What is the complaint with nursing salaries? - page 2

I don't know, maybe I've been broke too long, but I hear alot of complaints about how you'll never get rich in nursing and how bad the pay is. Well, I look at it this way; I know nurses start out at... Read More

  1. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    I don't know, maybe I've been broke too long, but I hear alot of complaints about how you'll never get rich in nursing and how bad the pay is. Well, I look at it this way; I know nurses start out at at least 35,000 to 40,000 a year--that's good money to me.
    In 2001, at age 20, I landed a job as a factory worker in a toilet paper plant. Every week I received 3 days off per week all in a row, which was quite nice. I had no education beyond high school and was being paid slightly over $40,000 yearly. That job lasted me 3 years until my resignation. I resigned in order to attend nursing school on a full-time schedule.

    If I was being paid $40,000 yearly at an entry-level, low-education job, then I think nurses should earn quite a bit more than that. After all, we are the eyes and ears of the doctors. We can save lives (as well as negligently take lives) and that is too huge of a responsibility.
  2. by   SmilingBluEyes
    My mil always made quite a bit more than I did as a nurse, (not to mention, amassed an amazing "true" pension), handing out tools at Red Wing Shoe Co. She just retired last year. Anyhow, I doubt any mistake she made in her duties would have killed anyone------the pressure to perform her job did not include life or death decision-making. She did not even operate any dangerous machinery, so little risk to her personal health existed, unlike in a career like nursing.

    Another example: my sil who glued envelopes together made a VERY good wage (in Wisconsin, upwards of 20.00/hr years ago) plus bennies. She was not doing too badly, and is another example of someone making really good money, taking relatively little risk in her day to day job performance.

    Neither of these ladies had one day of college education, either.....Not that I begrudge them; I am happy they have done so well.

    Just giving some examples of the relativity factor here.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Dec 12, '05
  3. by   hipab4hands
    Not with the non union hospitals. I'm being laid off after the first of the year and have to look for work. Unfortunately, the local hospitals in my area are paying the same salary as I was making 8 years ago. In the mean time, the housing costs in the area have doubled/ gas/fuel prices have gone up/etc.,\
    I now have to make the difficult of choice of trying to make it on a low salary or sell my home and move out of state, where the cost of living is much lower.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from hipab4hands
    Not with the non union hospitals. I'm being laid off after the first of the year and have to look for work. Unfortunately, the local hospitals in my area are paying the same salary as I was making 8 years ago. In the mean time, the housing costs in the area have doubled/ gas/fuel prices have gone up/etc.,\
    I now have to make the difficult of choice of trying to make it on a low salary or sell my home and move out of state, where the cost of living is much lower.
    I sold my California home and very recently moved to a nice-sized Texas house. The cost of living is much lower here and I love it!
  5. by   hipab4hands
    When I was working in a dr.'s office / clinics about 10 years ago, the local grocery clerks were making more money than I did and had benefits, which I did not have.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Like I said; depends on whom you ask.
  7. by   snowfreeze
    Well, you could not pay me enough to pick up everyones garbage at 5am 6 mornings a week. And smell it, wear it, get bit by local dogs, rats, cats, raccoons and the occasional street person you wake up while doing your job. Drive a heavy smelly truck to the even more smelly dump and do it 6 days a week.
    You also couldnt pay me enough to do a number of other things.
    I am happy with being a nurse, not always happy with my employer so when that happens I change jobs.
    I make my job, which I love, work for me.
    I have built a nice resume in 13 years, gained a lot of experience, made a lot of friends, had one heck of a good time mostly. And best of all, I still love being a nurse and I get paid enough to be happy. Do I have negative experiences to share, of course, but each taught me a lesson and not one happened twice.
    Do we deserve more money for what we do? Probably
    Will we get it? Probably not
    We live in an entitlement era, everyone is entitled to live a comfortable life and have all ailments treated. We save lives and everyone feels they are entitled to that, so we don't get paid more because everyone is entitled. This general thinking is heading us towards a more socialized medicine in the USA. Everyone will get care and no one has to pay, so in the end the medical miracle makers get paid less for what they do. Less medical miracle makers because the profession does not pay enough to allow basic existance and you have less lives saved.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from hipab4hands
    When I was working in a dr.'s office / clinics about 10 years ago, the local grocery clerks were making more money than I did and had benefits, which I did not have.
    I hope this does not offend anyone, but doctors are the cheapest bosses.

    This is the exact reason why they prefer to hire medical assistants instead of nurses. Many MAs will work for low pay and no benefits. Grocery store clerks are unionized and can earn up to $19 per hour. That's pretty good money for a low-education, low-skilled job. I know whereof I speak: I was once a unionized grocery store clerk.
  9. by   EdBSN09
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    Anyhow, those of you not yet nurses, saying complaints about wages are baseless---- please check in about 5 years into your careers, and let me know if you change your minds, ok? I mean that earnestly, not in a rude way.

    Make no mistake; I was very glad to be back to work, earning some money, especially after living several years, eating beans, potatoes, and rice as a military wife, mom, and nursing student-----but we EARN every penny we fight for as nurses, believe me.
    Perhaps I should clarify further. I'm not sure who this particular comment was directed at, but I'll assume it was me.

    I'm not saying that complaints about compensation are baseless. But I am saying that nurses can enjoy good pay, benefits, and job security in a variety of areas. One usually never gets rich working for other people. Certainly I wouldn't argue with a pay increase, and when/if a union comes knocking on the door of my hospital, I'll be one of the first to sign up. But I don't think the nursing profession is in quite as bad of shape as some make it out to be.

    I've worked in hospitals since I was 16. Almost exclusively emergency rooms (one of which was a level one trauma center). I've served registrar, unit secretary, and NA roles. Granted, I never experienced the stresses that the nurses felt. But I have a pretty good understanding of the role of the nurse and what's expected of them. I also think that, judging by what I've seen, I will enjoy the work (not necessarily the workload) for the most part.

    A big problem I notice, however, is that most of the people I go to school with (a college that only offers nursing) do not work in hospitals, and have never worked in hospitals. I think far too many people go into the field expecting to get rich, which is unrealistic, and they don't know what they're getting into. I think this contributes to the burnout of the rest of the people who genuinely love their jobs.

    Again, just trying to clarify my position. These are just a few observations I've made over the last (almost) five years. As the shortage gets worse, though, certainly pay and benefits will go up.
  10. by   nurse4theplanet
    I'm sure not complaining...I grew up on beans and cornbread, in a one income household (mom was a housewife), no insurance, etc.

    So nursing is like a dream to me...invest into a two (actually four with pre-req's and waiting time) program for under 10K and come out without student loans making 40-50K a year. THEN the hospital pays tuition reimbursement for me to go back and get a higher ed...not too shabby.

    But if others want to advocate for higher wages, I am certainly not going to stand up like a dweeb and say...uh, no I think we make enough haha I ain't no dummy! I'll walk the picket lines wicha
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from EdBSN09
    Perhaps I should clarify further. I'm not sure who this particular comment was directed at, but I'll assume it was me.

    I'm not saying that complaints about compensation are baseless. But I am saying that nurses can enjoy good pay, benefits, and job security in a variety of areas. One usually never gets rich working for other people. Certainly I wouldn't argue with a pay increase, and when/if a union comes knocking on the door of my hospital, I'll be one of the first to sign up. But I don't think the nursing profession is in quite as bad of shape as some make it out to be.

    I've worked in hospitals since I was 16. Almost exclusively emergency rooms (one of which was a level one trauma center). I've served registrar, unit secretary, and NA roles. Granted, I never experienced the stresses that the nurses felt. But I have a pretty good understanding of the role of the nurse and what's expected of them. I also think that, judging by what I've seen, I will enjoy the work (not necessarily the workload) for the most part.

    A big problem I notice, however, is that most of the people I go to school with (a college that only offers nursing) do not work in hospitals, and have never worked in hospitals. I think far too many people go into the field expecting to get rich, which is unrealistic, and they don't know what they're getting into. I think this contributes to the burnout of the rest of the people who genuinely love their jobs.

    Again, just trying to clarify my position. These are just a few observations I've made over the last (almost) five years. As the shortage gets worse, though, certainly pay and benefits will go up.
    I was not directing this at you, but generally to anyone saying they "dont get the complaints about nursing wages". However, I really do appreciate your clarification. Like I said, it depends on who you ask. I feel I do VERY well, working a minimum of days/hours for maximal pay and benefits (those I do get as a PRN-er).

    However, just read the numerous threads about troubled nurses and working conditions, if you think the complaints are not based on real concerns, is all I am saying. Few of us entered nursing expecting to "get rich" ( I certainly did not)----but I will be darned if we do not have the right to fight for decent wages and benefits, commensurate with our education, inherent personal risks and cost of living in a given area.

    Some do better than others, like I said. But DO understand, working conditions, pay and benefits vary enormously country-wide. I know this personally, having lived in more than one state myself. Not all nurses ARE making 50k or more right out of school---some are not even doing this 10 or even 20 years into their careers!

    And do tell me how you feel/do when you have been a nurse for about 5 years. Really. I am interested in hearing from you!

    One last thought: I hope you are right, predicting demand will drive up wages---- but be aware, there are potential variances there. The mass importation of labor from overseas and greater institutional use of unlicensed personnel to do tasks formerly performed only by licensed nurses----these two things alone may get in the way of that (increased wages/benefit improvement) really happening; we will just have to wait and see what happens in the next 10-20 years as all the baby boomers have retired.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Dec 12, '05
  12. by   EdBSN09
    SmilingBluEyes:

    Thank you, Deb (if I may call you by your first name). I appreciate your interest. I will definitely still be around here in five years. I hope to have positive things to report about my progress in the healthcare field. :-)

    I've also thought about the possibility of hospitals increasing the use of unlicensed personnel. But with the increasing frequency of lawsuits, I'm not sure that the hospitals want to open themselves up to the liability of having even more unlicensed professionals around. I just don't see that happening. Granted, I'm young and inexperienced, but from the reading I've done and the people I've talked to, this seems like one of the less likely options for health facilities. Procedures can only become more complex, as well, and I would think that it would require more skilled, licensed professionals rather than less. I hope I'm right, at least.

    And as far as immigrant workers--I don't think that's as big of a threat as it's made out to be. The information technology industry has seen a similar trend. There was, and is, a shortage of highly-skilled IT workers in this country, and there are a huge number of people from other countries working in the U.S. under H1-B visas to help fill the gap. And IT jobs are often some of the best-paying jobs out there, with above-average wages, benefits, and relatively good employment prospects. Many people said that the immigrant workers would drag down the profession as a whole, but it hasn't happened, and the trends aren't pointing that way, either. The situation for nursing will likely be similar. My hospital employs a decent number of immigrant workers, and they're paid the same salary as the other RNs. My hospital has also bumped up the pay ranges for the third time this year (from $16.55 to $17.20 base for GNs, who move to the Tier II pay range after a year, which is $20.85/hr).

    I'm just not sure where I want to take my career after staff nursing, though. I really enjoy information technology, so I've thought about pursuing a degree in computer science or management info systems and helping hospitals utilize their technology more effectively (to make it easier on the staff and on management). This is one place where I personally see a lot of room for improvement in our profession. I just want to make a difference--whether it's one life at a time or for entire hospital systems, I haven't yet decided. :-)

    It will certainly be interesting to see where we are in 10 years, though. The healthcare landscape will most certainly be different than it is now. I hope for the better.
  13. by   mercyteapot
    Everything is relative. I have never felt like that I was paid as much as I'm worth. That's different than saying I'm not paid enough to live on, because I certainly am. I just don't think our profession as a whole rewards the increased contribution we bring to the job with each year of experience and until I do feel that the value of my increased skills and knowledge are recognized, I know that I will feel underpaid. I truly wish all nurses would feel this way, because it is my opinion that the ones with the gee I'm just grateful not to be poor attitude drag all of us down.

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