Want to get a rise out of grassroots RNs? Bring up nurse salaries

We shouldn’t be surprised that salary is such a hot button issue for nursing or any other healthcare profession. Whether you became a nurse mainly to take care of people or primarily to earn a living wage, you expected an equitable paycheck.
Co_ThinkstockPhotos-160595730-_1_
Whatever motivation edged you into nursing, assumedly you still needed money to meet your needs. Even nurses who feel an almost religious calling to the profession have to eat.
When I wrote “We work hard for the money: My perspectives on nurse salaries,” I figured I’d get responses. But the level of vehemence, controversy and attack surprised me. In the blog, I said that many nurses make six-figure salaries. Some readers countered that they didn’t make that much, didn’t know anyone who did and if such people existed, those nurses could only be administrators. They questioned the veracity of my claim. One colleague wanted to know where I work because she didn’t make anywhere near six figures as a floor nurse. Thankfully, a few high-paid bedside nurses, including one who makes about $150,000 per year, responded in my defense, directing the nurse who said, “On what planet [do nurses make six figures]?” to planets California, Texas and New York.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive, and founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance. As an editor for Nurse.com, Hess has penned several editorials on career topics. As a presenter at professional conferences, Hess often addresses participants on how to find the right job and steps for building a successful career.
editors-note
Check out all of our Digital Resource Guides
Read more
In general, the current mean salary of a U.S. nurse is $68,450 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a figure not necessarily due to the whims of employers but to forces of politics and the market. Is that enough money? Many nurses don’t seem to think so. In this salary-focused digital resource guide, we address central salary issues that affect us all, including basic wages, peripheral perks and regional and career-stage differences — all vital considerations. Here we stress that regardless of salaries, nurses are making intense, meaningful contributions to society, and one couldn’t find a better profession, although better-paying ones exist.
We have articles that examine differences in salary due to geographical regions, as well as educational credentials. We tell you how to negotiate your salary and what benefits you can expect in small versus large healthcare organizations. Look for trends in healthcare; for where healthcare goes, salaries follow. And speaking of going, you might change your practice after reading our account of travel nursing. Last, take part in our Earning Trends Study. We would appreciate your participation.
Remember, it’s perfectly all right to enter nursing to make money — and you can —although seasoned nurses warn that if you don’t have altruistic motivation as well, you might not last. Always consider that salary is just a piece of total compensation. Another part is the soulful satisfaction of changing the world, one patient at a time.
quote-mark
Whatever motivation edged you into nursing, assumedly you still needed money to meet your needs. Even nurses who feel an almost religious calling to the profession have to eat.”
- Robert G. Hess, Jr., RN

Debate continues about whether nurses get paid enough

article-down-arrow
WELCOME
bob2
By Robert G. Hess, Jr.
PhD, RN, FAAN Executive vice president and chief clinical executive
share-dots-shadowleft-arrowright-arrowright-arrow-3
© 2017 OnCourse Learning Corp. All rights reserved
facebooktwitterLinkedinyoutube
Contact Nurse.com
20225 Water Tower Blvd. Brookfield, WI 53045
Advertise with Nurse.com
google-pluspinterest
MENU
toc-imageX
Contents
HOME
arrow-TOC
arrow-TOC
Take charge in negotiations
LP-ThinkstockPhotos-465510597_2
Negotiating your salary can have a huge impact on lifetime earnings.
ThinkstockPhotos-611086620
Market, culture influence pay
Find out what drives pay rates in the healthcare market.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-648659120
Look beyond pay rates
Cost of living can make a huge impact on your take-home pay.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-80608276
CE COURSE: Interview like a pro
Ace a job interview with this comprehensive CE module.
arrow-TOC
LP_ThinkstockPhotos-101355048
A special kind of compensation
Never underestimate the value of thanks from patients, families.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-506752188_TOC_RZ
CE catalog
Learn how to switch specialties, build your network and more.
arrow-TOC
LP_ThinkstockPhotos-125990635
Travel nursing's special perks
Find out what attracts nurses to this specialty.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-92239145
Nurse staffing's future course
Nurse shines light on how what specialties will be in high demand.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-478831570__1_
RN salaries always a hot topic
Learn more about issues that can help you increase your salary.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-511472442__1_
Revisit the Equal Pay Act
There's still work to be done in reaching equal pay across genders.
arrow-TOC
hamburguer-icon-shadow
MENU
toc-imageX
Contents
HOME
arrow-TOC
arrow-TOC
Take charge in negotiations
LP-ThinkstockPhotos-465510597_2
Negotiating your salary can have a huge impact on lifetime earnings.
ThinkstockPhotos-611086620
Market, culture influence pay
Find out what drives pay rates in the healthcare market.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-648659120
Look beyond pay rates
Cost of living can make a huge impact on your take-home pay.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-80608276
CE COURSE: Interview like a pro
Ace a job interview with this comprehensive CE module.
arrow-TOC
LP_ThinkstockPhotos-101355048
A special kind of compensation
Never underestimate the value of thanks from patients, families.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-506752188_TOC_RZ
CE catalog
Learn how to switch specialties, build your network and more.
arrow-TOC
LP_ThinkstockPhotos-125990635
Travel nursing's special perks
Find out what attracts nurses to this specialty.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-92239145
Nurse staffing's future course
Nurse shines light on how what specialties will be in high demand.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-478831570__1_
RN salaries always a hot topic
Learn more about issues that can help you increase your salary.
arrow-TOC
ThinkstockPhotos-511472442__1_
Revisit the Equal Pay Act
There's still work to be done in reaching equal pay across genders.
arrow-TOC
Nurse-logo
How to Navigate
X
How to Navigate
BROWSE
FIND
right-arrowleft-arrow
hamburguer-icon-shadow
MENU
Move forward or backward between articles by clicking the arrows.
Click or tap to bring up the Table of Contents.
READ
share-dots-shadow
facebooktwitterLinkedingoogle-pluspinterest
SHARE
scroll
Share articles by clicking on one of the social media icons in the upper right corner of the page.
Use your mouse wheel, keyboard arrow keys, or scroll bar to move up and down in an article.