Nurses play a pivotal role in governing the day to day operations of a hospital. A nurse is responsible to check vitals, administer prescribed dosage, draw blood, give shot, observe the health condition of patients, educate caregivers, families and patients. These are a few duties of a nurse, while the list goes on.
With the stringent job responsibilities, nurses often ponder whether their salary is appropriate or not. A nurse has to undergo rigorous working hours, immense training and education. Alongside, they have to combat the daily struggles of working in a hospital setting.
So the question is, are nurses actually paid enough. Well, the general consensus is that yes nurses are paid well for the job they are doing. However, the salary package tends to vary substantially based upon experience, geographical location, nurse's skill, ability to negotiate and education.
As per The Nurse Salary Guide, the average salary of a nurse in United States is $73,550 (source). Initially, it seems like an appropriate number. If we break this number into monthly, weekly or hourly basis, the per hour wage is $35. The number tends to vary based on location, experience, years as a nurse, level of training but all in all it's an appropriate wage.
Even though this number changes based on experience, years in the job, location, and level of training, $35 per hour can be considered an appropriate wage.
The median household income in the United States is accumulated to be $60,336 (source). Considering this, it can be deciphered that the nurses earn more than the industry average. It is calculated that the median household wage of nurses is 8% more in United States.
It has been already established that nurses are making a decent wage based upon the US median income for household, but another question to ponder is that whether the wage is appropriate for the type of duties they perform.
For instance, nurses are expected to work 12 hours per day. They are on their feet sacrificing their comfort and family life. Moreover, they are also expected to work at night which can be detrimental to their health.
Whether or not, the wage of a nurse is enough or not can be determined on their location, years of experience and level of training.
If you are a nurse and feel that you are not compensated for your job, it would be better to reassess your location. You may be lacking some skills or do not have adequate training or years of experience. Another important aspect is that nurses often do not have the right skills required to negotiate with their employers resulting in lesser wage.
If you are a nurse and looking to increase your earnings, here are a few things that may help you reach your desired wage:
One of the primary things that you need to evaluate when trying for a higher wage is education. For instance, a Registered Nurse (RN) earns $15 more than a LPN (source). The difference is relatively more if you compare the hourly wage of a nurse's aide with a RN. Thereby, education is one of the preliminary basis on which your salary can increase as a nurse.
Another important factor is the location. For instance, some states pay more than others. Similarly, some cities within the same state have better wages. A quick search over the Internet will help you makes a better decision.
Most nurses don't negotiate, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't negotiate either. While you may negate this by saying that hospitals only pay by experience. This may be true, but there are others where you can negotiate by endorsing yourself better.
If you are a new nurse and feel that you need to be paid as much as your seniors, then you are wrong. Seniority plays an integral role when it comes to wages and if you are new to the field then it's honestly unjust to expect to get equally paid.
All in all, a nurse is compensated enough in comparison to the median household income. Before you decide to take up on nursing as a profession, make sure to do your due diligence and assess beyond just the salary.
If you are passionate about nursing, you should take into consideration the sacrifices you have to make, work lie balance and if you can take care of critically ill patients. Moreover, if you decide if nursing is the right profession for you then salary doesn't matter, it's the noble cause you support.