Thinking about nursing

  1. I've read thru some of the comments here and I consistently see "low pay" and "hard work", well the hard work is something I can deal with but I don't see where the "low pay" is coming from since the AD's I see for RN's start at around 20$'s an hour and go up to 40+$'s an hour with experience and further training,
    When you people say low pay what do you mean? That you make 25$'s an hour but you've over extended yourself or that you make far less than this and decent paying jobs in nursing are not the norm.
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    About JohnB

    Joined: May '03; Posts: 5


  3. by   RN2007
    John, I have noticed this same thing on this board as well and have been stunned. I am looking to go back into nursing mostly because I like the field but also because the money is really good in comparison to many careers that require a Masters Degree or even higher, and of which you get out of school only to be paid around $ 23,000 per year. Back when I got my degrees, I was not an internet user and it was not so easy to go online and do salary comparisons of the careers I was interested in. Today, we all have access to this info and it makes things so much easier. Back then, I got my B.S. in Psychology with a Minor in Business Administration, and got my Masters Degree in Counseling. The colleges I went to and programs were no walk in the park, and I was very surprised to find out the going rate for this profession when I got out in the real world. It just did not make sense!

    While the nursing program is most definitely very challenging, I think it is fantastic that you can go to school for 2 years, get your RN license, then get a job that pays almost twice or more than many new graduates today who have Masters Degrees or more. Sure, I understand that nursing has many drawbacks, but just imagine what a licensed mental health counselor has go through by getting paid almost nothing and they must protect their licenses as well in a system that is soooo understaffed, underpaid and underappreciated that it is just not funny. No wonder we have the problems we do in mental health today. Licensed Social workers who have to go through the same # of years of college as Licensed mental health counselors, must jump through similar hoops to get and keep their license, and make twice as much as those in mental health. Does anyone know why? Seems like we have our priorities really messed up!! But I will not waste your time going into that one, because it would take many books to explain. Oh, and there are soooo many other careers that have similar stories as these. So no, you will not get rich becoming a nurse. However, this is my mid-life career change that I am going to work toward and feel that I have done my homework. I know that I have the right reasons for becoming a RN and just am very glad that the program does not take another decade of my life to go to college before I can get back into the world of work. Years ago, I used to work alongside nurses and have recently used this board to learn more about what is expected of nurses today, so I feel that I know what I am getting myself into. Good luck any career you go into. ....April
  4. by   happystudent

    most rns i work with get paid very well! alot of them drive big and expensive suvs go on amazing vacations etc, etc..... dont sweat it johnb, I think peole dont realize that alot of us regular folks can get by on a 50k salary. right now i make 16,000 a yeay as a critical care tech in er (part time) when I graduate, I will be going from making 12.79hr to 27.00hr as a Rn... so i,m not compaining.
  5. by   JohnB
    As I thought the money is as good as you are at your job, I made 50k a year at Intel but I couldn't stand my job (meaningless should be done by a machine) I prefer to help people and nursing looked like it may be the way.
    Now all I have to worry about is "can I cut the schooling" and the "baby eating nurses"
  6. by   KevinN
    I am glad this subject finally came up. I also was wondering why some nurses complain about how much they earn. I have no doubt that their jobs can be stressful and they do deserve to be compensated for there services. However for us average folk I am sure the pay we will receive as nurses will be equal to or more than we are used to earning. At least it will be in my case.
  7. by   rebel_red
    The money may appear to be "good", but ask yourself this question: Is there really a pay scale that is commensurate with the value of human life? Because as syrupy as it sounds that is what nurses are responsible for on a daily, minute by minute basis. The life and health of those in thier charge.

    (who won't even mention all the other roles nurses assume, because I am sure you all are well aware.......)
  8. by   KevinN
    Rebel_Red , I am just curious to what you think nurses should be paid and how exactly you came to this dollar amount?

  9. by   RN2007
    Now that we are talking about it. A general family physician that has his own practice that has to pay for his own employees, office, etc., etc., ends up clearing for himself only about
    $40 - 50,000 per year if that , in many states, and they have to go to school 4-ever to become MDs. And, yes I know this to be true, because I read this on some internet message boards and I have a few friends who are doctors. Of course, the experienced drs. working for hospitals and specialists will always earn a lot more money than that, however all these drs. have enormous pressures of liability on their shoulders, and their license and/or practices can be taken away.

    So, with that said, why would RNs think that their salaries are way too low? I keep hearing this thing about the worth of human life, and while I get what you are saying, please understand that RNs only have to have a 2 yr nursing degree in order to make a nice beginning working wage while many, many other occupations do not get paid anywhere near that for a B.S. Degree, Masters Degree, PhD, and license to boot. I am sure that drs. balk all the time about how much more their time is worth especially in this HMO managed care atmosphere we live in. So, when you objectively take a good long look at the time it takes to learn a craft in school, license, etc., nursing seems to be a winning profession if you have the psychological traits and physical stamina to be able to hack it.
  10. by   happystudent
    Kev, I know you were asking rebel but i have another two cents to add....regarding your question.

    Well, I feel rns should be paid related to their educational level/compentence and experience. Technology has increased so much over the years that rns are constantly learning day by day. So with that said... I think in the ball park of 50k-100k depending
    apon the skill level of course. If nursing was a male dominated field--- I guarantee you pahtnuh, they would be making that ca-ching$$$$$. flames.................JMHO
  11. by   rebel_red
    Everyone makes salient points. My initial point was that we do not value the so called "helping" professions. Primarily nurses/teachers/social workers. They have traditionally been jobs held by women (entirely different thread) and consequently seen as "noble callings" and "vocations" not professions. We pay lipservice to the value of these jobs but our words are not reflected in pay scale. Society's perception of jobs seems to play an immense role in how people are reimbursed. I wonder if people think those of us in these roles are bucking for sainthood. Professional fulfillment and commensurate rate of pay do not have to be mutually exclusive. How much of the current pay scales are due to a nursing shortage? What were the initial causal factors of that shortage? (I know we all know the answer!)

    As to RN's having 2 years of education and a good starting salary: I have a Bachelors in Social Work. The first two years of university were spent in general education classes. Only the last two years focused solely on my major, including my practicum. Therefore it could be argued that my B.S.W. is really only 2 years of education related directly to my former field of practice. (Now I am just playing devil's advocate, but you see my point?)

    Yes it does look wonderful compared to the rates of other four year degrees.....Yet how many of you feel your undergrad classes the pre-req's were really necessary and relevant? ( I mean history, philosophy, lit ect. I loved those classes primarily because I am a curious nerd thing, but how many people just wade through em cause they have to?) Should our 4 year programs have an overhaul? Or is it just people want to say "I went to such and such uni I have a four year degree..." Lets face it we all know idiots with bachelors, masters and doctorates...Education is like anything doesn't guarantee a better professional.

    RN2007's point is well taken....How many people do have the stamina, the physical and psychological resources to "hack" nursing? Again it could be argued "not many, or some but not for their entire professional lives...."

    As to the Docs....Malpractice insurance cost has spiralled completely out of control. Again examine the causal factors.. are there bad doc out there....sure. Yet there are probably far more nuisance lawsuits and overinflated awards than there are (one would hope) incompetent physicians.

    Okay I am just digressing all over the place here! Sorry, multiple, related issues...

    Kev to answer your question:
    That was my whole initial point. There is no truly viable way to arrive at a dollar amount that incorporates parts of nursing that are intangibles. However I do agree with happystudent regarding "level of education, demonstrated competence, experience." (Which oddly enough brings us full circle to bsn v


    Good luck to everyone in your chosen programs. Ya'll obviously have the critical thinking skills part down.....
  12. by   marilynmom
    Most general RN's do not make $25 an hour though, not at all.

    There is a thread around here somewhere where everyone posted how much they made (it may be in a different forum). Most were only being paid $12-$16 an hour. Some expensive high cost of living states paid more (I think someone from NYC said she made $50 an hour).

    Here where I live floor RNs make $15-$16/hr which is barely enough to live on, let alone support a family especially after you deduct taxes, health insurance, and all that.

    Now after you have some experience you can work for an agency and make $25-$30 an hour but that is with no benifits (no health insurance, etc) and you go from place to place to place. I know most of the nurses I see (my husband works down for a big hospital system here) that drive the big SUVs work for angencies and have husbands or whatever to pick up their health insurance. I am married, but there are a lot of single, divorced, etc people out there who dont have that luxury.

    But needless to say I do belive there is money in nursing. Now I am not doing it for the money, but with more education you can certainly make good money. I know 2 nurses (they float between 2 hospitals) and last year they each made about $70K (no benifits though but they are married and also make up there own schedual and work when THEY want to work so that is a plus if you dont need benifits). Here you can buy a REALLY (4 bedroom, 2500sq ft+, etc) nice house for $90K I know CRNAs here start at about $95K a year.

    But your general floor nurse, in general does not make good money at all overall, most are overworked (imagine working 12 hours with no break...go look over at the general nursing forum and you will see where I asked that), understaffed to where it can be dangerous for the patients and the nurses, mandatory overtime in some parts of the country, etc

    So you cant just make a general statement about how much nurses make or do not make, it varies too widely. And the ADs in the paper saying $25-$30 an hour are for float, etc nurses Some places nurses just dont even make enough money to live on which is ridiculas IMO.

    But its also true that most doctors dont make as much money as people tend to think they do. I know in Parade magazine (you know the one that comes in the Sunday paper) it said most Pediatritions averaged $75K a year and with all the education and responsibilities they have that sure doesn't seem like much money.

    This is an interesting subject that really has no

  13. by   itsme
    No matter how much money you make, it isnt enough! I had more spending money as a CNA than a nurse, a cna at 10$ per hour,now a nurse at 18.62 (LPN). BUT, the more you make the more you spend. I have a nice house now, a nice car, my kids are older and therefore more expensive! I do more than I did before. I am able to spend my "allowence" differernt, becasue it is more. But I dont feel I make tons of $. Like I said, I went from 10$ and a 459$ house payment to almost 19$ with a 980$ house payment. It evens out in the end! Now I am not sure if this post has made any sense at all!! Oh well, off to work!
  14. by   RN2007
    Well, I live in FL and have a girlfriend who is a RN just out of her ADN program and her starting pay at a hospital was $ 24.50 per hour and that does not include the extra shift differential that she makes or the benefits she gets. I have seen her paycheck. FL is not a very expensive place to live unless you live in the million dollar homes on the beach, but otherwise the cost of living is pretty good over here. Also, I know for a fact that RNs in NC have similar starting wages as FL because my cousin is an RN there and has explained in detail about these things. However, obviously RNs do not get paid this much in more rural areas, etc., for what ever reason. Always do your homework before you move, take a job, etc., because you do not want any negative surprises.