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What are you worth in pay?


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Here I go nagging again! One of the things we need to do even if we do not become contractors is to have our own medical insurance and retirement programs INDEPENDENT of our employers, whoever they may be. There are almost three million nurses in the U.S. alone. We should be able to bargain for wages alone. Cuz we would have our own bennies without the blessing of our employers, thank you very much.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

Wow! Lively discussion, but no matter how you cut it health care staff(from nursing to dietary to housekeeping and laundry-we all keep the place running way more than the desk jockey administative staff)need to be recognized with better pay, decent benefits and tolerable staffing levels. Do I see us getting it any time soon? Unfortunately not. I've been working in a nursing home for 8 years, first as a CNA then as a Nurse Tech (I'm an RN student in my last year), and every time I think the staffing can't get any worse it does. The work load has increased incredibly and the pay has not kept up. Our highest paid floor RN is getting less than $17.00/hr. after 18 years with the company, new hires are getting around $15.00. The average cost per day to each resident is $140.00. That's over $51,000 a year each resident pays for what I know to be substandard care, and I don't care how much corporate screams "overhead costs and poor medicare compensation" I guarentee what the company pays it's vital staff is a small percentage of their net profit. We need to ask where the money is going if not to us.

Let's look at how much it costs to live in the middle class and deduce a fair wage from that figure.

Automobile 1000 / month

Health insurance 600 / month

Home 1500 / month

Education 100 / month

Food 250/ month

taxes 700 / month

clothing personal items ect 200 / month

entertainment 200 / month

retirement 500/ month

Monthly Total 5050 / Month

X 12 Months

Annual total 60, 600 / per year

This figure could be adjusted for local economic conditions. The variance would be about 10% up or down to be fair.

The average nurses salary is alleged to be around 40K / year meaning a "professional" nurse needs to have a second job, spouse, or simply live below the "middle class standard of living.

Please feel free to challange my estimates. Please let me know what you all think about this!

Originally posted by Yeti1313LPN

Seriously, I think we should be paid according to a stress-o-meter...RN/LPN on the SAME PAYSCALE!

Starting at $20 an hour for a moderate to low level of stress--(little paperwork, good, stable walkie talkies who are a&ox3 compliant happy, pain free pts...)

coming in at $21 an hour involves slightly more work/stress for slightly more pay...

the pay scale goes up in this manner...

now, up higher, at about $26/hr, I'm thinking of moderate stress, or simple admit/discharge...not high stress... orders are correct, no problems there...

then, the scale begins to jump dramatically... but we;ll skip to the worst case scenerio... Just figure your worst night in a while... ever... that is rated up at the $50,000,000 night level, our top ranking... this level involves a pts in a horrible code in a REHAB unit, with a traching on the unit... 3 smurfs (you know what they are...) 4 confused people who are practicing no bungee bungee jumping from the side rails... one of which needs stitches, and the other who needs ORIF of something that she broke in the fall... one whining about her cigarette (take me out for a SMOKE!!!) A lazy prior shift nurse who picked up no orders, and clarified nothing with the attendings who are leaving in 1/2 hr after you arrive, 3 people on CPM machines for their knees, who begin to wail in pain after the aide sets them all to 100 degress flexion... then, the 'pleasantly confused' bungee jumper begins to freak out after his family doesnt see him... Why?? Because he's flying into DT's and hasnt had his g-n-t for the day...

ok... a night like that is definately worth 50 mil... dont ya think?



Originally posted by fergus51

Both salaries are regulated because we are paid by the gov't. I agree that nurses salaries are not good enough. A starting nurse can expect to make about 40K a year (28K US$ or so). The highest paid nurses don't even make 40K US a year. Our hourly wage goes from 21-26$ canadian. Other professions such as library worker (18 an hour) and liquor store cashier (18 an hour) are obviously not as demanding as nursing. Policemen make about 70K (about 5o american) after few years and if nurses made that I would be satisfied for a while. I am not going to fool myself into thinking that we will get a 200% raise. It just isn't going to happen.


The violinist gets paid so much because of supply and demand. How many violinists do you know these days? ;) I think they're even rarer than nurses... :D

catlady, BSN, RN

Has 21 years experience.

That must be some car you're driving, Norbert, that you're spending $1000 a month on it, even accounting for gas and insurance. Same with that $1500 monthly mortgage, the $200 for entertainment (where *do* you go???), $600 for medical insurance (don't you work for a hospital that provides a plan?), and just about everything else you posted.

The fact is that the type of lifestyle you choose shouldn't even enter into a discussion of how much you should make. It's like the bad old days when women would be offered less money because they supposedly didn't have a family to support. Your compensation needs to be based strictly on the value to your employer of the services you provide. If professional nurses did stick together (no, that doesn't mean unionize) and refuse to work for a pittance (fat chance), then the employers would either have to pay more, or, possibly, figure out a way to run their business without nurses. But for every nurse who refuses to accept a paltry wage offer, there are usually two who will accept whatever bone is thrown and be grateful to get it.

Sure my estimates sound expensive. They reflect the middle class of america.

An average car is around 20,000 to buy. The payment is around 500-600 per month. Go to the show room to find out. I did and I can't afford one!

I have a 1989 Ford Crown Victoria (junker) that I pay about 200 a month to maintain.

All cars need insurance. If you have a newer car then it needs full coverage. This costs around 100-200 every month.

I have only the bare bones insurance required by the state to renew my license plate. It costs me around 600 a year.

Fuel is a rapidly rising part of my budget. Picking up my daughter for "visitation" (that is all I am entitled too) and transportation to medical appointments (she has dermatomyositis) costs about 120 for fuel.

The average price of a home in the US is around 125,000. Mortgage estimates at around 10% of the total price or 1250 for the mortgage payment each month. You also need to mow the lawn spray for bugs and purchase utilities. This can easily reach 1500.

I live in a small shack in a hispanic "barrio" (slum) that dosen't have adequate plumbing or room to live. My mortgage is 260 a month and I need to pay at least 200 a month to maintain and upgrade the substandard elements.

My insurance estimate is for a person, like me, who does not have medical or dental with an employer. The actual cost of health care for a person is really around that figure. Ask your benefits person how much is paid on your behalf in the plan. Some of the figure would go to paying the premium and the rest would go to paying the co-pays.

Education is an ongoing process for us. We need CEU's and if you have children then they also need this money. Don't forget that most of us have student loans to pay off too!

Food is an essential for most of us. My estimate is fairly low , all tings considered. I do not often have the option to eat regularly. Because I find that it is an area where I am able to save without becoming a "deadbeat" dad!

Taxes are a very sore spot for me. I/we pay them for gas, clothing, wages, often you don't even notice them. They are there, believe me! This is a fairly conservtive figure.

I, for one am doing my part in a small way. I work for a SDS. I only make 20/hr part time. No benefits or any additional compensation. This week the MD who owns the place took a vacation. I only worked around 5 hours this week. Lets see I'll be paid about 80 net for the week. I flatly refuse to go into the hospital setting where I will have 8 patients or more and be slandered for doing dammage control nursing.

Please, tell me what you think?

norman, it sounds like new orleans all over the usa,the docs are using us,tell him and go it sounds worse, i was in los angeles in the early 80s,it was the same,tell you what call me and email i will give you a better solution,darbymiller@msn.com.

catlady, BSN, RN

Has 21 years experience.

I own (well, the bank and I own) a 1999 SUV--with payments and insurance (and this is a very high premium area), it's still not even close to $1000 a month.

Fuel is a rapidly-rising part of everyone's budget, even those who think they're exempt by taking public transportation. Gas prices get passed along in many ways, from the bus ticket to the eggs that the trucker paid more gas money to transport to the supermarket. It's not even a middle-class issue any more.

I am a single parent, with a mortgage around $1000 a month. Most people wouldn't think of taking out a mortgage that high or higher, unless there were two wage earners. And only a very few pockets of America have average rents in that price range.

I paid off my student loans years ago, so I don't have that issue any more. CEUs I get on the web for free, and don't forget that things like BLS and ACLS that you can get through your employer count as CEUs. I need 100 CEUs every three years to renew my certification and I pay next to nothing to get them, unless there's a seminar I really want to go to. As for kids, public school is paid for by your tax dollars. You can choose to bankrupt yourself putting them through college, or you can let them learn the value of earning something on their own. No kid has a God-given right to a Harvard-priced education.

If you're working as a nurse and you're not getting the hours you want, and you're not getting medical insurance to boot, then you're being very, very foolish. You seem to think that the only choices are working as a med-surg nurse in a hospital, or working for a doctor who doesn't offer decent pay or benefits. Do a little research, and you'll be surprised at what other options are available, particularly in this era of nursing shortage.

It is still my belief that nurses need to vote with their feet.

I think North Americans have a twisted idea of middle class. I don't believe it takes 60 000 a year for a single person to live comfortably. My parents raised kids on a LOT less than that. My little brother is 12 and I don't consider them poor at all.

I live in a little condo, my car isn't fab and my chihuahua doesn't eat me out of house and home. I think I am worth more than I am being paid and am considering moving to the US to make more, but I don't think I need 60 000 a year to live well in most places.

I don't consider a 20 000 dollar car average. I have never bought a brand new car because that is a ridiculous amount of money. I also wouldn't pay that much for a house when I am relying on my salary alone. My condo was about 50 000. I know plenty of nurses who rent. I think a big reason people don't live well is they manage money poorly or think they need things that are not really necessary. Separating the needs from the wants is important when you're on a budget.

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