As an ADN RN I made 28.25 at my first job (before diff) in Connecticut. My first raise was $2 at the end of my first year.
I then moved to SW Virginia (almost in TN). Got the first job I applied for, and when I received the pay offer, my emotional response varied from insulted to depressed. 17.38 an hour. Night shift differential was 3.45. All of this was in a hospital step down unit. At first I got overtime at least every other week, and tried to convince myself that it was acceptable because of the low cost of living, lower tax bracket, and availability of overtime. I was still constantly behind since loan payments didn't care that I moved to a lower cost of living area, then they abruptly dropped hours across the board, using our attempts to get extra shifts as a way of forcing us into being constantly on call as they would call me off at the end of the week when they no longer needed me. Then the real kicker... I anxiously awaited my annual raise so that things would get better. It finally arrived and I thought it was an accounting error like somebody had forgotten a zero. $0.17 an hour for an annual raise, which was with a "exceeds expectations" review FYI. I got a lower annual raise then the government gave people on social security to keep up with cost of living.
At that point I quit. I am now a travel nurse.
What really matters is making enough compared to the cost of living in your area, but no matter where you are you won't get approved for a mortgage on telephone booth making $17 an hour.