Discover what counts toward your nurse salary

No matter what your profession is, earning enough money to be comfortable, cover the bills and maybe afford a few extras is always a plus. For nurses, salary can vary depending on where they live, the size of their organizations and other factors.

In Your Nurse Salary Guide, a digital edition by by OnCourse Learning, we present substantive information on what nurses can expect to make and what matters to nurses when it comes to compensation.

Don’t miss our exclusive coverage of important topics such as the results of our recent nurse salary survey showing just how high salary ranked in terms of job satisfaction.

Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, executive vice president and chief clinical executive for OnCourse Learning, highlights why salaries matter to nurses, no matter what their intentions for entering the profession.

Robert G. Hess Jr., RN

“In general, the current mean salary of a U.S. nurse is $68,450 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a figure not necessarily due to the whims of employers but to forces of politics and the market,” Hess writes. “Is that enough money? Many nurses don’t seem to think so.”

Hess points out many nurses might be surprised to find out a floor nurse could make $100,000, but cites sources who say that in states such as New York and California, such pay is not that uncommon.

Readers can explore the topic of how pay rates vary based on location even further in “Look beyond nurse pay rates to find the right job.” Nurses should consider cost of living when deciding on nurse salary offers, article experts state.

“The salaries can vary dramatically in different regions of the country, but the disposable income could be the same due to factors like housing and transportation costs,” Judee Berg, MS, RN, FACHE, president of the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers said in the article.

What to look for beyond nurse salary

Although salary remains of top importance to nurses in their job searches, the article “Make cents of money matters” uncovers that benefits and flexibility also are essential.

Knowing which specialties pay more can help nurses land the right roles that garner top pay, said Maureen Swick, MSN, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, former senior vice president of the American Organization of Nurse Executives about the latest trends in staffing.

“Nationally, there’s an extreme shortage of nurses in critical care, emergency and ORs,” Swick said in the interview. “Many healthcare systems are struggling to find enough experienced nurses to fill these roles. Recruiting newer nurses is something they can do, but it takes a significant amount of time to train those nurses and get them up to speed within their specialty.”

We also explore what actually drives pay rates for nurses and how working for a small community hospital doesn’t always mean a smaller salary. This is particularly true in an era when smaller hospitals are joining larger health systems.

The digital edition also teaches nurses how to negotiate for higher salaries and benefits.

Jennifer Mensik

Jennifer Mensik, RN

“Before you start down the road of an interview, ask about the salary range,” writes Jennifer Mensik, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “There is no point in wasting anyone’s time if the maximum of the range won’t cover your break-even point. Your break-even point includes knowing what you need to live on to pay bills and to save money. This needs to be paired with an understanding of the going rate for the role. This requires research on your part to know the job market, as well as what others in similar roles are being paid. Salary surveys are a great place to gather this type of data.”

Your Nurse Salary Guide offers so much more

Readers also can learn more about travel nursing, take a free CE module on job interviews and find out which generation of nurses is most willing to relocate for work.

But compensation goes beyond pay and benefits. Eilleen Williamson, MSN, RN writes about nursing’s ultimate reward — gratitude and appreciation from patients and their families.

“Remember a quick thank-you hug from the mother of a scared little girl in the emergency room? Or the grateful smile from a son of an elderly patient who wouldn’t take her meds from anyone but you?” Williamson writes. “Maybe you don’t think of them as such, but each of them is a unique, special kind of ‘pay’ you can’t take to the bank or use to pay your bills.”

Download our 2018 Nursing Salary Research Report today to find out how your salary compares to your colleagues.

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