Salary Washington DC area

  1. Hello,

    I have recently moved to the DC area and I'm looking for a position in a Mother/Baby Unit. I was recently offered $35/hour. I was making that in Florida and was always told that "up north" they paid much better, but clearly this has not been so.

    I am a new Women's Health Nurse practitioner (Masters)
    I have 8 years of nursing experience (7 of which in Maternity)
    Certified in Low Risk Neonatal Nursing
    NICU experience
    Fluent Spanish speaker

    It seems the only focus was my years of experience and nothing else. When I brought this up with HR I hit a brick wall. She spoke to higher ups and made my case. (I wanted $37/hr), but they did not budge and only offered my a sign on bonus of $5,000 for a one year commitment OR suggested I give up PTO and Extended Leave benefits so my hourly could come up to $39/hr. I don't want to make a year commitment because frankly I am weary of a hospital that goes by years of experience only- never mind higher education, certifications or ICU experience. And there is no other way of increasing pay other than by annual evaluations (0.5-2%)- no ladders, no way of getting more for getting another certification, for participating in committees, etc.

    I'm a little bitter and definitely let down. The cost of living is crazy up here!

    Is this typical? Am I being naive?

    Please share your experiences so I may get a more realistic view of what to expect!

    Thank you!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    I don't have any precise numbers on specific salaries, but a few years back I read a bunch of articles on RN salary vs. cost of living nationwide; the three consistently worst places on the list were Hawaii, NYC, and DC. (FYI, the best were Sacramento, urban Arizona, and urban Texas). Yes, the northeast pays more, but it doesn't offset the substantially higher cost of living. After taxes and living expenses, your take-home will be pretty small. Hospitals in metropolitan cities (DC, NYC, San Diego, Seattle) can pay surprisingly low wages relative to cost of living since the markets are saturated with RNs and staff accept the low pay in order to live in a desirable location.

    I believe it's standard in many hospitals not to have the ability to negotiate hourly salary; it's also common to get a small (15%-ish) pay increase by forfeiting benefits, and to have to sign a year-long contract (at least) if you receive a signing bonus. The only thing in your post that surprises me is that they don't give a small differential (i.e. $1/hr) for a BSN or specialty certification.

    I also moved from the south to a large city where RNs are underpaid relative to the cost of living; the $10/hr pay increase definitely didn't offset the cost of living. After taxes and living expenses, I actually grossed $20,000 more per year making $10/hr less down south. You live and you learn, I guess.
  4. by   m157756
    Thanks so much for your response!

    It's so dissapointing because I could be making $40/hour in South Florida where ALL my accomplishments are recognized. They go by a point system where you get certain points for education, certifications, ICU experience, etc. A qualified RN could make 80,000.

    Essentially all I have to do is wait, get years of experience under my belt and do nothing else to get the same pay someone else with outstanding qualifications would be offered. Makes me wish i just disnt work that hard.

    Rant over.

    Sigh.

    Onward.
  5. by   carlyfry
    I feel your pain. I will be moving to the Arlington/DC area from San Diego in October after I get married. I will be taking a 9 dollar pay cut. The sad thing is the cost of living is similar , if not more, in Arlington/DC. Sigh.

    Quote from m157756
    Thanks so much for your response!

    It's so dissapointing because I could be making $40/hour in South Florida where ALL my accomplishments are recognized. They go by a point system where you get certain points for education, certifications, ICU experience, etc. A qualified RN could make 80,000.

    Essentially all I have to do is wait, get years of experience under my belt and do nothing else to get the same pay someone else with outstanding qualifications would be offered. Makes me wish i just disnt work that hard.

    Rant over.

    Sigh.

    Onward.
  6. by   ibme
    Edited
    Last edit by ibme on Sep 2

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