Nurse Salary: Opportunities, Nursing Salaries, and Benefits
Nursing has become one of the better paying occupations in America over the last several years. LPNs have no trouble earning $35,000 to $40,000 a year, not including overtime. For registered nurses, wages are even higher. Newly minted registered nurses can make between $40,000 and $60,000 right out of nursing school, depending on their location or willingness to relocate. In 2010, the media income for all registered nurses was over $55,000. These figures are very likely to continue to increase, given the coming surge in baby boomers coming into their golden years. There aren’t nearly enough nurses now to fill all the available nursing jobs, and the shortage is going to be severe in 10 or 15 years. Experts believe that we’ll be almost a million nurses short of what we need by 2020. And since wages are set by supply and demand, that means that wages will continue to go up, probably sharply. Hospitals and retirement homes will be forced to offer more and more money and benefits to attract and retain quality nurses. Signing bonuses are already making headlines-not long ago, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati offered a $30,000 signing bonus for nurses who would agree to work in cardiac care for three or more years. A hospital in Dallas recently gave away a brand new Volkswagen Beetle in order to recruit nurses. If money and job security are top considerations for you, then it’s hard to beat nurse jobs for a career.
Nursing Salaries Are Only the Tip of the Iceberg
In addition to money, opportunity, and job security, there are lots of other benefits to becoming a nurse. First, there’s the universal respect nurses enjoy from virtually everyone. According to the Gallup Company, which does polling, Americans consider nursing to be the number one profession when it comes to honesty and ethics. Not only are nurses paid well, but they actually do good deeds for a living, and, unlike some recent corporate officers in the news, can hold their head up with pride. Is there any better feeling than knowing that you’ve helped save a life, or helped a child going through cancer treatments, or helped comfort a grieving family? Probably not. Being a caregiver for a living brings intangible rewards far beyond the monetary. Beyond respect, there’s also flexibility- you can choose where to work, which hospital department to work in, whether you want to work in a hospital at all, part time or full time, you can choose to travel on a regular basis and remain employed, etc. More and more nurse staffing agencies are popping up all over America, and many nurses choose to work exclusively through one or more of these agencies, which affords them the opportunity to work with lots of different people in various settings. Some use these agencies to “sample” a job at a particular hospital or other workplace, and if they like it, to apply for a full time position with the firm directly. Others don’t want to be tied down, and like new and different experiences, and choose to work for agencies for years at a time. In fact, some agencies specialize in travel nursing jobs, which allow a person to work wherever they want. Some nurse work a few months a year in several of America's top tourist areas, and get paid to travel and see the country. However you want to design your career, nursing will let you do it.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013