Saturday, April 01, 2006

Registered Nurse Salaries are up again but are they real gains?
An article I just read shows that registered nurse salaries are on the rise again. Of course, this is after a period in which wages for nurses and healthcare workers in general were stagnant. A report published by the US Government in 2004 showed only a real gain of $360 per year for the last 25 years in nurse salaries. The report is called the 2004 National Survey of Registered Nurses.
The 2005 Earnings Survey has some interesting data; While wages are trending up for staff nurses in acute care settings they are staying relatively flat for administrative and management nurses Union nurses are making several dollars an hour more than non-union nurses. In fact the average registered nurse salary in a union hospital is $6100 more per year than in a non-union hospital. In regions with the lowest rate of unionization the wages are going up the least.
Full time nurse salaries are slightly lower than part time but part timers typically do not receive benefits. It's also noteworthy that full time nurses work an average of 45 hours per week while part timers only work an average of 26 hours per week.
One website I browsed recently suggests that nursing wages will have to go up by 69% by 2016 to cure the nursing shortage. The Department of Labor is predicting a need for over 600,000 new registered nurses by the year 2012.
To put it another way we have to grow the number of registered nurses in this country from approximately 2.2 million to approximately 2.9 million by the year 2012.
Obviously, if the rate of inflation is 4% then wages must increase more than 4% in order for a real gain to be realized. Since the government wants to downplay inflation a couple of key indicators are usually left out of the equation. Energy costs (think gasoline) and food costs. It was decided a number of years ago that these were too volatile so they were removed from the Consumer Price Index or CPI. The reality is that real inflation is probably more than 4%.
What all this means is that nurses are smart people. They know when they get a real pay raise or not.

1 comment:

NurseAdvocate said...

The real tragedy is as the nurse shortage increases, nurses are still not paid enough for their work. Travel nurse pay around USA is $27 according to the JCAHO Nursing Report "Health Care at the Crossraods".
And worst part is the travel nurse working with an agency is only getting paid 50% of the bill rate being charged to the hospital. If you are making $30 an hour the agency avarage rate is $60 to $80 bill rate to the hospital an hour.
The travel nurse is leaving about $20K on the table, which could be taken home by the travel nurse.
There is only one company in the nation trying to be an advocate for the nurse and give them 90% of the bill rate. Find it and ask for their report and you will be amazed.