Another question about nursing salaries - page 2

Why do nurses think that nursing salaries are so terrible? Around my metropolitian area, new nurses can start at 25-27 dollars an hour. That is at least $50,000 per year. Conversely, many of my... Read More

  1. by   EmeraldNYL
    Again, I'm not really understanding why the pay is so much better in some areas than in others. Isn't there a nursing shortage (or a shortage of willing nurses, as it were) all over the country? Anyone care to enlighten me??
  2. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Stargazer
    my college summer job as a flagger on a road construction crew--for which I had to take a 4-hour class to qualify.

    Wow, you actually did this? When I was feeling particularly irritable about work, I used to daydream about doing that job, thinking that she made more than me.
    Gee, I guess I wasn't that far off.

    Speaking of other degrees, a research tech that I work with has a degree in Biochemisty and makes $25,000/year. I was shocked at the pay, and he told me it was industry standard. Although, his income would far surpass mine if he got his Ph.D in Biochem...

    I've concluded that every job sucks - except maybe the construction flagger or working at the Aveda counter.
  3. by   maggie7
    Originally posted by EmeraldNYL
    Again, I'm not really understanding why the pay is so much better in some areas than in others. Isn't there a nursing shortage (or a shortage of willing nurses, as it were) all over the country? Anyone care to enlighten me??
    I believe it's related to the cost of living. In Pa I was making about $15.50 an hour but housing was so much lower there than NJ. Also I was paying about $400/yr for auto ins. (full cov.) and now pay over a thousand/yr (no claims-just moved). My wage went up $7/hr. It's all relative.
  4. by   EmeraldNYL
    Susy K, thanks! That was my point at the beginning, a lot of my bio/chem friends are not making very good money (if they can even find jobs). Of course they would be if they furthered their education beyond a bachelor's, but nurses make more money for getting a master's or PhD as well. Is there any profession where people are truly happy with the money they are making, besides pro athletes and movie stars? I hear teachers, physicians, administrative people, etc, etc complain that they are not paid what they are worth. Maybe it's time to start playing the lottery...
  5. by   Tweety
    EmeraldNYL, you bring up the point that in many fields in todays economy college degree does not equal money.

    Much money can be made with 2-years degrees now adays, especially in the medical field.

    As your friends have mentioned education in today's market, doesn't necessary mean more money.

    Also union jobs, without education in some areas can come with big bucks. In my hometown tire factory workers who sweep the floor made more money than nurses.

    But I think you're right too about not being happy with money regardless of what you do, we always want more. hehehe
  6. by   louloubell1
    I work in a major metro area, and boy I wish our starting salaries were what you describe, EmeraldNYL. Here starting wage is about $15.50/hr and when I first started the sight of my paycheck stubs was almost enough to make me cry. My husband was making much more than that for a job that allows him several hours of the day to watch movies or even sleep. I've only been an RN for about 8 months now, and I am making considerably more than that, but I pretty much had to sell out all fun in my life to get it by working 12 hr nights and weekend option to boot. I also usually do an extra shift or two a pay period which starts adding in bonus money. By doing that I feel that I make a wage that is fair compensation for the sometimes overwhelming responsibility, stress, and physical demands that are nursing.

    $25-27/hr starting in PA, huh. . .I always did like that state.
  7. by   montroyal
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by EmeraldNYL
    [B]Why do nurses think that nursing salaries are so terrible? Around my metropolitian area, new nurses can start at 25-27 dollars an hour. That is at least $50,000 per year. Conversely, many of my friends who just graduated with degrees in biology and chemistry are lucky if they are making $40,000 per year.

    How many of these people work 2nd/3rd shift, understaffed, have no support from management, mandatory overtime,expected to work holidays and can have criminal charges placed againts them for walking off the job when they finally have had enough? If pay was determined by working conditions, most nurses today should make 200k-500k a year.
  8. by   OC_An Khe
    You are asking a very complex question that has many interelated factors. Some of which were already mentioned. Other reasons that factor into this are...
    Health Care administrators view RNs as a cost factor and not a revenue source. Costs must be contained.
    RNs are predominately female.
    Historically it was and still is considered a part-time profession by many people who control RN employment and salaries. And part-time workers no matter what their field are typically valued less.
    When Human Resource people start to compare salaries across the whole institution one of the criterias is educational preparation to enter the field. Thus in many areas of the country this downgrades RNs.
    Culturally hospital administrators believe the still control the emloyment opportunites for RNs. At one time they contolled upwards of 80% of all RN employment. Not to mentiojn that at one time they controlled essentially all of RN education, thus controlling the entire profression. They still believe that they do.
    Following up on that point, the hospital employers of RNs have never learned that they have to compete in the marketplace for RNs with other types of employers and that Nursing has to compete with other professions now to attract the qualified candidates it needs. Bluntly women have more employment choices then nursing,teaching, secretary, and beautician schooling.
    Nurses continually fight amongst themselves on really petty issues and very rarely unite to change that which needs to be changed.
    Last edit by OC_An Khe on Jan 5, '03
  9. by   TYGGER
    You all bring up very good points regarding nursing. I find that nurses have a tendency to eat thier young. I have seen through the years many "older " be incredibly cruel to the new grads and students. I have heard many times about how some staff are unapprochable. If you knew this were true would you want to go into that field?

    Regarding the pay, I have been at this 13 yrs, my pay has doubled in that time, I have seen about a $6.00/hr increase over the last 2 years. I work the every week end schedule and make (with a little OT) about $60,000 a year. I do mean little OT. The starting wage here is about $18.25/hr. The question is is this enough?

    Let me see; I am suppose to be the answer man, the MD's want numbers, the families want answers, I get called at all hours of day and night to fill in open shifts that have been open for weeks. I work holidays and off shifts. It is not a 9-5 job. I have worked 8,10,12,16,18, and 20 hours days due to shortages. I am happyu with my job and wouldn't trade with anyone, I work the schedule I want and say no when I want. I have experience that is not very common and have added experiences that make me even more marketable, which I make sure my boss knows on a regular schedule. But i know of teacher making just as much as I and having off all summer and still get 11 weeks of sick leave to take during the school year. The retirement benefits are unbelievable for them. I couldn't do it but then again nor could they do my job.

    Also they are building a new hospital by us...the second hospital for our town. this should help our pay.

  10. by   fab4fan
    I was on the website for the Bureau of Health-Health Resource and Service Admin. Acc. to the stats from an RN survey that was done in 2000, the norm is not 50k.

    This survey was really informative; gave every kind of statistic on RN's you could want, even why RN's leave pt. care (that one was really interesting).
  11. by   Q.
    I think pay is an issue, but not the issue, at least for me.

    I've taken $8,000/year pay cuts to work in a safer environment, have my weekends and holidays free, and not have to be on call on third shift. Personal time and time available for friends/family was equivalent to money for me.

    I've changed jobs, and now make more than I was, but am still making roughly what I was making when I was a new grad 5 years ago. My husband's income has risen by $20,000 over the past 5 years, and mine? Well, it has remained the same and in some cases has dropped.

    I am in school for my master's degree in nursing and the pay outlook isn't that bright either. I could make more money as a staff nurse than I can as an educator/researcher - sure, I have my weekends/holidays free *so to speak* but I'm still making less than expected with someone who has a graduate degree. And some nurses don't even consider nurses who don't practice at the bedside "real" nurses either, but that's a whole nother ball of wax.

    Frankly, if the nursing industry standard was $50,000 at the bedside level (with normal 3% raises) I would be content with that provided we were respected and valued enough by administration, and that nurses had more autonomy and control over their own practice. If you are gonna treat me like shyt though, ya better at least pay me more.
  12. by   fab4fan
    And I don't begrudge teachers anything they have. Most of my teachers in HS took HOURS of work home with them, stayed after school UNCOMPENSATED to work with students/lead student activities, came in early (bless my chem teacher for doing that for me) off the clock, put up with a LOT of crap from bratty kids who had even brattier parents (and this was almost 25y ago).

    As for being off in the summer, well, you don't get a paycheck either. Most teachers I knew had summer jobs. None of them were living in the lap of luxury; they drove old beaters, not the snappiest clothing (except my one Social Studies teacher who was an ex-hippie and had long hair and wore leather vests and jeans...whew!), had very modest homes...

    They were not living the high life at all. Teachers are shaping future generations, and I think they deserve everything they get. One is not more important than the other; we wouldn't be nurses if it were not for the help of teachers (and no, no one in my family is a teacher...this is just one of my "hot button" issues).
  13. by   EmeraldNYL
    I think you are all raising some very good points and are giving me better insight in this situation. I think the reason the pay in Philly is so good is that there is a lot of competition-- just look at how many hospitals we have here. However, my parents live in Southcentral PA and the starting wage there is only about $19, because there are less hospitals fighting over nurses. I think that I will be very happy making $25/hr in Philly, but if I moved back to my hometown and was only making $19/hr, I am not so sure.