misconceptions about nursing pay


As a new graduate nurse who is in the process of getting hired and have been told what my pay is going to be, I have quickly learned that nurses do not make as much as people claim. A lot of people are naive when its come to nursing pay and some even spend close to six figures for schooling. I should also note that pay does vary to location, I'm in the DMV area where cost of living can be decent to expensive. I started this thread to create a discussion about nursing pay and what people should know before they choose this field.

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

"Nursing pay" will vary greatly ....especially from location to location. I wouldn't spend six figures for a nursing education anywhere, though.

I researched pay in my area before deciding on my major. I assumed most people did the same.

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.
I'm in the DMV area where cost of living can be decent to expensive.

Where is that? I only know DMV as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Specializes in Psychiatric, Medical/Surgical. Has 2 years experience.

It varies a lot depending on specialties, too. A med/surg nurse is not necessarily going to make the same salary as an OR nurse (or insert any other specialty here).

In a rural or poorer area, pay can be almost shockingly low compared to what an urban hospital might offer.

Some places offer extra money for night shift and weekend work. Some don't.

I grew up in a fairly blue collar family and I always thought nurses and other healthcare workers made the big bucks. Nursing was something my wealthier classmates' mothers might do. Perspective makes a big difference.


3 Articles; 466 Posts

Specializes in Neurosurgery, Neurology.

In the NYC area, for new graduates, I've seen anywhere from a little over $69K for some city hospitals, up to around $97K for a private hospital (most of the private hospitals offer in the 80s to low 90s for new grads). Of course, the NYC area is generally expensive (some areas more than others of course).

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2 Articles; 2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I too am dying to know where DMV is.

Dallas Metro Vicinity? Hmmm...

Anyway... I live in one of the "poorer" areas of the country; nurses start out generally around 22 dollars an hour most places. I'd say that's the median. Obviously some places pay more, some less.

I paid about oh, around 20-30K for my nursing degree, but that was 13+ years ago.

Tuition has SKYROCKETED.


3 Articles; 466 Posts

Specializes in Neurosurgery, Neurology.

DMV=DC, Maryland, Virginia :up:


237 Posts

Specializes in Vascular Access. Has 13 years experience.

First... I'd love to know what DMV, is.

Secondly. I'd hope most people research pay in regard to the degree in which they are pursuing. I know I did. I preferred a degree in which I felt was perceivably reasonable and paid well. Otherwise I would not have decided on nursing as my career.

Thirdly. Not one nurse starts at the top of the pay grade. Get used to being on the bottom. Unless you are the absolute best at your job you won't see much of a pay increase. This is a fact. We are a dime a dozen.


53 Posts

I'm approaching my one year mark as a new grad. I'm working in the Bay Area, CA and I started off as per diem without benefits at $80/hr plus $10 night differential. But just to put it in the perspective of COL, the average rent for 1 bedroom apartment is around 1700-2000 per month. Of course with this pay the job market is very saturated, and some of my classmates are still looking for jobs/had to move out of state to get experience. And almost all the hospitals require BSN. I was very lucky to get in the new grad program at my hospital as they usually hire travelers. If you don't mind moving, you can take a shot here.


527 Posts

The dmv stands for DC, MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA. I already did some research before I started nursing school but some of those websites are not always accurate and hospitals do raise or lower their wages. Most wages for new grads working hospital in this area are set wage , most new grad base pay range from $25 -$28 an hour.


38,333 Posts

I have found that two nurses, one being better qualified than the other, can be getting two very different rates of pay from the same employer. It is up to the lower-paid, better qualified nurse to find out the disparity, then speak up for her/himself. Then go for the door if the employer gets angry over getting caught playing favorites. The sad part of this aspect of the pay situation is that nurses perpetuate it by not standing up for themselves.