Starting pay question?

  1. So I am a student nurse, still have a while to go, but I received some disturbing news today at my hospital I am doing clinicals at. I am getting my BSN degree. They said Associate degree nursing get paid 15.00/hour and that BSN nurses get 16/hour with top out being 17-18/hour. I am disturbed by the fact that I won't ever make any more than 17-18/hour. Is this normal? This seems really low for what nurses do. Plus we don't even get full 40 hour weeks only 36 hour work week. Can someone please tell me if this is normal or not?

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Visit Wrangler156 profile page

    About Wrangler156, BSN

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 75; Likes: 40


  3. by   Double-Helix
    First, who is "they"? Human Resources employees, (the ones who really know the starting salary and increment scale) will almost never tell anyone directly what the starting salary and max salary is. If you've just heard this from nurses on the floor, I'd take it with a very large container of salt, as it's unlikely accurate information.

    Second, what is your location? What is the average salary for nurses in your area? Salaries depend hugely on your location, the demand for your profession in that location, and cost of living. Do you know what other hospitals are paying? I can almost guarantee that the salary that your hospital offers will be similar to the average in your area. They need to be competitive if they are going to attract and keep employees.

    Third, there is no such thing as a "top out" salary. Cost of living increases, experience increases, specialty certifications are all bargaining tools for employees when negotiating their salary. There may be a top out for new graduates with no experience, but it's just not realistic that there would be a cap on all employees, or that the financial information would be so readily available.

    Fourth, this really doesn't need to be a concern to you right now as a student. IF you decide to seek employment at this hospital after graduating and IF you receive a job offer, you will learn what the actual salary is that you are being offered. Then you can negotiate, choose to accept the offer, or walk away.

    Fifth, it's not likely that your first nursing job will be the same job you have for your entire career. You might relocate, seek another specialty, switch to another hospital, etc. Saying that you'll "never" make more than $18 per hour assumes that (if that's actually the real salary) you'll never work anywhere other than this one hospital. That's just not realistic.

    So, in the unlikely chance that the information that you learned is actually accurate, this is simply one hospital in one town in the entire world. The salaries that they offer don't make or break your future. You have plenty of options and ways to earn more money if you want to. For right now, focus on learning how to be a nurse and earning your license. Worry about how much money you'll be making later- later as in when you have a license and have been offered a job.
  4. by   Trenata
    That pay seems really low, but I guess it depends on where you are located. I am in Texas, DFW area and the starting pay for bachelor degreed nurse is $21/hr.
  5. by   Wrangler156
    Thank you for the response, sorry I did not specify "they" are infact human resources I spoke with them today . I live in Northeastern TN, Students at school that are graduating have said they got offered normally between 25-27/hour starting out, but who knows if they are telling the truth or what.
  6. by   Wrangler156
    I must say I truly do love Texas, that is mine and my husband's dream location thank you for the response!
  7. by   KelRN215
    The "normal" salary for nurses depends on a LOT of things. Personally, I would never work as a nurse for $15 or $16/hr. In my area, aides can make almost that much. LPNs make significantly more than that so no, I would never work as an RN for that kind of money. I started out making $27/hr six years ago and know that new grads in my city make over $30 at a union hospital.
  8. by   MommaTy
    That sounds like CNA pay! Here in mass (where I am located) starting nurse pay in LTC is 25/hr and 34+/hr.
  9. by   Fireman767
    Nurses here in PA start at $21, after doing the courses they can get up to $30.

    Nurses in my home state of CT can make up to $39/hour. But a starting graduate shouldnt expect to make that, your bottom of the barrel, it takes time to make money like that. For not focus on getting though the program. No point in getting worked up on pay when you may not pass the program.
  10. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from Fireman767
    Nurses here in PA start at $21, after doing the courses they can get up to $30.
    ^Not this nurse in PA....BSNs in my metro area start at 26-40 bucks plus in my area-as NEW grads, just FYI...both low and high tier salaries are from the most reputable hospitals where new grads want to get into.

    It depends on the region, cost of living, economics of the hospital. Once you get experience, certified in your profession, and other assets as a part of your career, you will make more. Also remember differential pay as well. Nursing salary can be very relative. Sometimes the places where your pay is more lower tier may be the most satisfying...and you are still able to make a living.

    Focus on schooling FIRST, then decide what facility you want to apply to. Best of luck to you.
  11. by   JasonBush
    My wife is graduating as a BSN on Sunday. Recently a friend told me a low number like that so I started searching. Finding reliable data has been difficult, but I finally found data that is updated quarterly by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which stated the average starting pay for a graduating nurse is $52,800 as of April this year. While they do sell more detailed products, that gives me some peace of mind that if that was broken down it's slightly over $1,000/week $25+/hr (if averaged at 40 hours a week) and it has gone up about $600/yr from their last report. This same source was quoted on and this is specific to 4-year grads.

    From the public (free) report:
    While engineering students are the highest-paid, students
    majoring in the health sciences saw the largest overall
    increase to their average starting salaries, which bumped
    up 9.4 percent to $49,713. Fueling the increase was
    not only the fact that nursing salaries rose 4.3 percent to
    $52,800, but also that general health sciences majors
    salaries rose nearly 20 percent to $45,200.

    Data source:
    Last edit by JasonBush on Apr 29, '13 : Reason: correction
  12. by   JasonBush
    It turns out I was able to do the job seeker report for free too under the research tab. Where we live it would be likely to be offered about $22.50, but my wife seems to have made a good impression where she did her clinical work in the best hospital in the region and they might pay a little better than average.

    Your salary data output values, seeking employment as Registered Nurses in South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI:

    There are 2780 persons employed as Registered Nurses in South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI.

    Starting salaries (The 10th percentile) for this occupation are $42970

    The median salary for this occupation is $57350.

    The top earners for this occupation have an annualized salary of $75280

    Based upon the information that you have provided, the market will likely offer you an annual salary of approximately $46800.

    The above figures represent monetary compensation only, and do not include any other forms of compensation, such as: benefits, overtime or bonus pay.
  13. by   StayHumble11
    $15 an hour? C'mon don't be ridiculous. Smh
  14. by   cnoto34
    That seems really low but it does depend where you live... I live in the Bay Area in CA and I have heard that starting pay is anywhere from 38-50 an hour!!!