All these NPs making less than RNs?

Posted

So recently, I've had quite a few co-workers and friends start graduating from FNP programs. Most were RNs for 4-7 years (not travel nurses, just standard hospital RNs). From talking to them, most have taken a pay cut becoming an FNP.

Kind of discouraging.. I wanted to do a PNP program, but with limited job opportunities, I decided on going the FNP route. Planned to start in January.

This is located about an hour from philly, in the Lehigh Valley, Allentown Area. RNs typically start around 22-24$ an hour here.

Is there a lot of truth to this? Is that common?

Adenium

Adenium

132 Posts

I did not take a pay cut, in fact I got a decent jump in pay, but I joined a large organization that could afford to pay well. The primary care office I interviewed at gave me a very low offer (close to RN pay, though with added productivity bonus after a year and with excellent mentorship). I was a hospital nurse for 5 years, worked some of the time as rotating shift, some as night-shift, most as day-shift. Every other weekend, every other holiday. So I wasn't earning poorly but not pulling in 6 figures either. I did not choose to do overtime, and that was a limited option at my hospital anyway.

I have classmates that did a combo of per diem jobs, or worked as nurse coordinators, etc. who did get similar pay as NPs or sometimes slightly less than they has as RNs. They were willing to bite the bullet to get good experience, knowing they'll get higher pay down the road.

For me, even if I'd been offered less, I'd have taken it. My back pain was getting terrible from Q2hr turns, and I was sick of using my body all the time instead of my mind. My husband hated the weekends and my family hated the holidays. It's worth it for me to be done with that, though there are nursing jobs away from bedside if the physical labor is the only concern. Everyone has to look at what's available in their market and decide if it's worth it to them. There are plenty of better ways to make money than being an NP, but no one need fear starving if they become one. I'm not sure what will happen in the future as there will likely be a fairly saturated market, but it will continue to vary geographically as it does now.

futureeastcoastNP

futureeastcoastNP

533 Posts

The NP market is becoming very saturated due to online programs that take anyone who applies. You yourself just said you had "many coworkers" begin graduating from NP programs. When supply goes up, demand (and salaries) go down.

BostonRN13

BostonRN13

184 Posts

In my experience, It all depends on the institution and what their payscale dictates. I have only interviewed at hospitals. One was a pay cut, but most were what I make now as an RN or $2-5 more an hour.

I just had this discussion with my husband regarding pay similarities between RN and NP and it seems that the Staff RN rates in my area are competitive with what union nurses are getting (which are generally the best). Unfortunately, this competitive pay has not yet carried over to NPs.

Cardiac-RN

Cardiac-RN

Has 8 years experience. 149 Posts

Sure there will be some overlap, where experienced RNs have topped out at the payscale and new grad NPs are just starting out on the bottom rung of the NP ladder. There is so much more to think about than just the actual number per hour/ per year, such as ability for salary increase over time and fringe beneftis (401K, CME, vacation/ PT0, profit sharing etc). Overall, there may be some RNs who hold high-ranking positions or travel/ work a ton of OT who are making more than what a new NP makes but after a few years, the NP is making considerably more due to raises.

Cardiac

Adenium

Adenium

132 Posts

So true Cardiac-RN. I'm so excited to have 4 weeks vacation and actually have a prayer of taking time! With the hospital it was always such a coverage issue - most of us just had to give up some of our PTO because it didn't roll over and we couldn't get a chance to take it.

Riburn3, BSN, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 15 years experience. 3 Articles; 551 Posts

I've accepted a job offer for after I graduate working with an internal medicine physician. The pay is almost identical to what I make now as an RN (maxed hourly at my hospital). The difference is the hours are Monday - Thursday 9-5. Friday is 9-1. No call, no weekends. As an RN I work 50 hours a week, nights, and have to do 4 weekend days a month.

I also get a month off each year, 15% profit share after overhead is met, and full NP benefits.

I would be be very surprised to find an RN only working 3 12 hour shifts per week switching over to an NP role for equal pay. Most RNs making the same as NPs are maxed out and working overtime, like myself. I can't wait for the better schedule.

PMFB-RN, RN

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Trauma Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience. 5,341 Posts

Most all the nurses I know who did NP took a pay cut to be an NP. Even if they stay in the health system and go onto the higher NP pay scale they end up making less because they lose all the differentials they get as regular RNs. Also the top of the RN pay scale is considerably higher than the bottom of the NP pay scale, though the top of the NP scale if higher than the top of the RN pay scale.

I think most all were expecting it and went to NP school to get better hours and schedules.

PMFB-RN, RN

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Trauma Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience. 5,341 Posts

We have several NP school graduates working in my hospital on the weekend program. The weekend program staff get time and a half for all the hours they work. So the ones who are close to the top of the RN pay scale, plus getting weekend pay and differential, which is 40% for nights and weekends are making way more than NPs on any level of the pay scale.

Senior nurses working nights on the weekend program are making $140K or more without working over time. New NPs start at around $85K vs new grad RNs starting out at $65K base pay not counting differentials.

So often higher pay for NPs is only in theory. I think the same is true for many health systems out there.

irish_rainbow

irish_rainbow, BSN, MSN, DNP, NP

Specializes in NICU, Pediatrics, Nursing Education. Has 12 years experience. 54 Posts

I definitely think it depends on the area, the specialty, and where you plan to work. I just graduated from a pediatric acute care program and there is only one children's hospital to work here. I work weekend nights at the adult sister hospital to the children's one. I have not found a job yet as the market is saturated here and I am limited to one place to work... however starting out pay for a brand new NP at the children's hospital here will be about $15k more per year gross pay. After taxes, insurance, retirement etc etc I'm sure it won't be a whole lot more. Also, I'm single with no dependents so I'm sure that won't help my cause any tax-wise.

While I do enjoy the prospect of making more money and not having to work every night or weekend, I mainly did it for the autonomy and career growth. There is not a lot of room for growth where I work as a bedside nurse. Many of the nurses have doing charge nurse, acuity nurse, and management for a while and keep those jobs until retirement. Which is great for our unit because we have people in charge that know their stuff, but not so good for RN's trying to make their way up the ladder. I think you will find most people go back to nurse practitioner school for personal reasons (growth, schedule, family life, etc)... if you do it just for the money you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Oh and also some people account for the fact that most NPs are paid salary while bedside RNs are usually paid hourly. If you end up working all the time on salary with no OT, then a veteran RN working 3 days per week probably would make more money than a brand new NP working 60-70 hours per week with no OT benefits.

carachel2

carachel2

1,116 Posts

Totally depends on the geographical area and your area of clinical expertise. I'm 5 years in as an FNP and work two part-time jobs (my choice...one is VERY flexible). If I worked full-time standard 40 hrs per week I would pull in close to 96-100K. No weekends, no nights, no holidays, etc. When I first started that number would've been close to 84K. Are there RNs in Texas who are making close to 84K? Maybe but they are maxed out at the top of the RN scale, pulling in overtime and night shifts to make that kind of $$.

carachel2

carachel2

1,116 Posts

I've accepted a job offer for after I graduate working with an internal medicine physician. The pay is almost identical to what I make now as an RN (maxed hourly at my hospital). The difference is the hours are Monday - Thursday 9-5. Friday is 9-1. No call, no weekends. As an RN I work 50 hours a week, nights, and have to do 4 weekend days a month.

I also get a month off each year, 15% profit share after overhead is met, and full NP benefits.

I would be be very surprised to find an RN only working 3 12 hour shifts per week switching over to an NP role for equal pay. Most RNs making the same as NPs are maxed out and working overtime, like myself. I can't wait for the better schedule.

I don't want to burst your bubble but you will not be leaving the office @ 5 pm each day and you will not be leaving at 1 on your half day. Those hours are when the *patients* leave. YOU will leave after you finished all your charting, reviewed all the labs and refills, decide which patients the nurse can call, which patients need a phone call from you and then go through the mounds of reports and referral notes and decide on your plan after that.