I'm from an emerging second world country. during communism doctors were paid a pittance yet they got into the profession for prestige, not money. also, everyone got, and still receives, healthcare. also, to this day doctors still are bribed to perform a better job, or to get perform a procedure sooner, or whatever extra care you need... as a result if you visited a doctor's home you could see it littered with vodkas and liquor. today money is used instead of alcohol.
nurses are severely underpaid, way more so than doctors. i totally understand that in this country nurses ARE underpaid for the tremendous responsibility in their care. it is absurd as the world itself. when i was in my country and told people i wanted to be a nurse (in the states) i wasn't praised for it or encouraged or impressed for my career choice like in this country (for the most part). one person even derided my non stop, made fun of me... etc. it almost, at 20 years old, made me change my mind. i find it impressive that i even wanted to get into nursing considering that in my country there is so much stigma behind it. when i saw that my state university offered a degree in nursing i was blown away and immediately considered it. i felt it was my "calling". (is see it as just a job too, the two attitudes are not exclusive).
so, my point is that in the end, America is still very advanced in its compensation. yes it is ultimately outrageous, incendiary, that nurses are waaaaay underpaid when you look at what they REALLY do. their responsisbility, I think, is close to a doctor's. most medical conditions do not involve a complex diagnoses, one could go on WebMd and possibily figure out what the treatment is if you are smart enough. i've been a fan of allnurses.com before i was a nurse and it is obvious to me that nurses have way about average intelligence by how all of you write. i once saw somewhere that nurses have an average IQ of 120. doctors an IQ of 130. the standard deviation is not that much greater between doctors and nurses. ok... i am falling into a rant. the IQ thing was a distraction, sorry! my point isn't that people should get paid according to IQ. what I'm trying to say is that firstly people should get compensated based on level of RESPONSIBILITY then level of KNOWLEDGE. nurses and doctors carry similar levels but different a kind of responsibility which is why the disparity between the two professions should be closer.
ok, returning to my main pt. (when I started I had intended to only focus on this point! hah!)... nurses in America are actually paid pretty dang well COMPARED to the rest of the world. which is related to why nurses in this country are actually respected more well. level of income=level of respect in a materialistic country, not level of responsibility=level of respect.
if i lived in any other country (with the exclusion of a few progressive ones) i would NOT want to be a nurse. compared to the rest of the world i think that nursing in this country IS paid well and I am actually grateful for it. in an ideal world, sure, i would NOT be grateful for it and i would be angry. but this is not an ideal world, and america is a "little" more ideal than most of the rest of the world, therefore, I, am grateful for the salary nurses receive here.