Emphasis on caring or personal gain?

Nurses General Nursing


  1. What do you believe is a fair wage for the average RN with 5 years experience?

    • 0
      $30,000-$39,999 a year
    • 5
      $40,000-$49,999 a year
    • 14
      $50,000-$59,999 a year
    • 14
      $60,000-$69,999 a year
    • 7
      $70,000-$79,999 a year
    • 5
      >$80,000 a year

45 members have participated

I recently took a friend to a medical clinic for treatment. We were surprised by the lack of professionalism we received from the nursing staff. While my friend was waiting to be treated, we listened to a group of nurses complain that they were underpaid, should be paid as much as the doctors, and that $45 an hour was a low wage. One nurse was even leaning back in her chair with her feet up on the desk and flipping through a magazine and kept talking about going on strike.

All of this was disconcerting to view and made me wonder what happened to the emphasis on "caring" in health care versus the attitude of "I'm worth a million bucks". Several of the other patients in the waiting room didn't seem too pleased either. One lady with two kids leaned over to me and commented that she would be thankful to even have a job that paid $10 an hour because she had been unemployed for 8 months.

As a professional educator, I was distressed to see this selfish behavior. Our teacher's union voted to take a pay cut and have a cost of living freeze over the next 2 years in order to keep the schools open and to serve the public. None of us make anywhere near $45 an hour, but we didn't complain to the public about our situation. We saw it as our duty to sacrifice and serve the community because we care.

Over the past month I have asked friends, family and colleagues about their experiences with nurses and health care. Many have commented that a lot of nurses seem to put more emphasis on what they are worth than caring about their patients. One of my friends is an RN and she said the profession has changed over the past few years. She claims nurses weren't highly paid in the past and that most entered the profession because of the caring aspect. Now many of the nurses are there for the money and that the unions are demanding large increases in wages because of the shortages in licensed RNs.

I believe that nurses do contribute a lot to our society. It just concerns me that the occupation seems to be focusing more on earning more money and less on patient care. Hopefully the profession will take a proactive approach in curbing the emphasis on greed and focus on what really matters most to us all...caring about our community.

Thank you.


canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Some nurses are worth $40/h or more, but whoever was sitting with her feet up complaining in front of the patients was a $10/h worker in my book.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,510 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

(I hope you're not a troll.:chair: )

Sorry your experience was bad. You only saw a snapshot of what they were going through. You didn't see the code blue on the 2 year old that died 30 minutes before you arrived. You didn't see the drunk and beligerent physch patient off his meds that beat them up and they had to call the police. You didn't see the doctor just reem them a new butt hole for not wiping his brow, you didn't see the nursing home patient just poop rivers of poop all over them.......

Sometimes all the money in the world isn't worth what I do. I'm not Mother Theresa, I need to be compensated, but I do need to have compassion.

Sorry you didn't see the compassion. Some nurses seriously lack that, and makes me wonder why they are in it. Did they have it and was it beat out of them.

I'd be happy with $45.00/hr though. Currently making $28.00.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,510 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Sorry, I was describing an ER, and you mentioend a medical clinic in your post. But everywhere has it's own stresses. It's hard to judge based on a picture of what you were seeing.

Let me say this though. I hate when nurses complain about their jobs and pay in front of patients and family. That is so unprofessional IMO.

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

In my area, only agency staff make $45/hour, and that's before the agency takes their cut.:o


310 Posts

This kind of reminds me of a quote I heard from a pro baseball player a few years ago before the Major Leagues went on strike. He was a back up infielder and said, "People think we all make millions of dollars but that just isn't true. Most of us only make two or three hundred thousand a year."

Not saying that some nurses don't have a legitmate complaint, but to hear someone say that in front of patients is sad. I'm going into nursing from law enforcement as a way to continue public service, and actually be able to HELP people. Granted, the better pay is an incentive too, but I was more drawn to the flexibility and opportunities nursing will present. Of course, I'm not a nurse yet and really don't know what I'm talking about LOL


127 Posts

First, it depends on whether it is a BSN or not. The purpose of going to college is to get a better job both regarding pay and respect. Did you encourage your kids to go to college? Why? So they could be treated like crap and be poorly paid? Why do we as a society promote college in general?

In Wyoming, the average salary of an accountant with four years of college and five years experience is $70,0000. Accountants do not work nights. Though they may work a few hours late or an occasional Saturday in March and early April, they do not overall work weekends. Accountants do not risk their license on a daily or hourly basis. Accountants do not work under the stress that RNs work under. Accountant do not deal with patients families. Accountants do not deal with life and death. Accountants do not risk themselves physically as do all nurses. I could go on, but you get the picture.

A friend of mine has been asking people all over Wyoming all summer long this question:

"On a daily basis, which occupation is more important to society? An accountant or a nurse?"

So far in this unofficial poll of more than 500 people, 100% - every one - stated that nurse are far and away more important to society.

Every RN BSN that has at least five years of experience that does not make as much as accountants in their area, is UNDER PAID. If society can afford to pay accountants what they pay them, they can afford to pay a reasonable amount for a service that is more valuable to society that accounting. I personally expect an RN without a BSN to make 10-15 thousand less than one with a BSN, but then a NP should make 10 - 15 thousand than a BSN.

If this were followed, you would not have nurses working overtime to make ends meet. You would have more nurses at all levels continue on with their education. And have you ever noticed that people that make "professional" wages/salary tend to get more respect?

I specifically mentioned that I am in Wyoming. I do this intentionally for a reason. Wyoming has no State income tax and low property tax and compared to most States, a reasonably low cost of living. In Wyoming I believe that I am worth every bit as much as an any accountant - $70,000. RN BSNs living in areas with much higher taxes and cost of living should be making more than $70,000. In a state like California, not knowing their real cost of living and taxes, I would think fair pay would be some where in the neighborhood of $110,000 a year. It may be higher: I have not researched what an accountant makes in California as I am more concerned with the Rocky Mountain area.

By the way; in most areas, occupations such as electrician, plumber, and paralegal that require no college at all make more than nurses. That is just flat out wrong.

They question that all nurses should be asking is Why do RN BSN not make this as much as accountants? They have both had the same amount of college time, 4 years. A friend of mine is writing a paper on this very subject.

First, most RN BSN do not consider themselves as a true white collar professional as do accountants. Accountants did not get their wages and salaries where they are by "unionizing". They got there by becoming autonomous. Same with physician, veterinarians. If unions are so great, why are unions not demanding fair pay for equal education??? Because few nurses would need a union if they were paid fairly. As long RNs in particular and nurses in general continue to pretend that they are half-pregnant, they will never achieve full respect. Another profession that has already tried this and failed is the teachers and their union. Nurses in general and RNs in particular need to rise about this and not get caught in the trap of those who wish to make money off the suffering of nurses.

Another reason nurses are not properly paid is because they are not aggressive. Even their unions and associations are timid and quiet. Nurses should be making their voices known. Educate the public to the importance of our work. Tell the public what an RN BSN makes as compared to an accountant. Why are nurse not on CNN or Fox or CBS on a daily basis? That is where nurses need to be.

Lastly I will remind you that when there is a shortage of something, the price goes up. Even a hint that there MIGHT be a shortage of oil and the price of gas goes up - quite often on a daily and weekly basis. If management wants to pretend that there is a nursing shortage, we should be smart enough to demand at lest fair pay for equal education.

In doing this paper, my friend (who is not in any medical field at all, but has had to work with nurses, physicians and facilities for more than a decade) asked me something which I will now ask you.

What would happen if every RN gave a 30 days written resignation, say on December 1, stating as grounds for such as unfair pay for equal education and abusive treatment such as disrespect and excessive nurse/patient ratios and the failure of the health industry to put patient care above profits (making sure you point out what the CEOs are getting paid)? What would happen if every RN mailed a copy of their resignation to their State and federal representatives as well as to Bill O'Riely at Fox, CNN, CBS, the L.A. Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post? What would happen if the New York Times received over a million resignations from nurses with the same theme? What would happen if C-Span received copies of over a million resignations from nurses? The last thing the health industry wants is public scrutiny of its treatment of both patients and workers (or CEO pay). What would happen if all facilities were faced with the possibility of having to shut down all at the same time?

As my friend says, nurses are in the drivers seat. They just need to learn how to drive and then go do it. Unless and until nurses get the publics attention and educate them, the industry will treat them like crap and pay them like minions - with or without unions.


17 Posts

Ceecel.dee, I agree with your entire post, except, unfortunately, I think that in many other areas in the States, the 'average joe" does not think nurses should be making that much. I find it nauseating that that pro sports players and celebreities make as much as they do ( even more than the President! I know in this case we did not actually elect our president, but....), but the sad fact is that it is us ( well, not me actually) who pay so much money for tickets to support these celebreties and sports players. However, we rant and ***** about how a hospital charges too much money. Anyway, that was all. Bye.


738 Posts

This post sounds very familiar..........

Nurses behaving badly,......complaining about salaries,.....the old doctor vs. Nurse line of BS............nurses being 'ungrateful' because "at least they have a job"......... and lets not forget, my favorite part: Nurses who are greedy and uncaring and how this first time poster hopes to send us a message to care more!

Always these trolls have 'a friend' (RN) who is knowledgeable and informed about nursing, yet so ignorant to the facts.

Oregon, Don't you ever get tired of playing the same old game???? I know I get sick of reading it! You are predictable in your arguments and it gets you nowhere!

Get over the nurse-hate thing you have going on and move on!


nialloh, RN

382 Posts

Specializes in IMCU/Telemetry.

Nurses used to be paid a lot less, but what people don't get is that the nursing job has changed over the years. You now have more education, more responsibility and often need to be more specialized. This all has to be paid for.

But even before this, nurses were underpaid. Some of the older nurses I talked to said they didn't get too much more then the pca's they worked with.

It is time for people to realize that you get what you pay for. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

ktwlpn, LPN

3,844 Posts

Specializes in LTC,Hospice/palliative care,acute care.
Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy

(I hope you're not a troll.:chair: )

Dood! We have 3 threads now running with the lpn vs.rn debate and the rn vs rn debate...Why not rehash teachers vs. nurses? It always goes down in flames-just like the other threads....:devil:


615 Posts

When I started reading this post I thought maybe troll or manipulative administrator type.

I think it is interesting that nothing is being discussed except money, money versus caring.

If you really are a teacher, maybe a comparison between the two professions, respect, working conditions, recognition, responsibility, liability etc. would be in order, but I don't care to get into a big discussion or debate.

Isn't that quite a generalization "curbing the emphasis on greed"?

It sounds like your remark is directed toward the nursing profession (all nurses) and sounds like a subtle slap on the wrist for us "girls" to start behaving and shut our mouths and continue to take whatever administration wants to dish out.

Also, "I was distressed to see this selfish behavior". Nurses are supposed to be selfless? Management would certainly like that.

You must be a real martyr. I have a hard time believing that in any school system teachers have to take a pay cut and a cost of living freeze to keep the schools open and "serve the public".

"We saw it as our duty to sacrifice and serve the community because we care".

"One nurse was even leaning back in her chair with her feet up on the desk and flipping through a magazine and kept talking about going on strike". How unprofessional nurses are and they even dare to have the audacity to talk about going on strike.

If this is a genuine post, if you are a teacher, you should be intelligent enough to realize that there is more to the story.

It sounds like a bogus post, in my opinion, either by an administrative type or another nurse, self-righteous, goodie two shoes, brown noser, martyr type or who maybe just likes to be a trouble maker.

It will be interesting to me to see if there are any further postings by this person.

Oh, and by the way, I don't see myself as a public servant.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X