The following are government statistics from October 2002 Contemporary Long Term Care. They represent average national salaries.Nursing salaries overall have remained stagnant in the past 10 years. Nurse's actual earnings have increased steadily from 1983 - 2002. However, "real" earnings have been flat since 1991. (Real earnings = money available after adjusting for inflation).Secretary Thompson points out that nurses' salaries are actually behind thos of another perceived low income group - elementary school teachers. In addition, nurses' salaries are falling further behind each survey period.1984 Elementary school teacher average salary = 25,000.1984 Nurse average salary = 19,000.Nurses averaged 4,400 less per year.2002 Elementary teacher average salary = 54,8002002 Nurse average salary = 41,000Nurses averaged 13,800 less per year.Furthermore much of a nurses' wage growth takes place early and tapers off quickly. A nurse with 5 years experience makes about 15% more than a new graduate but only 1 - 3% less than a nurse with 15 - 20 years experience.1984 -- annual salary for nurse = 25,0641984 -- "real" salary for nurse = 22,0631990 -- annual salary for nurse = 29,5881990 -- "real salary for nurse = 23,8611995 -- annual salary for a nurse = 35,1461995 -- "real" salary for a nurse = 23,7112001 -- annual salary for a nurse = 41,0602001 -- "real" salary for anurse = 23,409.A lot of the public I run into believe that nurses are very high paid - they have no concept of the stagnation of salaries that we live with. Teachers have effectively educated the public regarding their low pay but as nurses we have been less effective.Notice how your "real" salary has been 23,000 since 1990. The stagnation of wages has a lot to do with retention of nurses. I always inform people considering nursing of the salary issues - I continue to be amazed how my friends in non-nursing have greatly surpassed my income - but they are in business, engineering and accounting ...mostly traditional male roles whereas nursing/teaching is still considered a female profession.Please comment - are you surprised by these numbers?