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    My mother is an RN (diploma), and has consistently been earning 50K-65K a year for over 5 years. This is not a bad salary! However, she does work the occassional odd shift, and does 36 hr/wk (3 12-hour shifts) so that she can have more days away from work - it pays her for 40 hrs., and provides full-time benefits.

    Anyway, she's talked me into nursing school, and now I'm in the junior year. Starting pay is much lower ($15.80/hr), but shift differentials can make an enormous difference - only $3/hr extra for second shift, but then $13/hr extra for weekends. For a new grad, that isn't bad!

    Perhaps there are regional differences?? My mother and I both live in North Carolina. The cost of living is low, so the pay is not bad. We don't have unionization, and perhaps that makes all the difference!
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    She's a staff nurse, and works in intermediate care. Her working environment is very pleasant, as far as hospitals go - each nurse is assigned to four patients, and the rooms are arranged around her in such a way that she can see them through their windows. She has a desk with a computer terminal, and a monitor that shows the vitals of all her patients from her desk. Her hospital is much nicer than the ones in my area, even though I work in a large research area.

    She has been in the field for 30 years, so obviously that's influenced her salary. She's also an EXCELLENT nurse, and takes good care of her patients. She went to a German school, where orderliness is emphasized. She really does focus on the patients. I admire her very much.

    About the salary - she doesn't work an impossible # of hours. In the past six months she has been to both China and Italy (she likes to travel), and before these trips she works a few extra shifts to make spending money. I think it's an incredible lifestyle!

    My Mom has always done very well financially in nursing. She is not a "head nurse" (she tried that for a year and HATED it). She loves regular floor nursing.

    Once again, could it be due to the area? I would love to move out of the South (and to the Pacific NW), but am afraid that the market won't look as good there. A nurse doesn't have to be unemployed here, there are a multitude of choices, but I've heard that this is not the case in other areas of the US.

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    Thanks, I really do appreciate it. That's probably very good advice. School is nothing like work in learning actual nursing skills. Thank you!


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