Underpaid is a chronic complaint among our co-workers across the world and yes, I agree agency nursing is one answer but working for an agency is not the answer for everyone and I am sorry to say, working for a unionized facility is not always an answer either. If you have a family, most agencies will give you, the nurse benefits for free but tell them you have a family and you will end up paying more for a family plan that if you stayed where you are. On the other end, not all unions will work for the good of the nurses they supposedly represent, being easily bought out by perks from the hospital administration (had that happen too). You might want to look into working for the government as a nurse. Now I will admit, yes the pay is usually less than working in the civilian sector (but they are getting better so that they have a higher retention of nurses) but the benefits are over all better than working agency or regular hospital and the work load and work environment is much better, with more professional respect and the ability to make a difference in the lives of our patients. PS: Union dues/ professional organization dues are usually very costly and toss that in with the cost of benefits and you are looking at a serious problem that further fuels the lack of pay problem for our highly skilled profession.