NP Salary vs. RN salary

  1. I have a friend who ust starterd working as a NP about a year ago and she said she is really disappointed she didn't go to CRNA school because she is make the same money she made as a RN in the hospital and whe she did agency work she made even more, she says another Nurse said she should should have looked into travel Nursing they average around $100,000.00 some years depending on the assignments they choose. I am considering CRNA school cause I want to make a great income too but if you can be a BSN with over time, travel nurse on occasion and do some agency work why bother going into debt? and suffuring 30 monhs in a CRNA or NP program. Could anyone clarify this for me? this just doesn't make sense to me? I can see If you want to open your own clinic as a NP that was my dream until I found out in Missouri you cannot open a clinic. Im still investigating if this is true thats the reason I chose to go the CRNA route.Anyway can someone explain the salary differences to me I read NP magazine by advance and they are giving salary ranges that are for NPs who have been in the field for a while I believe Im confused. Any clear answers will be greatly appreciated Im also sharing this info with Nurses at work who are in limbo about what advanced degree to pursue.

    Thanks!
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  2. 92 Comments

  3. by   BCgradnurse
    I haven't worked as an RN so I can't speak to their salary, but I became an NP so I could have autonomy and a better lifestyle than I could have as an RN (hospital based). I don't work holidays, weekends, or overnights, and only work one evening til 8, and I'm never called in to work because someone else called in sick. I also like the level of interaction I have with patients, and the ability to follow my own orders, and not someone else's. I think I make a pretty good salary and I have a lot of opportunity for advancement as I gain experience. Money isn't a really strong motivator for me, although I agree you have to weight the costs and benefits of going back to school. I worked for many years in another aspect of healthcare with shift work, holidays, etc. and this was the first Thanksgiving I actually got to spend with my family in several years. Those things mean more to mean than $$$, and that's a good part of the reason I work as an NP rather than a RN. Yes, it was ton of work going back to school, but I think it was worth it. Just my thoughts.....
  4. by   carachel2
    I posted this below, but the most I ever made as an RN was 32.00/hr (this is in Texas) which is the equivalent of $66K I believe. That is without shift diff or weekends or whatever. I have no idea about travel nursing because travelling to new assignments and being the new kid on the block that everyone on the unit dumps on...well..that just never appealed to me. At all. I hate working weekends, nights and holidays.

    I've received 4 job offers as a new NP and the hourly ranges are $40.00 -$48.00 an hour = $83K to 99K with no weekends, no holidays and a generaous bonus structure. I don't know of any RNs who are making that equivalent unless they are busting out some overhand, double shifts, night work, weekends and holiday time.
  5. by   Cardiology EP NP
    I would have to echo the same story of the last two posters. I have had 10 plus years of healthcare experience before going to nursing school where I worked many, many offshifts, nights, weekends, and holidays. And let me just say, you get extremely sick of it, very fast. It's just not worth giving up sleep, time with family and friends and a normal life for money as a traveling nurse.

    And most nurses work 12 hours shifts, which are long and physically and emotionally exhausting, to say the least. I just worked my last 12 hour shift the day after this last Thanksgiving holiday. And your 12 hour shift is never really JUST a 12 hour shift, it ends being 13 or 14 hours depending on what kind of a day you have had. Usually after 12, 13 or even 14 hours, by the time I get home, I am are so tired that I can't even stand up straight, my kidneys are out of whack because I'm so dehydrated due to not having enough time to drink throughout the day because it's so crazy on the unit. Aside from this, my bowels are out of whack too because I'm lucky if I've had time to eat my lunch or anything for that matter. It takes a heavy toll on my body and I just couldn't do it anymore. So, if that's something that people enjoy doing for 100K as a traveling nurse, then by all means, you should go for it.

    Oh and by the way, the previous poster mentioned something about how traveling nurses get dumped on. I have witnessed this first hand. There is a lot of politics on many of the nursing units out there and believe me, the regular nursing staff isn't gonna get stuck with the patient who is cdiff positive and stooling every hour who also needs a blood transfusion and a colonoscopy. Good luck!

    I chose the NP route for lifestyle reasons also. I just got a job offer working 8-5, M-F, no weekends, no call, no nights and no holidays. I am also excited about having more autonomy as an NP.

    Some things in life just aren't worth the money. Studies have found that people who work night shifts have higher rates of illnesses because it lowers the body's immune system. And too, if we want to compare salaries, we can do that too. There ARE NPs out there making over 100K/yr. It really all depends on where you work, who you work for and what you do. When I was in NP school, one of our fellow classmates knew an NP (first RN assist) making 250K/yr working with a neurosurgeon. I know quite a few NPs where I work and they all enjoy what they do and work regular hours and not once did I ever hear them complain about the pay.

    Oh something I wanted to mention about CRNA school. I have a friend who is in CRNA school and her primary motive for going to CRNA school was strictly for the money. To be perfectly honest, I really think this person should have never considered a career in healthcare. It's clear to me that caring for patients is NOT something this person enjoys doing. In the end, I think when we do things for the money, we may become embittered and disillusioned because we are so disatisfied.

    You have to decide what is important to you in life. Some things just aren't worth the money IMHO.
  6. by   Health-Nut
    I just wanted to say thank you for all the amazing advice I have a few Nurse friends on our unit we work the MICU and it's t be blunt the ass crack of the whole hospital really we get the cdiff, constant incontent pts. almost every room is a isolation it's a nightmar and every one seems to be so unhappy. I have a close friend on the unit who is a NP and she says exactly what all of you do she comes to work in her cute out fit and white coat has gravey work really and still has dinner with her kids at night and helps with home work. She says she's paid $80,000 a year and loves it. She told me having two kids mysdelf it's the route to go. I can live a comfy life, my kids will be happy cause I actually show up in their lives and if I want to make more in the future thats a option too. She laughed about the travel nursing she says with the money you'll make your going to be able to afford a family vacation every years like she does. She's only 27 and she says with pride that herbaby sister gradated high schoool and she loves that she could afford to send her sister on a vacation so I can see theres a lot of happiness there. Thanks a million for the comments.
  7. by   carachel2
    gravey work really and still has dinner with her kids at night and helps with home work.
    I totally know you didn't mean this like this sounds and to be honest, I kind of thought this way before I started NP school but once you take an Advanced Pharm class you will eat.these.words. Right now as an RN on a busy floor like you describe, you are *very* task oriented. When you see someone come in and not do any tasks, there is a tendency to think they have an easy job.

    But you have no idea what goes into the assessment process as an NP or CRNA or whatever. You will gain this in the next few years in school and will hopefully look back on this post and really realize you had this role completely mixed up!
  8. by   SoundofMusic
    I feel, although I'm not even accepted into a program yet, that nursing is just about the toughest job in the hospital. At least as an NP, I may be able to sit and concentrate, perhaps, on one thing at a time -- or at least on one case at a time. I will not be interrupted with 1,000 tiny little things -- to fetch water, stop someone from falling, answer a tele call, check off 1,000 tiny little scribbled orders off a page -- I mean -- I want to study and think about one thing at a time! I also want to work a normal schedule! I don't care if, as a NP, that I EVER even hit the 6 figure mark -- I just want a normal schedule and the ability to study a patient, a case, and THINK about it, uninterrupted. I look forward, actually, to working part time as an NP. I don't care if my salary even goes UP -- I just want a different work pattern -- a different work lifetyle.

    Also, if I am going to get treated like crap -- I'd rather it be by doctors who AT LEAST have more education and training than me -- whom I respect. I'm tired of being treated like crap by techs, by secretaries, by bosses w/ hardly any more education than I have -- simply because politically, they rank higher than me. It seems everyone can beat up the nurse and get away with it. I've had it with that. Money isn't everything -- it's not everything AT ALL.
  9. by   Jasil
    IDK, I don't get the CRNA vs NP discussion totally different job descriptions. 1 is akin to being a computer programmer with very little patient interaction and other is like being the help desk with 100% patient interaction.

    My wife picked the latter hands down. She shadowed a CRNA and hated it just hated it.......though the money was good 130k in the south. As a NP you'll make 75-95k here, but my wife is a people person and wants to talk, help, encourage, etc.
  10. by   carachel2
    Quote from Jasil
    IDK, I don't get the CRNA vs NP discussion totally different job descriptions. 1 is akin to being a computer programmer with very little patient interaction and other is like being the help desk with 100% patient interaction.

    My wife picked the latter hands down. She shadowed a CRNA and hated it just hated it.......though the money was good 130k in the south. As a NP you'll make 75-95k here, but my wife is a people person and wants to talk, help, encourage, etc.
    ITA. You just simply have to know how you are wired. I have a family member who is an anesthesiologist and he totally is bewildered that I didn't want to be a CRNA. I love patient interaction, teaching and primary prevention. I always HATED it when I had the most wired patient in the CCU on a balloon pump, vent and 50 million lines. If I hated it then, I was pretty sure I would hate monitoring all that stuff every.single.day.

    Yeah, the $$ is nice but I would be miserable. Also, I never ever liked having to be somewhere dressed and ready to go and think on my feet by 6-6:30 a.m.! Being a CRNA would seriously never work out for me!
  11. by   Health-Nut
    Quote from carachel2
    I totally know you didn't mean this like this sounds and to be honest, I kind of thought this way before I started NP school but once you take an Advanced Pharm class you will eat.these.words. Right now as an RN on a busy floor like you describe, you are *very* task oriented. When you see someone come in and not do any tasks, there is a tendency to think they have an easy job.

    But you have no idea what goes into the assessment process as an NP or CRNA or whatever. You will gain this in the next few years in school and will hopefully look back on this post and really realize you had this role completely mixed up!

    I didn't mean to sound if being a NP is easy. What she was pointing out is that she can make a great living and still be with her kids unlike a Physician friend of ours who said she was told by her family by this x-mas she needed to chose family or career cause she misses out on everything, she was very upset that they are making her chose but we were discussing how as a Doctor or many careers for that matter earns you a great income and clout but at what cost, this doctor by the way is not even 30 yet she has stress thats totally crazy and she always says if she knew then what she knows now, the money doesn't matter she would have been a teacher. Now as I was saying my friend the NP says she has similar benefits the doctor does she loves being a blend she was saying to me today if a Doctor and Nurse had a child it would be a NP!! I think being a NP is a great profession I considered medical school but I didn't want to spend the time or money. I love Nursing and I also wanted to be a Doctor I found out about the NP profession and I thought wow it's kind of the best of both worlds! By no means did I mean it would be easy or a gravy job in a simple sense. We were simply saying it's great to make a great income, have some clout and still maintain decent work/family/life balance.
  12. by   chosen50
    Thanks OP for this thread and to the rest of you for being so candid. This confirms what I've been thinking myself, as I'm in nursing school. I am definitely going for my master's as originally planned.
  13. by   littleneoRN
    Quote from SoundofMusic
    I feel, although I'm not even accepted into a program yet, that nursing is just about the toughest job in the hospital. At least as an NP, I may be able to sit and concentrate, perhaps, on one thing at a time -- or at least on one case at a time. I will not be interrupted with 1,000 tiny little things -- to fetch water, stop someone from falling, answer a tele call, check off 1,000 tiny little scribbled orders off a page -- I mean -- I want to study and think about one thing at a time! I also want to work a normal schedule! I don't care if, as a NP, that I EVER even hit the 6 figure mark -- I just want a normal schedule and the ability to study a patient, a case, and THINK about it, uninterrupted. I look forward, actually, to working part time as an NP. I don't care if my salary even goes UP -- I just want a different work pattern -- a different work lifetyle.

    Also, if I am going to get treated like crap -- I'd rather it be by doctors who AT LEAST have more education and training than me -- whom I respect. I'm tired of being treated like crap by techs, by secretaries, by bosses w/ hardly any more education than I have -- simply because politically, they rank higher than me. It seems everyone can beat up the nurse and get away with it. I've had it with that. Money isn't everything -- it's not everything AT ALL.
    I guess this will depend on where you work. We use a lot of NPs in the NICU, and they do NOT get to sit an concentrate on one thing. They are constantly being interrupted with everything from quick questions and telephone calls to codes. And, they are not at all immune to disrespect from families or any staff. Oh, and our NPs work rotating shifts including nights, weekends, and holidays. Sure, there are M-F 8-5 jobs, but I don't think they will get you away from the other things you mentioned. Just my two cents.
  14. by   Cardiology EP NP
    "I guess this will depend on where you work. We use a lot of NPs in the NICU, and they do NOT get to sit an concentrate on one thing. They are constantly being interrupted with everything from quick questions and telephone calls to codes. And, they are not at all immune to disrespect from families or any staff. Oh, and our NPs work rotating shifts including nights, weekends, and holidays. Sure, there are M-F 8-5 jobs, but I don't think they will get you away from the other things you mentioned. Just my two cents."

    This is precisely why I have chosen to stay away from any sort of inpatient work as an NP. I work strictly outpatient and yes I do have time to think about patients and no rotating shifts for me, thank you. I am done working nights, holidays, and weekends for eternity.

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