why do we settle for such low pay

  1. I just read that hotel maids in New York make $18/hour. That is what many nurses in this country make. I agree with the previous post that we are creating our own shortage in many ways. Unfortunately, nurses do not seem to able able to stand together. It's sad actually.
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  2. 50 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    Agree that it's sad that nurses don't stand together. In school we had to learn about advocacy and political issues. Then I get to the job and see how nurses cut each other down, stab each other in the back, and show a lot of mean spirited behavior toward each other. Well, it's no wonder nurses don't get anywhere.
  4. by   sanbob1
    Nurses don't have a strong union behind them like the teachers. I didn't start making more money up North until my agency became unionized. Now I live in the South where I haven't met any nurses that were unionized. The wages are generally much lower here than up North.

    I make what a nurse just out of school up North would make & I have over 30 years experience in nursing.
  5. by   Rottie1
    That is a tough question...
    I have been thinking about that one for some time now. First of all I do have a contract with this facility which will be up in January (they paid $5000 towards my BSN). That was a good thing. So do I feel loyal to them?.... hmm, I don't think so. Just for the time of the contract maybe.

    I enjoy the people I work with, so I don't want to screw them by leaving and adding to the nursing shortage problem. hmmm

    I think maybe I(we) need to see what we can do if we get together and tell the higher ups - pay us more or we quit.

    This whole situation is new to me, and maybe to all the other nurses, I wonder if everyone thinks, "well, it probably wouldn't work." I think the only way we will find out is to try it and see.

    Does anyone have any suggestion on how to get started?
  6. by   fergus51
    I would answer cost of living. jt is from NY and said new grads in her area make something like 55 or 60K a year. Not bad!
  7. by   shay
    I make a decent wage ($20+ an hour, base rate), but man...yes it does burn me to see/hear that hotel maids make as much as me, when we work every bit as hard as a maid, and then some!! Not to mention, I bet maids get to pee and eat on a regular basis at work.

    I have no idea why we settle. Because we're passive. Because most of us are women and are "afraid" to demand more. Because we accept what is offered to us. Who knows?.............
  8. by   James Huffman
    Folks, I hate to sound like a broken record (boy, am I dating myself by that analogy ... ) but you are paid what you are paid because you have chosen it. Pure and simple. You may not be fond of what you are paid, but there is something in the mix of pay and benefits and locations and whatever that makes you stay. Even if it's just inertia.

    Be careful about the wage comparisons you hear. There's a whole culture of nursing urban myths going around about how [blanks] make [$blank]. A favorite is that garbage collectors make more than nurses, but not surprisingly, no one ever gives evidence of this. I am very skeptical about hotel maids making $18 an hour, even in New York. (My wife's family is all from New York, and I am VERY familiar with that area's economic realities).

    And unions. Ahh, the siren song of nurses who imagine that there's a Shangri-la somewhere, a unionized hospital heaven where nurses are treated with Respect. Unionization is the finest way I know to keep nursing in the 20th century, or more likely, the 19th century. Unions were a great idea that has come and gone, and it is no accident that the number of unionized employees just keeps dropping and dropping and dropping (it was at 13.5% in Feb., 2001, down from 13.9% in 1999, and down from 36% in the mid 1950s), and nurses in 2101 will find it difficult to believe that some of us actually WANTED to treat nursing professionals as though they were on the assembly line at GM. The more unionization, the more bureaucracy, and the less innovation. And yes, I am talking about the ANA and their minions on the state levels. I won't even talk about the Teamsters and other such. That there are nurses who want to hook up with such organizations would be laughable, were it not so sad.

    Jim Huffman, RN

    www.NetworkforNurses.com
  9. by   wolfox
    Cost of living still doesn't account for nurses being paid less than unskilled workers in the same town or even in the same hospital.

    Nurses get paid less because a) like the previous poster said-nurses put more effort into running other members of their own profession down than in verbalizing how essential nurses are....from our own mouths our employers are more likely to hear that we are a bunch of incompetent idiots needing constant supervision than that they couldn't run the place without our knowledge and expertise

    b) we can't seem to list and put a price on all of the tasks and teaching that we do--which even a plumber not to mention a doctor or lawyer can do

    c) when someone does mention the poor pay, their co-workers are most likely to respond as if the person just is a malcontent-unhappy with life in general rather than someone who knows and recognizes their own self worth
  10. by   fergus51
    I doubt nurses in NY are making less than maids in NY. They certainly don't where I live. Teachers make about the same, cops make more, housekeeping makes less. I make what I consider to be good wage (we have one of the highest nurse wages in Canada, not as high as some in the US), and that is mainly because of the union which I didn't know was keeping me in the 19th century.
  11. by   Teshiee
    Even if a RN makes $32.00 an hour but the cost of living is outrageous tell me where you are making money? Perfect example California. Hell, we make between mid $20-40$ with the high end due to working registry or contract and our housing can run between 220k-millions. I wouldn't be suprise if hotel maids were making $18.00 the cost of living in NY is very expensive. What does a nurse do if the facility is not willing to pay a decent wage or respect nurses continue to tolerate? Why does a factory worker have an union? Because of ABUSE from the employers. If you have your employees best interest at heart you won't need a union to keep tabs on the powers that be!!!!!! And we all know in a perfect world that would work but we are not in the perfect world so we need something to keep abusive employers in check.
  12. by   sjoe
    Mr. Huffman: I looked up a few salaries here in San Diego--
    RN (ICU)--$60,000+
    staff RN--$50,000+
    beat cop--$48,900
    firefighter II--$48,000
    border patrol agent--$42,000-$50,000
    teacher (K-12)--$44,800 (15 years experience)
    garbage collector--$42,000
    deputy sheriff--$34,000 (starting)
    meter maid--$32,800-$36,600
    receptionist--$22,000-$35,000
    hotel maids--usually minimum wage


    PS. finally found it--the median wage for hotel maids in NYC (according to the US Dept of Labor--BLS) is $12.58/hour.
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 9, '02
  13. by   Norbert Holz
    We, (most) nurses, are employees! We are not compensated for what we do; we are paid an hourly wage for doing all assigned tasks. We are assigned patients of a facility.

    When nurses are compensated for every individual thing they do compensation will drasticly improve.

    Start an IV $75.00
    maintain running IV fluids $ 200.00 per liter (or part of liter)
    medication teaching $25.00 per medication
    physical assessment $75.00
    dietary intervention $25.00
    dressing change, simple $75.00
    oral medication administration $10.00 per tablet
    IV push medication $50.00
    Telemetry monitoring $10.00 per hour

    Professed nursing organizations such as the ANA should be actively involved in establishing the coding and rates necessary to implement this system. Then we'll be paid for what we do rather than for the time we spend at a job.

    The reason we are paid so poorly is we are not paid for what we do; we're merly given a wage for being there and doing the "assigned tasks" for the employer.
  14. by   wolfox
    Exactly Robert! As long as hospitals pay us just to "sit at the desk" or whatever it is that we do we will be low-paid blue-collar workers to them.

    Each profession not only has regulatory boards and technical trainging-but they also demand and recieve a certain compensation for tasks and for consultation. How many times this past week have you spent 30 minutes explaining to a patient their disease process, POC and expected outcome? Is that truly only worth $7-$10?????

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