This months AJN (Jan 2002) has an interesting article called Future Employment Trends in Nursing - pretty honest about the realities of acute care nursing today. Using available data from 1998, it tracks the median salaries of RNs, LPNs, Pharamacists, Social Workers, Physician Assistants and Physical Therapists across the country:
PAs were the highest paid at an average of $30.99/hr.
Physical Therapists $24.6/hr
Social Workers $17.20/hr
Average RN wages were lowest in Iowa at $15.53/hr and highest in Hawaii at $28.76 .
The article says numbers are going up but in reality "going nowhere". Average RN salary for 2000 nation-wide was reported in numbers as $46,782, according to the Bureau of Health Professions but when adjusted for inflation, the real median salary was only $23,369 - esentially unchanged since 1992.
The article tells of all the things that employers are doing to attract nurses by giving them more money in the form of sign on bonuses (not real salary) and that still there is a shortage of nurses willing to work at bedsides because of the work environment. It then goes on to explain about that. Its an interesting article. Most hospitals have AJN in their library. Check it out if you dont subscribe.