How much do YOU think nurses are worth?

  1. Personally, I think nurses are grossly underpaid. I am 10 years in and I think I should be earning a bare minimum of $150k/yr. I hear what my friends/relatives are making, who have degrees in business, human resources, communications, marketing, PR, etc. (I'm in NYC) and they make so much more than me. Additionally, they have cushy schedules which allow them a better work/life balance, and they generally talk favorably about their jobs and report manageable stress levels at work.

    Are you satisfied with your pay? What do you think nurses are "worth" (in regards to salary)?
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  2. 150 Comments

  3. by   Atl-Murse
    People lie, look at their paycheck not the cars/house they own. Most jobs in business get paid peanuts. I guarantee you earn more than 80% of your non nursing graduating class. I believe I am worth about 12 million a year . What I believe matters not, what the market will pay me is what really matters
  4. by   ThePrincessBride
    I'm priceless.

    That being said, the healthcare system couldn't sustain itself if every nurse was paid 150k.
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from mystory
    Personally, I think nurses are grossly underpaid. I am 10 years in and I think I should be earning a bare minimum of $150k/yr. I hear what my friends/relatives are making, who have degrees in business, human resources, communications, marketing, PR, etc. (I'm in NYC) and they make so much more than me. Additionally, they have cushy schedules which allow them a better work/life balance, and they generally talk favorably about their jobs and report manageable stress levels at work.

    Are you satisfied with your pay? What do you think nurses are "worth" (in regards to salary)?
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
  6. by   Bottomed out
    Quote from mystory
    Personally, I think nurses are grossly underpaid. I am 10 years in and I think I should be earning a bare minimum of $150k/yr. I hear what my friends/relatives are making, who have degrees in business, human resources, communications, marketing, PR, etc. (I'm in NYC) and they make so much more than me. Additionally, they have cushy schedules which allow them a better work/life balance, and they generally talk favorably about their jobs and report manageable stress levels at work.

    Are you satisfied with your pay? What do you think nurses are "worth" (in regards to salary)?
    What is your current salary? Do you have a BSN? Do you have certifications? NYC hospitals like NYU and NYP pay incentives for all those items. Did you ever job hop to get a raise? Are you at a union hospital?
  7. by   Libby1987
    Too wide of a range with our degree of nursing education, applied knowledge, skill, experience, and dedication to excellence spanning the gamut.

    That said, 150K should be reachable in certain markets.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    People commonly gripe about astronomical salaries that celebrities (actors, pro athletes, singers) receive. Celebrities' pay rates are regularly compared to those earned by nurses, teachers, police officers, military servicemen and women, firefighters, social workers, and so on.

    Here is my controversial view. The vast majority of people in American society are not overly preoccupied with their health, safety or welfare, which are the very facets addressed by nurses, police, soldiers, and social workers.

    Many of these same people in society bicker about taxes, yet it is tax revenue that pays for public school teachers, cops, military, social services, and the nurses who work in city, county, state and federal government.

    On the other hand, most Americans love to be entertained. The American public places an enormously high value on an optional part of life such as entertainment. The American public places a lower value on mandatory aspects of society such as public safety, healthcare, and education.

    This is evidenced by the quadrillions of dollars people collectively spend on movie theater visits, Broadway shows, cable/satellite TV, live sporting events, music, live concerts, Netflix/Hulu, and other forms of entertainment.

    Some people are so dedicated to celebrities that they know their dates of birth, filmography of film actors, discography of singers, and statistics of players on their favorite professional athletic team by pure memory. They pay big bucks to join fan clubs, obtain autographed memorabilia, and buy replica sports jerseys.

    A harsh truth is this: if the majority of people are passionate about something, that is where the money goes. Will Smith and Johnny Depp receive multimillion dollar paychecks because people willingly empty their pockets to be entertained by them. Nonetheless, people will not readily pay good money to observe a nurse conduct an assessment, or a police officer issue a citation, or a teacher prepare a lesson plan.

    Again, why do celebrities receive higher pay than nurses, cops, social workers, military, and teachers? It is because we get what we pay for. It is because the public has shown time and time again that they prefer entertainment over health and safety, as evidenced by the massive amount of money they spend on movies, music, and professional sports.

    Nobody in this questionable society of ours would spend $100 million on tickets, food, beverages, parking, and souvenirs to watch nurses or enlisted sailors at Yankee Stadium. They would, however, spend that money to watch professional ball players, or Beyonce at the concert hall, or the A-list actor at the movie theater.

    So, how much are nurses worth? Per the American public, we are worth a heck of a lot less than the quarterbacks on their favorite NFL teams.
  9. by   LessValuableNinja
    I was in a non nursing field and made very good money. I also worked over 80 hours a week, sometimes over 100. You won't find many in those "lucrative" fields who work less than 60 hours a week. What would you make if you consistently worked 80 hours a week for the same employer. If you want to increase your income as a nurse, there are many ways to do so. The only people I know who work very little and have massive income have done so by investing in businesses. I also know many people who did that and lost their shirts. Perspective is important.
  10. by   LessValuableNinja
    Of note, I went to (non nursie) grad school in NYC. Many of my classmates make more than the number you list. None have cushy schedules as you describe. The ones with low levels of stress have that because they enjoy their work.
  11. by   NewMurse1014
    To expand on your thoughts, it is also because we live in a relatively peaceful era. The majority of people don't feel threatened by the stability of their safety, healthcare, and education, so they have the luxury to spend on other non-essential stuff. Imagine if we live in a post-apocalyptic world, I'm sure most people would not spend a penny on entertainment.

    As for the original question, the value of a product/service is determined by supply and demand, basic economy 101. There are millions of RNs who can provide the basic nursing care, which drives the value/worth down. Conversely, if you can make yourself more scarce by obtaining additional skills/certificates/licenses, your value and your worth will increase. Not to mention there are a lot more factors that determine a nurse's salary.

    Quote from TheCommuter
    People commonly gripe about astronomical salaries that celebrities (actors, pro athletes, singers) receive. Celebrities' pay rates are regularly compared to those earned by nurses, teachers, police officers, military servicemen and women, firefighters, social workers, and so on.

    Here is my controversial view. The vast majority of people in American society are not overly preoccupied with their health, safety or welfare, which are the very facets addressed by nurses, police, soldiers, and social workers.

    Many of these same people in society bicker about taxes, yet it is tax revenue that pays for public school teachers, cops, military, social services, and the nurses who work in city, county, state and federal government.

    On the other hand, most Americans love to be entertained. The American public places an enormously high value on an optional part of life such as entertainment. The American public places a lower value on mandatory aspects of society such as public safety, healthcare, and education.

    This is evidenced by the quadrillions of dollars people collectively spend on movie theater visits, Broadway shows, cable/satellite TV, live sporting events, music, live concerts, Netflix/Hulu, and other forms of entertainment.

    Some people are so dedicated to celebrities that they know their dates of birth, filmography of film actors, discography of singers, and statistics of players on their favorite professional athletic team by pure memory. They pay big bucks to join fan clubs, obtain autographed memorabilia, and buy replica sports jerseys.

    A harsh truth is this: if the majority of people are passionate about something, that is where the money goes. Will Smith and Johnny Depp receive multimillion dollar paychecks because people willingly empty their pockets to be entertained by them. Nonetheless, people will not readily pay good money to observe a nurse conduct an assessment, or a police officer issue a citation, or a teacher prepare a lesson plan.

    Again, why do celebrities receive higher pay than nurses, cops, social workers, military, and teachers? It is because we get what we pay for. It is because the public has shown time and time again that they prefer entertainment over health and safety, as evidenced by the massive amount of money they spend on movies, music, and professional sports.

    Nobody in this questionable society of ours would spend $100 million on tickets, food, beverages, parking, and souvenirs to watch nurses or enlisted sailors at Yankee Stadium. They would, however, spend that money to watch professional ball players, or Beyonce at the concert hall, or the A-list actor at the movie theater.

    So, how much are nurses worth? Per the American public, we are worth a heck of a lot less than the quarterbacks on their favorite NFL teams.
  12. by   nutella
    Quote from mystory
    Personally, I think nurses are grossly underpaid. I am 10 years in and I think I should be earning a bare minimum of $150k/yr. I hear what my friends/relatives are making, who have degrees in business, human resources, communications, marketing, PR, etc. (I'm in NYC) and they make so much more than me. Additionally, they have cushy schedules which allow them a better work/life balance, and they generally talk favorably about their jobs and report manageable stress levels at work.

    Are you satisfied with your pay? What do you think nurses are "worth" (in regards to salary)?

    I want to put out that when you make $$$ in nursing, you may also live in an area with high costs of living or you have a position that will (most likely) suck life out of you.

    I had a nursing job that paid more than 6 figures for medsurg tele nursing - the pay was based on years of experience and location. The pay off was a long commute, very stressful environment and high pressure on nurses to "perform" regardless of acuity or census.

    I also worked as a clinical manager - which was more pay than the usual floor nursing - let me tell you that it was not worth for me. You are always caught in the middle and the 24 h "on call" is just crazy.


    Nurses are priceless - having said that - your questions seems more along the "this is not fair" line, which I do not find helpful as a frame.
    I am very happy as a nurse and find my work very meaningful. I always felt that way about nursing and have worked in a variety of places and tried different "nursing" from critical care to hospice / palliative, hospital and community, different shifts, staff nurse and management.

    The non nurses I know who are happy and satisfied with their job are happy because they do something they enjoy and that is meaningful to them. My spouse who does not work in healthcare makes a lot more $$$ for "sitting around with a computer all day long" - however, I would not want to trade. Sitting with a laptop all day long, working more than 40 hours/week, not much human interaction - that would not be for me.
  13. by   RNperdiem
    Question your friends and relatives who are living the big money life more closely, and you might see a bit more.
    How many hours do they work? Is free time really free, or are they expected to check email, be available for conference calls after hours or travel with little notice? Did they make the good money right out of school, or are you looking at people in their peak earning years who started their careers in an economic expansion?
    There are few cushy niches in the US workforce anymore. The work of 2 or more people is often done by one. Deadlines, quotas and job insecurity is the norm for many even if the pay is good.
    I once asked my husband why the petroleum engineers made so much more money than the other engineers. It turns out that petroleum engineers work in a boom and bust industry. Sure they get good money for a few years, and then everyone gets laid off and is unemployed for a long time.
  14. by   Libby1987
    I don't understand the attempt to persuade that many professions don't make more or that they are stressed out.

    What's wrong with wanting higher wages commensurate with work quality and skill set?

    My point up thread is that nurses are not all created nor choose to aspire equally. I would not say all are marketable for 150K in today's economy but some certainly are, or should be. And without working insane OT to reach it.

    Nursing however has long been known to staff "warm bodies" when necessary, most professions don't need to urgently fill positions and can be selective on hiring their talent. They also don't need to employ hundreds taking up a majority of business costs. The most talented, likeable, connected and/or lucky are hired while many grads are still pouring coffee.

    A PR person might make more money with their 4 yr degree but they probably possess the desired qualities and are in limited numbers.

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