new grad wage vs experienced wage

  1. The hospital I work ( GR, Michigan) at has RN wages ranging from $21-$30 per hour not including shift premiums and incentive pay. I talked with a couple of RNs with 4-7 years experience and they said they only make a buck or so more than the starting wage. The starting rate for new grads increases at a greater rate than increases for experienced RNs. So in a nut shell RNs never make it to the top wage. I guess I figure after 5-10 years it should be based on skill and not necessarily years on the job. I mean this isn't factory work where years mean everything.

    What is everyone's thoughts on wages on experienced RNs? How long should it take to get to the middle point and the max wage? Assuming that the person is a good skilled RN with a good attitude.

    I've worked in other fields and it seems to me that in order to get top wage a person must be willing to move around to other companies to get it.
  2. Visit 1776patriot profile page

    About 1776patriot

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 35; Likes: 34

    16 Comments

  3. by   Shamira Aizza
    The phenomenon can certainly be individually driven.

    Compared to many Assoc. degree or BS degree entry level grads, nursing often has a comparatively higher entry-level wage, frequently with attractive incentives such as bonuses or loan payback.

    That said, it seems the ceiling can be found fairly soon. Unless, of course, you take a specific career track like anesthesia, or shoot specifically to become a CNO or something like that, in which case you can sometimes find jobs that rival private industry in wages for that sort of position.

    My take...there are too many opportunities for RN's to be settling in for the long term in a particular field. Money is important...we have to pay bills, support families, fund retirement, and maintain our chosen standard of living. HOWEVER, I believe life experience is equally as priceless, so I've chosen a balance of economy and good times, and I encourage any young nurse to do the same.

    I've done ER, Interv. Rad, CTICU, Surgical ICU, helicopters, international transport, and now I'm learning a new skill set in a pediatric ICU (cardiac), and I'm not done yet. This has given me the opportunity to avoid burnout, and be less fearful of change. I've also gotten to move a few times and lived in places where it might be hard to find a job in a non-nursing career.

    Now it's blending this new job with grad school, and possibly back into the military where I got my start...the wandering itch needs to be scratched.

    When I eventually retire (with a lot of money because I live well within my means), I anticipate that it will be in an RV taking a couple of travel assignments per year....

    If you make all of your career choices specifically about improving your wage, you will probably end up miserable.
  4. by   TazziRN
    I've never heard of there only being a buck or two difference in new grad vs experienced pay, sorry. All places have a starting salary for new grads that is lower than what experienced nurses get. I'm sorry, but I don't agree about skill being the basis for raises. Years do mean something.
  5. by   snowfreeze
    A well rounded experienced nurse should make more than someone who has a few years experience.
  6. by   PedsRNBSN
    it was like this at the first hospital i worked in. new grad pay increased more each year to stay competitive with the other local hospitals and cost of living increases. however, each nurse (with experience there) usually got about a 3% raise each year. therefore some of the nurses with 3-5 years experience were not making that much less than a new grad. in fact when i started there i was making $0.12 less than a nurse with 2 years experience.

    in order to get more money for experience in this area it does you good to hop hospitals. you will end up getting more for your experience as evidenced in a higher starting pay at another hospital than years of small yearly raises.
  7. by   Rizpah
    Where I work (LTC)(for the past 15 yrs) we have a base starting wage, an increase at 90 days and a year and then 20 cents a year after that. With all the years I've been there and for all of the responsibilities I have, I only make maybe a buck and a half more than a new grad that would be starting. Bugs me sometimes, but it's a choice I made, I'm comfortable where I'm at, don't have any desire to be changing jobs, work is only 5 miles from home.....
  8. by   Cattitude
    Quote from pedsrnbsn
    it was like this at the first hospital i worked in. new grad pay increased more each year to stay competitive with the other local hospitals and cost of living increases. however, each nurse (with experience there) usually got about a 3% raise each year. therefore some of the nurses with 3-5 years experience were not making that much less than a new grad. in fact when i started there i was making $0.12 less than a nurse with 2 years experience.

    in order to get more money for experience in this area it does you good to hop hospitals. you will end up getting more for your experience as evidenced in a higher starting pay at another hospital than years of small yearly raises.
    but at my (union) hospital, when the starting salary increases, we get that increase as well. so we always make more than a dollar or so more than a new grad.
  9. by   mom2michael
    What I have noticed is the system rewards people for experience more so than rewarding their own employees for their continued years of service.

    For example an RN at my facility who has worked there for 10 years, as an RN the entire time makes $2.50 less an hour than an RN that walks in off the street today with 10 years of experience at another facility. That makes no sense at all. Plus the RN who walks in off the street now gets a $5000 sign on bonus and a year contract, all the while the RN that has busted her hiney for this facility for 10 years gets a pin and a card on her 10 year anniversary and they might have a small party for her.

    Does not make sense to me. It forces the staff to start looking after 8-10 years because the incinitives to stay are now gone.
  10. by   CIRQL8
    One place that I worked was like that... New RN salary went up faster than competative wage increases for experienced nurses. This will happen when concentration is greater for recruitment than for retention. New RNs were making just a buck or two less than some that had been there 8 to 10 years.

    Where I work now (non-union), when new RN salaries go up, current salaries increase exactly the same percentage. Capped pay also goes up by the same percentage. Example, next month there is an across-the-board increase of 3% for all patient care RN's. If you are at the cap (max salary), your pay will still go up by 3%.

    Non-patient care RNs are on a different pay scale determined by job classification.
  11. by   SummerGarden
    Older generations wonder why younger generations (which includes myself) are not loyal to companies! This thread is also an example of Nursing being no different then any other career field.

    For example, I worked for a company where I was one of the top earners in my Department. Without me, the department would have been in the red (I calculated my contribution vs the actual budget since my supervisor allowed me to see it!) Anyway, I requested to leave the department or receive a promotion within the department and I was denied several times. On the other hand, people of lesser value to the company quit and returned with a promotion and bonus!

    I threatened to do the same and was told by the Executive Director "You have to do what you have to do." Well I quit and the Executive Director had a fit. He blew up at me in front of everyone and acted like he had no idea why I would want to leave. After I left both my former Supervisor and the Executive Director were fired within two years for low job performance/production. Now I am making plans to return because I am being given just about everything I requested before and more! :spin:

    It sounds silly, but in my case it worked! And so, if I do not receive the opportunities and promotions I wish to have in my first company working as a RN, I WILL NOT stay. I'm thinking about me and my career, which improves the lives (financial security) of my family who I give 100% of my loyalty, period! If a company wants any form of loyalty from me, my bosses will have to either meet my demands completely or make concessions. Giving me nothing, as was the case with my former employers, will not work.
  12. by   llg
    I have worked for several different hospitals over the course of my career and have found that the salary structure varies from place to place. There is not one industry-wide standard.

    In one hospital, RN's in the staff nurse role reached the top of the salary scale in approximately 6 years. It was a very narrow salary range for the position and experienced nurses did not make all that much more than inexperienced ones. However, there was a noticable difference between each of the 6 years. (i.e. A nurse with 2 years experience made noticably more than a new grad. It just leveled off after 6 years.)

    In my current hospital, it takes approximately 20 years for a new grad to reach the top of the salary scale as the range is very wide. With the wide range added together with a retention bonus, experienced nurses make significantly more than new grads -- but it takes about 5 years before that difference is noticable. There is not that much difference between a new grad and someone with 3 years of experience, for example. The pay goes up slowly from 1 year to the next, but longevity is rewarded if people stay long enough for those little bits to add up.

    I prefer a happy medium.
    Last edit by llg on Mar 29, '07
  13. by   DTCC PreRN
    What about asking up front during an interview how the hospital stays competitiave with regards to current talent and new hires? How do they ensure veterans are rewarded in a way that will retain them?

    If the hospital doesn't have a clear plan laid out and salary is a motivating factor, it may not be the right place to work. One day we'll be the veterans and others will be the new grads getting paid more for less.

    If this isn't a current topic at many hospitals, it should be. It's a current topic in Corporate America. Retention is extremly important.
  14. by   I_am_Julia
    very smart person.

    off topic a bit... i find this is true for a lot of people who worked in previous careers prior to nursing.

    Quote from mba2brn
    older generations wonder why younger generations (which includes myself) are not loyal to companies! this thread is also an example of nursing being no different then any other career field.

    for example, i worked for a company where i was one of the top earners in my department. without me, the department would have been in the red (i calculated my contribution vs the actual budget since my supervisor allowed me to see it!) anyway, i requested to leave the department or receive a promotion within the department and i was denied several times. on the other hand, people of lesser value to the company quit and returned with a promotion and bonus!

    i threatened to do the same and was told by the executive director "you have to do what you have to do." well i quit and the executive director had a fit. he blew up at me in front of everyone and acted like he had no idea why i would want to leave. after i left both my former supervisor and the executive director were fired within two years for low job performance/production. now i am making plans to return because i am being given just about everything i requested before and more! :spin:

    it sounds silly, but in my case it worked! and so, if i do not receive the opportunities and promotions i wish to have in my first company working as a rn, i will not stay. i'm thinking about me and my career, which improves the lives (financial security) of my family who i give 100% of my loyalty, period! if a company wants any form of loyalty from me, my bosses will have to either meet my demands completely or make concessions. giving me nothing, as was the case with my former employers, will not work.

close