Nursing Job Blog

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I recently heard some students brag about how they were going into nursing “for the money.” This brought me back to my own beginnings as a new grad back in the ’70s. Starting at $10 an hour, I was one of the highest paid nurses in town. My wife and I felt like we’d just hit a lottery, although we quickly adjusted to our level of affluence. Some of my contemporaries at the time didn’t fare as well, taking care of eight patients at a time for $3 an hour. That’s about $6,000 a year.

We worked hard back then. I know, the conventional wisdom is that it’s so much harder today (although more than one recruiter and millennial as well has told me that some new nurses need to learn how to work). However, some new grads with whom I started were so stressed they couldn’t pass meds without sobbing. I was hired into critical care with about 25 other new grads. We practiced without a license until we passed or failed boards (if you failed, you were an automatic nursing assistant with a reduction in pay until you passed). I’m not a delicate creature, but I wanted to cry while taking care of my first patient. (I didn’t because I remembered that I was a “guy” nurse, and we weren’t supposed to cry on the job.) My patient had just had a Whipple procedure, and his dressings and ostomy bags fell off every time I turned him, putting him way beyond my skill level.
Ultimately, I would insist that we all work hard for the money — back then and now. And as American RNs, we are the highest compensated nurses in the world. The question remains, is it worth it? As Boulder, Colo., ED nurse Melissa Moffatt, BSN, RN, said, “I hear [that people are entering nursing for the money] more and more these days. Of course, once they realize what hard work nursing is, many exit quickly.”

  “… as American RNs, we are the highest compensated nurses in the world. The question remains, is it worth it?”

Many nurses in the U.S., including staff at the bedside, earn six-figure salaries. With the long-predicted shortage about to explode, the money will just get better. In a hard-hitting report from Nurse.com, Salaries on the Upswing, annual pay, which had been flat for years and began rising steadily by 1.3%, has now accelerated to 2.6% per year. In the grand job-market arena, weighing region, education and experience, the money’s not bad. But the work is hard — very hard — both physically and emotionally, and therein lies the rub.

Full article here.