Stay Informed With Career Insights From the 2022 Nurse Salary Report

As turnover continues to be a challenge in nurse staffing, it’s not surprising that our recent salary survey shows that average years of experience for nurses are declining while median salaries are rising.

In our 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report, average experience for RNs was 22.5 years, down from 26 years in 2020. Advanced practice registered nurses’ (APRNs) years of experience declined to 23.5 years from 28 years in 2020. And years of experience for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) stayed around 19 years in both reports.

Another interesting finding in our report related to gender differences. Survey results revealed more male nurses chose travel nursing over females, but fewer male nurses began work in this field after the pandemic started.

Over 2,500 RNs, APRNs, and LPNs/LVNs from regions across the U.S. participated in our survey from mid-November through mid-December 2021. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected healthcare operations, new questions were included to gauge its impact on the nursing profession.

Responses showed various changes from our 2020 results pertaining to median salary, job satisfaction, and the gender pay gap. The report revealed improvements such as increasing nurse salaries in most U.S. regions and declines such as more nurses considering leaving the profession amid the pandemic.

Rising Nurse Salaries and the Gender Pay Gap

The report showed the median nurse salary in 2021 was $78,000 for RNs, $120,000 for APRNs, and $48,000 for LPNs/LVNs.

Compared to our 2020 results ($73,000 for RNs, $107,000 for APRNs, and $45,000 for LPNs/LVNs), this year’s survey showed a significant rise in salary. However, this year’s findings show the gender pay gap widening for RNs, with male RNs earning $14,000 higher. The gap noted in our 2020 data was almost $7,300.

A variety of factors could be fueling the pay gap. Felicia Sadler, MJ, BSN, RN, CPHQ, LSSBB, Partner in Acute Solutions at Relias, discussed some of the reasons in our report.

“Looking at the more substantial gender pay gaps for RNs, those could be due to explanatory variables such as clinical settings, higher acuity specialties that pay higher differentials, and certifications,” she said.

Men are also more likely to negotiate their salary (40%), which could lead to higher wages. According to our survey, 30% of nurse participants said they don’t negotiate their salary, and 31% of female RNs were less likely to negotiate salaries either always or most of the time.

The demand for nurses has increased for many reasons, including nurses retiring, staffing shortages, and higher care needs as the population ages, which place nurses at an advantage to negotiate for higher salaries.

The Effects of COVID-19 on Nursing

The patient surges during COVID-19 and nurse departures have left the healthcare system stretched thin. The effects, which included short staffing, limited access to PPE, and larger patient-staff ratios, have been felt among nurses in all specialties.

According to an American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) survey, 75% of nurse leaders said emotional health and well-being of their staff was one of the biggest challenges in 2021.

Nurses’ emotional …read more

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