Losing money being a nurse

  1. 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 wage + Raise)- (insurance rates + premium increases) - cost of living increases = 8% less than what I was making last year.

    Is this happening everywhere else or do I need to find a new job?
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  2. 89 Comments

  3. by   SFCardiacRN
    Better see what's up with other professions first! Forget a raise...lots are praying they don't get laid off!
  4. by   Multicollinearity
    This is happening everywhere. I will try to find a link for a study I saw recently. It was done by economists, showing that actual income, purchasing power, is going DOWN for working Americans, despite wage increases. (Increased health insurance costs, increased home prices, etc.)

    I'll look for the study and post the link if I find it.
  5. by   ShayRN
    My sil has about 3 classes before she has a Master's Degree in teaching. She works for a large Catholic elementry school, her wage? Less than 30,000 a year. My mom worked for 30 years at Delphi. She may be losing her retirement benefits soon. We are switching from my dh's insurance to mine because we will pay 150.00 LESS a month for mine, he works at the post office. I am not going to complain about my salary or benefits AT ALL.
  6. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    My husband is a high level federal employee and we have no dental insurance.
    We used to have the Postal Employee's insurance and it was awful. It is a myth that post office benefits are good.

    In Arizona, housing prices have more than doubled in the last five years, but the AZ Hospital Assoc is on a big campaign to keep nursing wages down.

    Many facilities will only accept travelers from agencies who sign agreements with The AZHA agreeing to caps on traveler wages.

    An article came out in the Tucson paper this week which specifically mentioned that the nursing shortage in the area will be getting worse, because an RN can no longer afford housing in AZ.

    My bil is a PhD college professor and makes only $38,000. a year.

    Here in TX, I was just offered a job making far less than I made as a new grad years ago.

    The middle class really is getting squeezed out. Being that my husband has a PhD, I'm an RN, and we have no children, I expected that we would be doing much better finacially than we are. But we are barely making ends meet. Prices are too high and wages too low.

    A recent article in The Reader's Digest states that the US is losing its'
    postion as a world leader in scientific and medical research, as scientists and researchers are so poorly paid. Many brilliant scientists are leaving science and engineering and going into business and marketing to make more money.

    I surely do miss the wonderful economy and balanced budget of the Clinton years.
  7. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    .
    The middle class really is getting squeezed out. Being that my husband has a PhD, I'm an RN, and we have no children, I expected that we would be doing much better finacially than we are. But we are barely making ends meet. Prices are too high and wages too low.

    A recent article in The Reader's Digest states that the US is losing its'
    postion as a world leader in scientific and medical research, as scientists and researchers are so poorly paid. Many brilliant scientists are leaving science and engineering and going into business and marketing to make more money.

    I surely do miss the wonderful economy and balanced budget of the Clinton years.
    Yes, I miss that too. I would hope that it would put politicians sexual scandals in perspective compared to what can really go bad in the country.

    This article isn't the study I referred to earlier. It's by my favorite economist, Paul Krugman.

    http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/ForRicher.html

    He talks about what is happening to the middle class. It's long, but I find it quite interesting. I know a PhD (professor at a large university) economist who thinks that we are headed for an absolute crash in the US eventually. So much wealth is increasingly concentrated at the very top. It has not been this way in the US since the 1920's, before the Great Depression. Add to that the Federal deficit and things just don't look that great, financially in the future.

    I do believe financially speaking, that RNs will fare better than many in the future economy though. Not that it will be great necessarily, but if there is a recession or 'crash' other careers will just implode, like service, sales, retail, small business owners, etc.
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from multicollinarity
    Yes, I miss that too. I would hope that it would put politicians sexual scandals in perspective compared to what can really go bad in the country.

    This article isn't the study I referred to earlier. It's by my favorite economist, Paul Krugman.

    http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/ForRicher.html

    He talks about what is happening to the middle class. It's long, but I find it quite interesting. I know a PhD (professor at a large university) economist who thinks that we are headed for an absolute crash in the US eventually. So much wealth is increasingly concentrated at the very top. It has not been this way in the US since the 1920's, before the Great Depression. Add to that the Federal deficit and things just don't look that great, financially in the future.

    I do believe financially speaking, that RNs will fare better than many in the future economy though. Not that it will be great necessarily, but if there is a recession or 'crash' other careers will just implode, like service, sales, retail, small business owners, etc.

    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.

    Ironically, one of our local universities just got a 2 million dollar grant from The Dept of Labor as a part of Bush's Nurse Reinvestment Act for nursing scholarships and to expand their nursing program. So, there will be even more nurses in an area where nurses already cannot find jobs.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    Please.....

    American workers have been suffering from eroding wages for about 30 years. Prior to the 1970s, a man could sufficiently support a spouse and several children on one income. In fact, most men could support their families and have money left over for the recreational extras. These days are long gone.

    Most men do not earn enough to support their families due to several reasons. Firstly, the cost of living is increasing more rapidly and the wage increases just are not keeping up. Secondly, men face competition in the workforce from women and immigrants, and this 'over-supply' of labor helps to reduce everyone's wage. These days, it often takes two incomes to make ends meet.

    Every employee is losing money slowly. I know my words might incite controversy, but that is not my intention here.
  10. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Please.....

    American workers have been suffering from eroding wages for about 30 years. Prior to the 1970s, a man could sufficiently support a spouse and several children on one income. In fact, most men could support their families and have money left over for the recreational extras. These days are long gone.

    Most men do not earn enough to support their families due to several reasons. Firstly, the cost of living is increasing more rapidly and the wage increases just are not keeping up. Secondly, men face competition in the workforce from women and immigrants, and this 'over-supply' of labor helps to reduce everyone's wage. These days, it often takes two incomes to make ends meet.

    Every employee is losing money slowly. I know my words might incite controversy, but that is not my intention here.
    Sure we are. Even though I made more money last year working in the private sector than I had ever made in my life, I barely could pay my bills. Both my homeowner's and car insurance premiums have increased with every renewal period, as have my property taxes. And look at the cost of Natural Gas and gas for our cars....just so we can get to work. And, just yesterday, I was told by the mechanics who regulary service my car that I need new brakes. Where in the Sam Hill is the money for that going to come from??? I guess if my brakes go out on me, I'll have to drag my foot, so I can keep from hitting someone...

    It's an assault on the Middle Class all right...and with no end in sight. :angryfire
  11. by   Tweety
    I was fortunate to get 11% raise this last year, due to a market adjustment, and pay for skills, and a 4% raise. So I still feel I got ahead this year. However, I don't feel 11% ahead because of the high cost of gas, and just about every other bill has gone up.
  12. by   sugabuga
    Absolutely. I moved from Virginia to Arkansas and let me tell you, I was amazed at the difference in real estate. A house bigger and newer than the one I had bought for 225K there I bought for 82K here. I don't make much less than I did there either. But it's still so hard. Everything is going up except wages. We've even talked about not having kids because it's already so tight for us. It would be much worse with another body. That's a sad day when you have to make sacrifices like that.
  13. by   Sflowerssweeney
    I live in Southern MD. I saw the post from the nurse who moved from Virginia to Arkansas, and I don't know what the date is. Houses in my area are now going an average of $550. A house like mine that I bought 6 years ago for $225 has almost tripled in cost. I don't know how you could ever make enough money to afford a new house without equity in your old one that's going to make up for it.

    I think in this area the housing market is the major problem right now. People are getting 50 year mortgages or interest only mortgages just to live or sometimes go beyond their means. If we keep paying these prices, they'll keep going up.

    I don't know what the answer is, but in my area you could never make enough money to live. You have to travel and have 2 working people in the home and still it's amazing how little you can save. The RN's make more than the office worker even in a law office around here.
  14. by   Dont
    i think the middle class has to take at least some of the blame for the current sitution. i'm not saying it's their fault, but they certainly aren't doing anything to help the matter.

    <<look at the cost of natural gas and gas for our cars....just so we can get to work.>>

    the average size of a middle class home has gone from 1700 to 2200 square feet in the last fifteen years. more square feet, more gas consumed, more market pressure, higher prices, bigger bills. my house was built in 1999 and all of the orginal appliances (frig, dishwasher, hot water heater, furnace) are complete energy hogs. why? because they were the cheapest ones the builder could find and the orginal owner didn't care or didn't know any better.

    i live in a middle class sub-division about 30 minutes from columbus, ohio. 90% of the residents have at least one large suv and many have an suv and a full-size pickup as their vehicles. since we're a small community in what was a farming area almost everyone commutes 30+ miles for work. i hear complaints all the time about high gas prices, but i sure see a lot of people with new vehicles that get 15 mpg.

    <<my mom worked for 30 years at delphi.>>

    one of my neighbors works for delphi and may be losing his job. i certainly feel bad for him, but he was making $70,000 a year with good benefits and a high school education. he's not a manager or anything, just a worker. is this realistic?

    <<in arizona, housing prices have more than doubled in the last five years, but the az hospital assoc is on a big campaign to keep nursing wages down>>

    blame the baby boomers and their buying power. i know several retirees that have a house in ohio for the summer months and one in arizona or florida for the winter. as more boomers retire i expect the markets in the sunny states to get worse instead of better.

    <<i barely could pay my bills>>

    i hear this from friends all the time, but when i visit their houses they have the latest and greatest widescreen hdtv, cable or direct tv and all of the premium channels, and an extensive dvd collection. one friend gave me 20+ brand new vhs tapes because he had replaced them with dvd's (he later told me they are a month behind on their mortgage payment). all of their kids have cell phones and the latest xbox games, toys, etc. my father-in-law was out of work for over a year, but that didn't stop them from eating out 3-4 times a week and my mother-in-law never missed her weekly nail appointment ($35 a pop) because she "needed it during this stressful time".

    more people should read the great book "shattering the two-income myth".


    <<increasing health insurance premiums>>

    we are the fatest, least physically fit, most demanding health care consumers on the planet. one of my relatives had been on blood pressure and cholesterol medication for years. his employer changed insurance providers and his portion of the medication cost went up dramatically. he lost 50 pounds and made some diet changes and guess what, he doesn't need either medication any more. i argue with my wife all the time about taking the kids to the doctor. she makes an appointment everytime one of the kids coughs or has a 99 degree temp. when i was a kid if i wasn't puking blood or running a fever of 104 my parents gave me an aspirin and sent me to bed.


    <<so much wealth is increasingly concentrated at the very top.>>

    it should have been obvious this is the #1 agenda item for the current administration and republican controlled congress. however, in the election of 2004 bush and republicans received strong support from middle class families and nascar moms.
    Last edit by Dont on Dec 23, '05

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