Nursing: Experience Does Not Mean A Higher Salary

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    Why does it seem that in the nursing field, salaries do not seem to really increase that much with experience? I was an LPN for ten years and have been an RN for six. I have a lot of experience in many different fields. I was talking to a friend of mine who is graduating from nursing school and was shocked to find out that graduate nurses with absolutely no experience are starting out at a base pay just $5-6 per hour than what I earn (before differentials).

    I realize that I live in a state that has a fairly low cost of living (Missouri), so the wages are going to reflect that, but come on! It seems almost like a slap in the face after all the years I have put into this career.

    People seem to have the impression that nurses make BIG BUCKS and maybe some do. But where I live, most nurses work a lot of overtime or have prn jobs just to make ends meet.

    Has anyone else noticed this in the nursing field: Experience does not always equal a higher salary?
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Wow, thats really unfortunate. Where I live nurses get more money with experience. My mother was a LPN for four years and just became a RN. She made between 25-30 as LPN and right after passing nclex they bumped her up to 35-39 per hour.
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    In my experience, it seems that the starting salary has a great deal to do with not only where one works (certain areas have higher costs of living, etc.), but also the precise timing of when the nurse was hired. If the hiring is taking place during a time when the management is desperate for nurses, the wage is almost certainly going to be higher than during less desperate times. This is obviously going to be the case regarding sign-on bonuses and other perks as well.
    If one's base pay at the time of hiring is on the lower end of the scale, it is then often very difficult to bring it into line with some of those that were hired at a higher base rate. This is one of the big reasons that managers so stricly enforce the rule that salaries never be discussed amongst staff members.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from David13
    In my experience, it seems that the starting salary has a great deal to do with not only where one works (certain areas have higher costs of living, etc.), but also the precise timing of when the nurse was hired. If the hiring is taking place during a time when the management is desperate for nurses, the wage is almost certainly going to be higher than during less desperate times. This is obviously going to be the case regarding sign-on bonuses and other perks as well.
    If one's base pay at the time of hiring is on the lower end of the scale, it is then often very difficult to bring it into line with some of those that were hired at a higher base rate. This is one of the big reasons that managers so stricly enforce the rule that salaries never be discussed amongst staff members.
    Thanks so much for your response. That makes a lot of sense. What is really crazy is that I had to actually leave one place of employment for almost three years in order to come back at a higher rate of pay. If I had stayed on throughout those years, my salary would be even less!
  7. 1
    How much does a nurse taking the initiative to negotiate his/her salary effect how much is earned? Is negotiation as successful in Nursing as it is in other fields?

    I've read several articles and have seen several reports on the Today Show that indicate over and over the same thing: Women are less likely than men to be assertive when it comes to negotiating their salary. Of course, before anyone beats me to it, this does not hold true for all women or for all men, it's just a generalization that has seemed to hold true throughout the decades.

    Do you all feel that this is relevant in Nursing, as well?
    lindarn likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from wsuchic1
    How much does a nurse taking the initiative to negotiate his/her salary effect how much is earned? Is negotiation as successful in Nursing as it is in other fields?

    I've read several articles and have seen several reports on the Today Show that indicate over and over the same thing: Women are less likely than men to be assertive when it comes to negotiating their salary. Of course, before anyone beats me to it, this does not hold true for all women or for all men, it's just a generalization that has seemed to hold true throughout the decades.

    Do you all feel that this is relevant in Nursing, as well?
    In my opinion, I think negotiation can play a huge role in the final salary that a person ends up earning. This is particularly true if you are negoatiating from a position of strength, i.e. you have a great deal of relevant experience, an advanced degree, or other assets that are applicable to the position.
    lindarn likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from wsuchic1
    How much does a nurse taking the initiative to negotiate his/her salary effect how much is earned? Is negotiation as successful in Nursing as it is in other fields?

    I've read several articles and have seen several reports on the Today Show that indicate over and over the same thing: Women are less likely than men to be assertive when it comes to negotiating their salary. Of course, before anyone beats me to it, this does not hold true for all women or for all men, it's just a generalization that has seemed to hold true throughout the decades.

    Do you all feel that this is relevant in Nursing, as well?
    I really feel that it depends on the facility that you are applying to and how badly they need help. I worked as a traveler for a year at a facility. When I decided to move on, they asked me to stay on as an employee, yet we could not come to terms on an agreeable salary. I offered to leave for a while and then come back so that they would not have to buy out my contract or pay the travel agency anything out of pocket.

    They made it perfectly clear that I was free to do that, but they would not budge on the salary they offered me. So for a measly $2.50 extra an hour, they refused to hire me on my terms. The excuse that HR gave me? They said, and I quote, "We WILL NOT compete with ABC Hospital. We do not care what they offered you. We will not match it because we are NOT in competition with them." Huh? With that sort of attitude, I now know why they have a huge turnover and why they cannot attract nurses. I sort of felt as if they were telling me that they did not care how much experience I had, this was the salary. Take it or leave it.
    lindarn likes this.
  10. 1
    I think our facility does a good job of making sure they're fair. Around every summer they give an across the board raise, since they're having to pay the new grads who are coming in more (to stay competitive). My husband has two years less experience than I do, and he his pay reflects that. When we talked with HR, the recruiter wanted to make sure I was getting the right amt. of money (I had worked for the same facility before, and will be returning after working elsewhere for two years). He wanted to make sure that I was making more than I made before I left (I am).
    lindarn likes this.


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