Losing money being a nurse - page 3

Raise notices just come out today. I realized that for every year I am a nurse, I am actually going backwards on the pay scale making less money than the year before. For example: (Base hourly... Read More

  1. by   peds4now
    Quote from lisamc1
    we still won't be able to afford to get some of the luxuries that others have. It's disappointing.
    Lisa, your story has a lot of similarities with mine, and I say give yourself a pat on the back and don't let it get you down! Let me remind you of the dirty little secret about those luxuries others have: they charge it! They are caught in a spiral of consumerism, buying much more than they can afford. MOST Americans live this way, no matter how much money they have, and sometimes it trips them up (although sometimes they file bankruptcy w/tons of consumer debt and end up getting it all free, but I'm convinced most people who file are honestly and truly at the end of their rope). I too get jealous and sometimes feel bad my kids don't seem to have everything others do; but I go to sleep easily at night. I own what I have, and on top of that I'm going to RN school to improve my financial situation. Stay strong and remind yourself often that living within your means is a worthwhile goal. You're doing great!

    P.S. I don't know where your kids go to school, but I would bet $300/mo. for 2 kids to attend private is well worth it!
  2. by   geekgolightly
    Quote from RNKitty
    Which were put in place by the Reagan administration.....

    LOL!!

    "The deficit doubled during the Reagan years. His second term was scarred by the Iran Contra scandal, but he never lost that common touch.... Ronald Reagan had an uncanny ability to make Americans feel good about themselves."
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1832

    Even Reagan's contradictions were somehow construed as strong points. As Time put it (6/14/04), "So great was Reagan's victory in making his preoccupations into enduring themes of the national conversation that it may not matter that his record didn't always match his rhetoric. He insisted, for instance, that a balanced budget was one of his priorities. But by the time Reagan left office, a combination of lower tax revenues and sharply higher spending for defense had sent the deficit through the roof."
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1832
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    ahh "Reagan-omics!" I remember that term from way back in the 80s when I was a kid.
  4. by   hipab4hands
    [quote=Hellllllo Nurse]I agree.

    RNs will fare better than average, if they don't live where I do. There is a huge surplus of nurses here, competition for the crappy, low paying no benefits jobs is fierce. That's why I am a traveler. I cannot make a living here at home.


    Same here. I'm being laid off from an Unionized position. The remaining employers in the area are non-union and want me to take a 20% paycut in order to be hired. I can do it, but I'm not happy about it. However, the worse place I went to interview with wanted me to take the same wages as what I made 8 years ago. :angryfire I tried to explain to the interviewer that if the cost of living had not changed in the past 8 years, then I could financially do it. Housing costs have doubled in the past 4 years alone.

    The unionized place in the are is also cutting back on hours/ not hiring full time employees or hire for a temporary position only.

    As of now, I'm going to have to put my home up for sale and move out of state.
  5. by   Zee_RN
    Taking salary w/ pay raises - cost of living & expenses, my husband is also losing money as an accountant. I don't think it's particular to nursing. His company--a professional organization--doesn't even PROVIDE health benefits. One of the reasons I'll never be able to go part-time.
  6. by   angel337
    most financial woes start with poor money management. most people want what they want RIGHT NOW and in the end they suffer. although it may sound nice to live frugally, sometimes it can be frustrating because you don't enjoy life the way you could if you had a little extra. i lived like that for years. it was so bad that i couldn't even buy an extra loaf of bread or extra washing powder for fear i wouldn't have enough money for all my bills. i can't imagine living the rest of my life and not enjoy something nice. when i graduated from nursing school i bought a new car and to me it made working hard worthwhile. i don't have many bills because i don't make them. i have 2 credit cards, a small student loan, a mortgage and utility bills. i still budget, but not as tight as i did before and it feels good to be able to buy something for myself and my family from time to time without worrying sick about how i will pay for it. i only use my credit cards for travel (hotel reservation). everything else we pay cash for. it took me a few years to get to this point and it takes alot of patience and sacrifice but in the end it is worth it. you have to treat yourself occasionally or else you will feel like all your hard work (especially as a nurse) is in vain.
  7. by   Yue
    Interesting thread...I agree with most of you that have stated we consume more than we need to. I question the people who drive those SUV and complain about the high cost of gas which living in the west coast, there is a high demand for the hybrids or total electrical cars. I have been out of the workforce as an RN for five years and miss the portion of helping people get back on their feet but what I have a difficult time accepting is the people who don't claim responsibility for anything they do or the decision that they made. I think twice about buying a new car, although, I sigh when I see a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It would cost us anywhere from $33,000 to $42,000.00 with all the options and accessories. That's a RN's average wage on the west coast, in certain areas. I have to re-evaluate my priority and question is this what I really want? Why do I want this so badly? Is it necessary? Will it improve my family's quality of life. If I decide to buy this vehicle, I will have to work full time to pay for the monthly payments, pay for child care, pay for the car insurance at a higher rate, pay higher DMV registration....it goes on and on. My priorities are different from other people. I have opted not to buy such a enticing vehicle. I have decided that I want to be available to my children not my job. My mother who is also an RN worked at two hospitals all through my childhood, not because she had to but because she wanted to. She had to pay for all the expensive trips and other stuff she bought for herself. The more she bought the more she worked. This made me very aware of the ridiculous consumption that goes on in our culture. I couldn't follow what my mother did even though I was encouraged to do so.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    We are starting to talk two different subjects here.

    As to finance management, those saying we can do better are right on the money! Personally, I am in the middle of teaching my son (who thinks money must grow on trees and wants EVERYthing at 13) how to live on what you make and buy with cash only. I refuse to loan him money for things he wants (non essentials) and will set a limit on what I spend for clothes etc. He has to come up with the difference when it's more than I will spend. One thing for sure: I have decided it was a matter of making sure MY spending habits were in line with what I wanted to teach him---meaning not revolving huge balances on MY credit cards and really deciding what I wanted was really needed (most cases, not). And I have learned there were lots of things I could do without, in order for me to cut back to perdiem work and be home w/the kids all week. I know there is more I can be doing and will be visiting a financial planner to even get more aggressive on my saving for the future/retirement.

    But I am not saying it's not easy to scale back and cinch that belt. I know---we are a nation of people who want to "keep up with the Jones' " all the time. But it's so absolutely necessary to be wise. And we (my family) really do fine on a lot less than most people make here in our region. New clothes and fancy things just have to wait. If it's not on sale, or not really cheap, I am not buying it-----at least when it pertains to consumable items like clothing, food, and the like. Investments, another story. Have to know that there is a return on that....

    On the other hand, It's hard to "get ahead" for sure. But if you are feeling that much of a pinch, you might want to at least come up with what it would cost you to visit a financial planner and learn where you could do better, in saving and spending.

    Now, as to how fair nurses' wages are? Yep--- another subject. I do not believe most nurses make what they are worth, particularly the more educated and experienced ones. And even though some valid points about finance management are brought up here, this is really a separate issue. It's very sad to me; we do not have enough people in our ranks willing and ready to fight for better working conditions and wages, so what can we expect? Until we get wise, we will get what we "deserve" to get, I suppose.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Dec 23, '05
  9. by   Jo Dirt
    A fellow nurse I work with (single mother) lives in the projects because it is all she can afford.
    The only reason I don't is because of my husband.
    The sad thing is we make the same ($600-800/week clear) and this is not enough to support a family on (unless you consider eating beans and ramen noodles middle class)
  10. by   steelcityrn
    The process of financial stability starts in the mind. I have been saving since I was 16 with my first job. Now as for our future, even the seniors will tell you its very fragile. In a day of astronomical healthcare costs, jobs being lost to other countries, some of the largest long standing corporations going bankrupt,the great dependence on fossil fuel ect ect ect. Seems like we are just headed for disaster if the U.S. does no focus on the future for our children.
    Last edit by steelcityrn on Dec 23, '05
  11. by   Harleygirl
    I don't think its just nursing that is having problems. Its a global problem.
    Even though my job can get frustrating at times, I am blessed and thankful to have a job and healthy enough to work. And I am blessed to have a husband who is healthy and able to work too. There was a time when that was not the case. He was 30 years old and they were looking at the possibility of non Hodgkins Lymphoma with him. Thank God that it wasn't.
    No, I don't live in a big beautiful house, and no, I don't drive a brand new car, and no, I don't buy designer anything. But my perspective is that my rewards are not here on Earth. I am merely passing through.
    Life is good.

    Harleygirl
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    Over half of the employees at my local Starbucks are former manager-executive types who were laid off in 2001. They chat with the customers who sit there, some who have been laid off also. They are primarily 40-55ish.

    Fact is there are plenty of jobs available. But most of the jobs now pay so much less than the previous jobs, it's hard to support yourself on them. (Talking about outside nursing.)

    I have a relative who works for a large HMO. She tracks psychiatric facility admits. She says in the past few years there has been a marked increase in the number of suicide attempts listing job loss as a stressor. Obviously that's not a reliable study...but good lord...
  13. by   Yue
    So lets look at the topic once again. Are we losing money being a nurse? It is a question that parallels the thought of "is the glass half empty or half full?" Depending on which side of the US do we live in, east, west, south, north, northwest, northeast, southwest,or the southeast, each part of the US pays their nurses differently based on location, specialities, years of experience, type of nursing(outpatient, inpatient, rehab, etc) all these factor into a person's compensation. If one is not suitable or unfair, is there a process to attempt to ask for a higher rate? I can only go by my personal experience and my experience is different from the next person. If life is so miserable being paid as a nurse, what else is there? There are retail administrative personnels and executive directors for non-profit organizations who are earning less than RNs in my area.

    Nursing is a respected profession. Most people trust a nurse over a physician. No matter how terrible working conditions may be, isn't it worth fighting for better conditions, isn't it worth voicing your opinion? Even if it isn't a victory now, it opens the door for further dialogue between admin and staff which can be a tiny step to a possible victory. Maybe admininstration isn't aware of the feelings of the employee who can express the important issues in a diplomatic and profession manner. I will defend being a nurse and I will hold pride in the work I have done in the past and the many lives I have influenced. Having worked in psychiatric nursing, med/surg, clinical nursing, home health and now school nursing, I don't believe we lose money...we work hard for our money. We are given a rate of pay and what we do with that money is within our control and what we choose to spend it on.

    One could earn triple the salary rate, would one be content or would one take that amount and exercise pure consumption/spending. Would one truly save that extra amount in pay or would one buy bigger and more expensive toys after paying for the health insurance?

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