Nurse Salary: Raising the Bar

One of the most hotly debated topics when it comes to nursing issues is the issue of nursing salaries. It’s no secret that nurses are overworked, and in the majority of cases, underpaid. So why has the nursing salary remained the same? Well, there isn’t exactly one particular reason why, but we do know that these healthcare professionals are in desperate need of a pay bump. With the nursing turnover rate continuing to rise, underpaid nurses can hurt the quality of care as well as the desire for future generations to pursue nursing. Here are just a few reasons that these hardworking men and women need a nurse salary increase.

The Nurse Salary Increase Issues

Pay Differences

One of the biggest issues with the nurse salary is the wide pay gap. While nurses in metropolitan areas like Boston and Los Angeles can make over $70,000 per year, the majority of smaller facilities, especially in rural areas only make half of that at the very least. Salaries are set based on region and location, level of experience, and sometimes on specialty (not to be confused with education necessarily, but acute care, critical care, trauma, medical, etc). While these metro salaries may look appealing, it’s also important to keep the cost of living in mind. These metro cities will have an increased cost of living, leading many nurses in dire read of a pay raise.

Sticky Stereotypes and History

Another major issue that many nurses are facing is the simple fact that many still undervalue the role of a nurse.  The nursing profession was originally designed specifically for young women. Hospitals took student nurses on and trained them to work as the “handmaidens to physicians.” While this description may have been fine a hundred years ago, it would be ridiculous to not reward the amount of education, training, and time that goes into becoming a registered nurse. We need to ditch our old views of what makes a nurse and update the pay scale accordingly. With a variety of different specialties, nurses can become specialized in a specific field, adding to their value and surely making a case for an increase in a nurse salary.

Rigorous Education

It’s widely known that nursing school is one of the most intense post-secondary educational experiences, so surely these graduating nurses should be rewarded for it, shouldn’t they? With balancing school, work, and social life, along with getting some sleep, it’s no surprise that many new nurses feel like they should be rewarded financially for the money spent on tuition. In many hospitals, nurses that come on board with their Associates Degree in Nursing, the 2-year degree, are given no extra salary bonus if they choose to go on and complete their Bachelors, or BSN. The return on investment is zero, so why bother? Return on investment—it applies everywhere, even to nurses.

The Future

Although we can’t predict what nurses can expect in the upcoming years, we do know that if a change isn’t made soon, we could be left with a critical shortage of nurses. Hopefully, a nurse salary increase is on the horizon so we can give these everyday superheroes the financial recognition they deserve.

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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