Quote from iteachob
I've learned to look at it as a type of mission work.
It is, absolutely. I didn't think anyone made less than I did for a 9-month contract, then I talked to a friend at a different college, and she makes $38,000. The reason I still do it is because I believe strongly in the difference I can make in the students' learning experience and in the future of nursing. Of course, that doesn't stop me from squawking about it and trying to change things internally by showing salary comparisons (and you know how effective that's been, lol). It's sad that I made more as a new grad years ago than as a nurse with years of experience and an advanced degree. A total slap in the face, especially when you include all you do outside
the classroom- the clinical prep work and assignments, the researching for lectures, thinking of new ways to teach that are fun and interesting. I usually spend most of my summer and many hours each week that will never be paid.
Even more pitiful is that there is no real financial incentive to obtain advanced nursing degrees. If I pay out of pocket for my PhD at the institution of my choice, it would cost me an estimated $74,000 for my top choice and $40,000 for my distant second choice, yet upon completion, I will earn a whopping $10,000 more per year. If I have one more person ask me if I "like making the big bucks doing such an easy job" it will not go well for them.
It is also really hard to hear so many "all instructors are evil" comments when you look at how much most of us care and how much we sacrifice to do what we love to do. I also work a 12 hour shift most weekends to supplement my pay and often full time in the summer.
As for the shortage, I think the salaries pretty much explain that. If there were truth in advertising, a typical ad might look like this:
"Come work at School "X" where your advanced degree and dedication will earn you even less
than you could ever have imagined. Yes, my dears, you will earn far less
than your students do upon graduation." Somewhere in the fine print it would need to mention that the job will be largely thankless, require long hours, and the ability to be both an expert in nursing and in education simultaneously.
And who wouldn't beat down the door for that promise
All kidding aside, 99% of the time I love my job and my students, I just think it's time that America in general starts placing a higher value and priority on education.