Depressed over salary - page 2

Just how much are they offering you? I see a lot of posts about how bad the pay is, but I actually think it's pretty decent, especially for an AS degree. Please don't knock me down for this, but I... Read More

  1. by   Mijourney
    Hi. For a while, it seemed as if my salary was livable, but after the first 10 years in nursing, my W2 forms started looking like a broken record year after year no matter what I was doing in nursing. Some experts have aptly pointed out that after the downsizings, acquistions, mergers occurred in the 1990's with a high number of medical and health services going for profit and the increased impact of managed care that nursing salaries fell below inflation.

    While the major problem in nursing practice is not with salaries, salary deficits are in the top five or ten concerns for most nurses. Having salaries below inflation means we're not able to keep pace with the cost of living. Therefore, some of us are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck if that.

    One of the things that is going on with nursing is that many people that are entering the field are coming in as career changers. Perhaps we should also consider looking at expanding our opportunities with additional education or a different experience or some kind. I always say to my friends that even though you'll always be needed as a nurse, it's important to have other alternatives on the side if you find yourself in a rut.
  2. by   angil
    I think the pay can be looked at in different perspectives. Cost of living, amount, and cost of education, compared to who, or what other profession, compared to the other medical professions, and whom is doing what. I have an AAS, and make $54,000. + a year, am off holidays, and weekends, have full benefits, and an office, but miss patient care. We all have things we like or dislike about our jobs, the key is to prioritize enjoyment or income, and pursue the priority. If you're blessed enough to find both that's great! By the way, I'm an Infection Control Coordinator for a State Hospital. Comparing ourselves to others can bring disappointment, or joy. There will always be people who are better or worse off than we are. Nursing has "heart" rewards that are not found as CPA's, or computer whizzes. There isn't enough money in the world that would replace some of the "heart" experiences I've had. Can you put a price on making someone alse feel better, either emotionally, or physically. I hope anyone considering becoming a nurse is doing it for the right reasons, and not expecting to become $ rich. The richness in nursing iswhen your heart feels good at the end of a day.
  3. by   nosilanurse
    As a Canadian nurse and with working with a Union it is the union and the gov. that sets our wages. Right now starting wage here is 18.95\hr (New Grad) I have been working for only nine years and am at the top of my pay scale 24.92\hr. Yet if a new grad where to go across the boarder into Alberta s\he would make appr. 25.00\hr now is that fair Also I have some family members and friends who work in a lumber mill with a high school diploma making more money\hr than me I think nurses need to get paid more fair across the board, also I think we and other proffesionals should get paid according to the cost of living in that province\state
  4. by   swacht
    To see what you are wages are for diffent parts of the country as well as how they compare to the cost of living, check out (Go under health care, then click your specific job) You can compare this information to the national average or what you would make in another city. This is put together by someother than the healthcare industy HR people.

    Good news I have more than doubled my wage in my ten years of nursing.

    Bad news New grads are making around 60% than I did ten years ago.
  5. by   fergus51
    It should be noted that when nosilanurse talks about wages those are Canadian dollars. It's the same here. The highest paid nurses get about 18$ US. When a new grad can make 23 in NJ, why would they want to stay?
  6. by   essarge
    Very well said angil!!

    While I don't graduate until '04, I did check out the starting wages for my area BEFORE I decided to go back to school. My husband drives paratransit bus and makes $13.00 per hour and we have a family of 4. While I'm in school I will not be working, so we will depend on my husband's wages to live. We have a mortgage, taxes, other bills plus two teen boys.

    I hear complaining about how much nurses don't make and I fully understand, but like angil said, nursing is mostly heart (not money). Before my father passed, he always said "Live within your means". It can be done. He had only one credit card and only used it in case of emergency. He always told me to make sure that I really NEEDED what I was purchasing, and that it wasn't something that I just WANTED (like that pair of shoes that you only wear one time, but really needed!).

    I do feel that institutions need to pay nurses more, but like it was stated, you can't compare apples and oranges. But the answer to this lies within each person individually. If you want something bad enough, fight for it (in the correct manner). Have your aces in their places, facts to back them up and the gumption to say what you want. Be the politician if you have to. If you don't get what you want and the grass still seems greener on the other side, jump the fence and try that pasture. But I'd be willing to bet that pasture has some barren spots too!
  7. by   Nonnie Smith
    For what it's worth---which is very little---I'd like to add my two-cents worth.

    I think one of the biggest problems---and why we will never be in total agreement, here---is because there's such differences in what nurses doing the exact same jobs earn, in different areas of the country.

    I'm an LPN. When I divorced after a lonnnng marriage, I knew I wanted to work in the health care field.

    But I had myself and a son to support, so---I "did my homework", for the area I was living, and decided on nursing.

    And---I felt I'd made a very good choice! I lived at that time in a rural area in Alabama---I started at a wonderful LTC facility, making a base salary of $12.50/hr, with shift differential, and what they called an "attendance incentive" bringing my overall wage up to close to $14 an hour. I was doing something I loved, supporting myself adequately, and I was satisfied. I knew I could have made more in a large city, but I opted for the convenience of no commute.

    Then I moved for personal reasons to a rural area in Louisiana, naively expecting to make roughly the same.

    Imagine my horror to find that the highest paying facility in this area starts you, IF you have experience!, at $10.25---no shift diff, no incentives---just a straight hourly wage.

    Is the costs of living less here? No! If anything, it's far worse!

    Oh! And just as another point I found interesting. That facility that pays $10.25? They're part of a corporation that owns over 100 LTC facilities, and they are absolutely terrified of any talk of nurses unionizing---

    Some areas pay nurses well--I have a step-daughter who's a travel RN, and she's making $32/hr, with her apartment provided. If she came back here to work, she would make $13-15/hr.

    Is it any wonder that there's actually a severe nursing shortage, here???
  8. by   Nonnie Smith
    Ya'll---it very much depends on where you live whether you're making a decent wage!

    I'm an LPN. I 'started over' in life after a lonnng marriage, and I knew, I wanted to work in healthcare, it was a life-long dream.

    But, I had myself, and a son to support, so, I 'did my homework', and decided on nursing.

    I started fresh out of school at a LTC facility in a rural area of Alabama at $12.50/hr base pay, with shift differential and what they called 'attendance incentives' bringing me up to about $14/hr.

    The work was hard, but very satisfying, and I was supporting us adequately. I was very satisfied with my choice.

    Then for personal reasons, I moved to a rural area in Louisiana, naively expecting to make basically the same wages.


    The highest paying facility here pays a straight $10.25/hr, with no shift diff, no incentives---

    Is the cost of living less here? NO! It's much worse!

    I have a step-daughter who works as a travel RN in cardiac. She makes $32/hr, and they provide her apartment, along with other nice little incentives. If she came back here, she would make around $, if that much. Most RNs start at $13---that's less than I made, as an LPN!

    Is there any wonder that there's a severe nursing shortage, here?
  9. by   2LTCnurses
    Ne Pennsylvania......starting for LPN is $15.00/hr. and we now have a $2.00/hr. shift differential for incentives for weekends. I know this is probably good, but it is still frustrating that with my experience and high skill rate is not that much higher than the starting!
    Our yearly eval. "merit" raise is 3% MAX!!!!! No matter how good you are .......that's it!!!! Last year it was 6% max......different parent company now........heavy sigh........
  10. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by CraigB-RN
    I just accepted a job that pays a whopping 17.25/hr after making $46/hr for the past year. However I also just bought a 2500sq/ft house for $45k and 216 acres for another $40k. I paid cash with money saved while making the $80+K/yr for the past 18 months. I"m happy as a clam. My only concern now is boredom. It's a small 16 bed rural hosp, were the nurses do everything. ER, Med-Surg, outpt surg and even community health. [/B]
    In the ghetto and in the desert???
  11. by   fiestynurse
    When discussing nursing salaries, I always like to compare our salaries to others. Here are some real life salaries that I have recently come across:

    Warehouse worker ....... $17.70/hr
    Butcher.......................... $19.00/hr
    Brick layer...................... $25.00/hr
    Maintenance man.......... $18.10/hr
    Cement mixer................ $19.50/hr
    Traffic signal tech.......... $19.80/hr
    Computer programmer.. $26.50/hr
    Carpenter...................... $32.00/hr
    Fed Ex deliveryman....... $17.30/hr

    Now, think about the amount of education and experience required, the physical labor, stress, responsibility of your current position. Are you getting paid what you are worth?
  12. by   fiestynurse
    Sorry, computer stuttered.
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Jul 7, '01
  13. by   KC CHICK
    Could I please introduce another perspective to this conversation??
    My fiance is a police officer. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, state certification, went to the police academy, and has over 2 years' experience putting his LIFE on the line. He makes a whopping 14.00/hr.
    I just graduated with my ADN and have only been working in the field of nursing for ONE MONTH. I make 17.56/hr.
    Personally, I don't think the pay for nurses is too bad.
    Last edit by KC CHICK on Jul 9, '01