps manufacturers sell overseas, and the trade deficit, but, that is more than i can fit into a post.

    The recession hadn't even hit bottom yet, when the first TARPS were released, we were still going over the cliff. Many say the TARPS were too small. The auto bailout was hugely successful, but, in a nation of over 300 billion people, one industry can't employ them all.
    Keynesian economics does work, but, all economists do agree, turning an economy as huge as the nations's economoy, as deep in recession as we were/are around, does take Time. All markers of an improving economy are going on, increased GDP, decreasing unemployment, housing prices are stabilizing after the bubble popped, manufacturing is increasing, retail sales are up, the gushing job loss has now had 32 straight months of job growth, lots of markers
    that the once raging house fire,
    Is now just a smoldering pile. completely healed? oh heck no, not at all, but, most experts do believe that the worst is over.

    Interesting you do feel conservatives complain about corporate welfare, as i never ever hear this from them, Ever!!!! I DO hear liberals complain about it, pretty much weekly, but never conservatives,
    but, there you are.

    I'm kinda new here, not sure if ^this is too much of a derail, sorry if it is, but i saw my post was quoted, wanted to respond.


    back ON topic,
    i do think
    considering the education req'd,
    the stresses incurred, (especially when one considers the "What's the worst that can happen if you mess up at your job?" type of job comparisons for many jobs)
    and the demands placed on nurses,
    that yes,
    nurses are underpaid, imo, compared to many other professionals.

    To be a nurse, imo, you have to be in it for some Other reason than becoming rich. I know tons of nurses, and none of them are 'rich',
    unless they are in management, and those aren't quite what most ppl would call 'rich'.
    unless they are married/partnered with another income maker,
    unless they are childless,
    unless they are fiscally clever,
    unless they started off with financial advantages,
    etc.

    still,
    it's pretty hard to see many 'rich' nurses around.
    but, then again,
    like so many have pointed out,
    'good money' is kinda relative, isn't it. It DOES beat minimum wage.

    Yeah, i do think, we all go into nursing for other reasons than becoming super wealthy.
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 27, '12
    tnmarie likes this.
  8. 7
    I have the best income and job security amongst my peers. No, I don't make 6 digits. I do have a few friends who do or have made the true "big money". Two are now out of work (insurance industry), one of whom has lost their home and is close to financial ruin; and two work 60-80 hour weeks in the investment industry. I work three days a week. If I worked 10-12 hours days 6 days a week, I'd make a 6 digit salary, too. I don't want to work that much.

    My only acquaintances who make more than me either have more advanced degrees (with larger debt) and/or have a job where they work longer hours, or have an unstable employment situation.

    So, yes, in the grand scheme of things I think I make big money. I certainly make enough money to have a decent home with a modest mortgage, drive decent cars, not worry about where the next meal is coming from, live debt free (except for the mortgage and that will be gone in 12-15 years) and I've put some away for retirement and for my kids' college.
  9. 8
    I think for the most part when people talk about nurses making good money they are referring to the fact that in terms of 2 yr degrees...70,000+ a year IS a good amount of money.
    IF Carla wasn't a single mother...and say married with 2 kids [like myself]...with a husband earning 80-90,000+ a year....when you add that 70,000...it is life-changing.
    I went from making 15.25/hr as a CNA to going thru nursing school and 2 yrs later making twice that wage hourly. I am now working on my BSN...and plan to transfer to a position as a homecare CM..which in our company make in the 40-45/hr range.
    So in comparison to what I was making before going to school for my ADN...it would classify as good money.
    We all have bills to pay...it's easier to pay them at 70,000 a year than 30,000 a year.
    Especially when you take into account the fact that not everyone gets financial aid, food stamps, childcare assistance, etc. Some of us struggle like crazy and work our way thru school while paying our own bills without the government.
    Life is only harder when you make more money IF you were relying on govt assistance or not handling your money well to begin with. IMHO.
  10. 0
    When I first started in MS, (2003 ADN) I made less than a Texas LVN. I once got a (second/side job) working as a doctor's nurse at a University Hospital in a Deep South State; I made $13.75/hr. I think our area back home is still $17-20/hr capping at $22 definitely for full time RN, LPN $11-13/hr, CNA $8-9/hr (sometimes minimum wage at county hospital's LTC). So, when I did my first contracting in Louisiana for $34, North Texas $39, It felt unreal. Mississippi has a long way to go. We have an overloading of new grads each year with 22 ADN programs for a state with 4 million people. There are sooo many who want to move home, but simply can't afford to. Cost of living is a little better, but a "nice" apartment here runs $800-950 for a 2B 2B. I won't be able to go anywhere near home until retirement. I bought a condo on the Gulf Coast where working in New Orleans and Mobile were possible (40% pay difference!), and I still hit the road 6mos per year to keep up. Once I would have thought $20/hr was great! Then figure a house payment, an iPhone and landline bill, insurances, car payment(paid off Yay!), groceries, Utilities, Medical, (school loans for some), daycare, and all the other I can't think off it doesn't leave much "disposable income" there for anyone.


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