why the low pay?

Nurses General Nursing


I have read the news articles posted regarding low pay for nurses and I would like to give you all my 2 cents worth. During the late sixties and early 70's the womans movement made some strides for "equal pay for equal work." and opened some doors for women to enter mostly male proffessions and men to female professions. Their big oversite were the proffessions that have been traditionally "Pink collar". The big 2 of these proffessions are nursing and teaching. As the role of Nursing changed from being the "handmaidens"of the Dr. to being a true partner of the Dr. Our image has never changed. Rather than being concidered highly trained and educated members of the health care system we are seen as "angels of mercy". The trouble is the pay for angels sucks. Staffing is controlled by what insuance companies and the government want to reimburse. I believe that the womans movement and the feminist movement have ignored us because they have been too busy getting woment into the boardroom than geting better pay for the traditionally female proffession what is due them. As the expected educational level of nurses rises and the skills needed become higher the public needs to find out what is expected of nursing and what the public is accually paying for this service. I intend to contact my local paper and ask them to ivestigate the educational level expected of a BSN vs pay rate. I think that the feminist movement needs to get involved and become more than a 1 issue organization. I am not discounting the contobution of the many many men in nursing or any other levels of nursing I am trying to find a kind of midpoint, a jump off point. what do you think?

one more thought we need a spell check button on this board!!!

You had put it nicely: doctors and nurses are health care partners. It should be percieved this way. How can we educate the public, and where do we start?

I agree with you that the public needs to know more about what it takes to be a nurse today. My friends are often surprised to hear that many nurses are BSNs & higher. They answered: "If you have to study so much, why don't you become doctors instead?" I had to tell them that docs and nurses are two different professions, some of us choose to be docs, and some prefer to be nurses. Different doesn't mean lower or higher. In fact, some nurses I knew did go on to study to become doctors. It's a question of choice for many, not a question of levels of intelligence.

We have to take science courses that many of my friends had tried to avoid when they were in college! In most schools in NY, in order to be accepted by the nursing programs, students need to have a higher GPA then other degree programs, especially in science courses. I am sure in other cities it's similar.

Surely we understand that the health care organizations need to have good profit. They have to justify their investments. It's also true that they provide the majority of the jobs for the nurses. But nurses are taking care of their customers, this makes looking after nurses good business & good internal/ external PR for the hospitals and health care orgs. A Good Long Term Investment.

Best wishes,


[ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: eventsnyc ]

As I have stated in previous posts, the "equal pay for equal work" campaign in the seventies did examine the nursing profession and concluded that we should be getting paid as much as engineers. That was the prodominately male profession that they equated us with. Ask your average engineer what he/she makes and see if your income is similar?

In the are I live in there are 4 hospitals in 2 counties and all of them enjoy "Non profit" tax status and build lots of shiney new parking garages and medical buildings. I am aware that equal pay studies were done re: nurses/engineers but that was as far as it got.

Many non-profits have huge Foundation Funds, which pay for these improvements. These Foundations are fed by millions of dollars of charitable donations by local citizens from the community. They are restricted in how this money is used. For instance, it generally can't go for payroll raises.

I also have felt that the feminist movement abandoned us. I do agree with the general idea of your post.

[ June 02, 2001: Message edited by: feistynurse ]

Not only did the womens movement abandon us but they turned their noses up at us. Called us a female ghetto as if it was beneath them to lift a finger to assist us. I wonder if this is not a type of female on female violence. Did they not realize by looking down on female dominated professions they were adopting the attitudes of the male overseers? :confused:

yes oramar and when people ask me if I support "the cause" I say what cause not mine they left me standing in their dust

If you want some insight into just how nurses's wages are being kept so low, the post by PeggyOhio on "Market Meddling" is a must-read!! Better yet, read the entire article Peggy has linked to on "Filipino Nurses"!

It will make you see red when you realize just how badly we are being screwed!! :eek:

+ Add a Comment