Dear Nurse Beth,
I've been working as a RN on a surgical floor for a little over 2 years and I really do appreciate my job. I think I have a healthy working environment, my bosses are very supportive and helpful, and I really like the patient population. I really can see myself working in this position for a long time. The only problem is that it doesn't pay enough and I feel for financial reasons alone, I will have to leave this position that I feel very grateful for.
I like direct patient care and talking with my patients, I feel that's what I enjoy most about my job. This has been my only job since becoming a nurse. I'm wondering what nursing fields you would suggest I consider for when I eventually move on to something else.
Dear Needs More Money,
It's great you've had such a good start to your nursing career. It's the support every new grad deserves, but not all get.
Typically clinical positions in acute care pay better than non-clinical positions. You can eventually make more as a manager, for example, but you would usually work your way up, starting as a charge nurse You like direct patient care, so this may not appeal to you.
Corrections is known for higher pay, and good benefits, but it's not for everyone. If you leave the hospital setting, it is hard to return. After 5 years away, a refresher course is needed-and that doesn't guarantee a job.
Making more at the bedside depends on where you live. Most hospitals in the same geographical communities pay roughly the same in order to stay competitive. With your experience, you could qualify for a job in San Francisco that would pay upwards of $70.00 an hour, but then you'd have to consider the cost of living as well.
Keep in mind when you consider a pay package that there's more to it than hourly pay. What are your insurance costs and co-pays? Is tuition reimbursement offered? How about paid time off? Does the organization provide/contribute to a retirement savings plan?
Travel nursing may pay more, but not always. You have to factor in housing, benefits, etc., and really take a hard look at stipends to see if it really pays off.
The only criteria you've given is higher pay and enjoying direct patient care. I would instead start to identify what other nursing areas you may be attracted to, because nursing has too many opportunities to list. There's teaching, and sales, informatics and legal nursing. There's leadership and research. You could go back to school and become a CRNA, which is the highest paid APRN.
Hopefully this has given you a few helpful things to think about as you plan your next move.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!