Raising The Salary for Nurses Across the Board

Recently I posted about the pros and cons working as a salaried nurse verses hourly. Kevin Ross, of Innovative Nurse, has responded in a youtube video but has shifted the focus of the discussion to the wages of nurses in general. So let’s continue the conversation.

Kevin is a nurse consultant and was surprised  after a discussion with another nurse hen he learned what the average pay for nurses is currently. And let me be completely honest when I say that I think nurses are reimburses well, compared to many other jobs I’ve done, but there is always room for improvement.

Here’s his video explanation of some of the benefits of working as a salaried nurse and raising the pay grade by at least 30-40%.

Kevin Ross discusses nurse wages

Honestly what disturbs me more than the amount of money that nurses make is the drastic difference in wages based upon geography. For example, a nurse in Georgia might earn between $18-25 and hour while a nurse performing the same duties (an with a maximum patient load of 4) might make $60-90 an hour. I understand the cost of living differences but it certainly does make me feel less valuable based purely on my geography. I’ve never understood this and probably never will.

Kevin’s point in the video discussing transition to a salaried model verses an hourly one is interesting. It would certainly help with overtime and those nurses that ride the clock would probably move on along. But then the potential of getting an uninterrupted lunch is probably going to be completely eliminated. But honestly, how often does that really happen any way?

I don’t think you can get out of clocking in and clocking out. There has to be some method to track who worked when so that if a legal matter arose and someone tried to blame it on a nurse that wasn’t even there/clocked in that it could not occur.

I’m all for raising nurses salaries overall, but with the cuts to Medicare payment that are occurring  and directly effecting the bottom-line of hospitals and other healthcare providers being asked to do more and more with less all the while with a smile on their face,  I have trouble believing they are going to pay nurses anymore than they absolutely have to. It would have to come out of one the executive pockets and we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

What are your thoughts?

Comments

  1. says

    This is a great subject. I would personally be leary of taking a ‘salary’ position….with mandated overtime in some locations and a current lack of breaks/lunch time. I would imagine if we were salaried, we would be even more taken advantage of. It’s an interesting option to explore….

  2. says

    Hey NN (and Kevin too) –

    First, hiya Kevin. Great to see you here. It’s been a while since we connected, hope that all’s going well 4 U.

    As an RN with over 30 years of nursing in a variety of clinical arenas I have to say that the parity of nursing pay to other professions is horrible. And with the present nursing-care-shortage-but-nursing-glut (see The Health Care Blog’s post – Why Can’t Nurses Find Jobs, No Really – thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/06/04/why-new-nurses-cant-find-jobs-no-really) it keeps on getting worse. The fact that hospitals still believe that they can underpay RNs who are the core and at the heart of their provision of care, and that they can let nurses go as if they were “renewable resources,” is deplorable! Our patients depend upon us as do the physicians and the hospitals. As RNs, if we would just get our heads out of…the sand (what did you think I was going to say?!) and realize how much political clout we have, and how much we could shape healthcare, we could change this! Seriously!

    Last year, the community hospital that I work at gave away over $50-million dollars worth of free healthcare to underserved populations and those who can’t afford it. Fantastic! That’s how healthcare should be. However, when you consider that with the same amount of $$, they could have given a $25,000 bonus to EVERY employee (not just nurses) then something is wrong. We’ve got to serve those in need, but we also need to take care of those who are serving those in need. And as long as RNs are not recognized for the inherent value that they bring to the provision of healthcare, we’ll continue to get treated as wage-slaves.

    How do we change this situation? You tell me. Leave your comments on the NN’s site and let the world of nursing know what you think we can do to change the status-quo and let the decision-makers know that wage parity is not an option, it’s a requirement.

    Be well, succeed in all that you do, and….breath!

    Take care,

    Jerome Stone

    • says

      Great post Brittney. Thank you.

      Jerome, Great to see you over here.

      I think you make a very valid point, and I believe that nurses with a work history and experience such as yours is one (if not THE) largest target audience I’m speaking of.

      I often hear from experienced nurses that they are typically making the same salary, and in some cases less then they were a few years ago. I also hear about nurses hitting the top of their pay band pretty quickly with very little room for other opportunities. Often it’s a lateral move that they are making instead of advancing as they acquire more knowledge and skills with each passing months and years of employment.

      I would agree that for a young 20 something just getting out of school with a salary that’s higher than their peers is encouraging. Heck, I remember still waiting tables and bar tending right out of college. But, a nurse’s salary seems to either cap out pretty quickly, or their merit (not cost of living) increases aren’t necessarily on par with other professions. I’ve worked in those other professions. It’s almost embarrassing to think about what I used to bring in, and I didn’t even make critical decisions about someone’s health and safety. Ever.

      If a hospital is having to constantly back fill positions because nurses don’t typically have longevity due to both concerns with salaries and work environment, you’d think these executives would have a clue. Whether we like it or not, healthcare is a business. A BIG business, and it needs to be run more efficiently. Hospitals wouldn’t have needed to continue increasing their reimbursement rates trying to reach those unrealistic financials that are now biting them back with Medicare cuts. Inflation is one thing, but hospitals are having to cover expenses that they ultimately can improve upon, and employee retention is one of the largest areas for growth here.

      If nurses continue to standby idle, there will be very little done about it. WE should be making these decisions about adequate pay and working conditions. Hospitals can keep their branded lunch bags, chapstick, and water bottles. Pay me like the professional I am.

    • says

      Totally with you here Jerome. Hanging on every word.. “Hospitals can keep their branded lunch bags, chapstick, and water bottles. Pay me like the professional I am.” LOL. Exactly. And the baseball hats and umbrellas. Really it’s insulting, year after year. Feels like an after thought. Wage slaves. Time for a revolution. Bottom line, nurses RULE health care. Sending you peace and OMs.

    • Rebecca Nixon, RN says

      This article strikes me as something to invest some thought and response. First of all, thank you for the information and sparking of momentum for me personally. What I read here is exactly what I have been thinking since becoming a nurse. As a mother of 7 kids at home I have made between 20-23$ as an RN-a charge nurse! per hour with health care experience spanning a decade. It seems that for the effort, love, caring, and work work work, there should be at least a little more kindness in the realm of the nursing teams. The monetary compensation has not been enough to justify the time I’ve lost with my children, counting all the studies and red tape, paperwork and on the clock at the bedside.
      I was diagnosed with Meneire’s Disease, causing deafness in my right ear. When going through mastoiditis and before my specialist discovered my vestibular problem, I was having a rough time at work. I realized I couldn’t hear well while listening to my patient’s heartbeat, and my heart dropped. Along with the physical and emotional anguish, I was trying to adjust to disability I didn’t know I had. I was let go by the nursing director because I didn’t hear her tell me to meet at 1:30pm, and my facial expression when trying to hear made for a negative presentation of my attitude. I just wasn’t the right fit for this type of nursing.
      Now I have to fight again for a position I can fulfill with hearing loss and the unpredictability of Meneire’s vertigo episodes. I have not had the chance to save on the income I have described. Before I was a nurse, I was a pharmacy technician. I spent my time as the scholarship coordinator for years helping people get scholarships for their educations. I believe these contributions to the community should show who I am and that I provide very essential services to the community. The current wages for nurses is appalling, and a part of the ever-growing black hole in the economy.
      Nurse’s synergy alone means that every ounce of what society pays our nurses is invested directly to the health and wealth of the community the nurse serves. It only makes sense to increase the hourly wage for the good of the community.
      I hope my input helps!
      Thank You & Kind Regards,
      -R.Nixon, RN (Nurse Becca)

  3. says

    Hi! Thanks so much for the useful analysis of a topic clearly improtant to us all. I have my own take on compensation, which reflects my longstanding identity which includes a strong dose of two factors: idealism and fincancial dumbitude (so to speak…. it’s a technical term…)
    I ‘ve always sought the work I want, regardless of pay. I did some years of poverty tha twya, to be certain, working in a Group Home at sub-social worker pay (Wow that’s low!). i also enjoyed three years of tremendous clinical experience that built skills most Nurses lack, so it was a mixed bag. I then went into Nursing, thankfully, finding both professional opportunities and decent wages. I started out working hourly at a hospital, with all the differentials, overtime, etc. Lately I have increasingly shifted into teaching student nurses, a salaried role. These days I do both, I have fun, its a great existence and i make a decent living.
    For me, the money is secondary although clearly I make enough to let that position stand.

    As for raises, I’d imagine employers keep costs at the bare minimum, which mostly involves Nurses. If they have any brains at all, they balance turnover costs within the big picture. Hopefully I’m wrong, and as I’ve admitted I’m a financial idiot – my wofe does all the finance and indulges me. Good luck with your efforts in this area: I’m all for Nurses, and money clearly matters.

    And once again, thanks for your useful foray into such troubled waters – we Nurses appreciate it.

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