It is common to hear of public houses with nursing shortages, and because of this, nursing is a popular course of study for most students who have a knack for serving people and the ability to grasp the medical and scientific knowledge required to become a registered nurse (RN). But of course, one question on most students’ minds is, “What is a registered nurse salary?” The answer can vary considerably, depending on whether you have experience in other types of nursing professions, as well as where you desire to work. To get an edge, and to discover if nursing is the best career option for them, most go through a nursing progression that requires less schooling to help them decide if nursing is the field for them.
The Nursing Progression
Not all of those who pursue nursing become registered nurses, and one of the benefits of the nursing profession is that there is a progression. Of course, with the RN salary averaging near $65,000 per year, most consider nursing at this level a gold standard.
But, aside from the various illnesses and issues of actual patients, the position of an RN in a public hospital can pose more challenges than one might expect. Comments on an article for U.S. News and World Report indicate that while the right nursing job can be excellent, finding that position is easier said than done, and nurses usually work long hours without adequate breaks.
Many who are just starting out in nursing can gain some experience as a Practical Nurse or Nursing Assistant. These fields yield a smaller salary, but expose potential RNs to different nursing environments before they invest in an RN level education. Even with the field of nursing growing by twenty-six percent, some still have a difficult time finding a job as an RN without upgrading their degree to a BSN.
Location, Location, Location
As is the case with many things, an RN salary depends largely on where you live. With less than a year of experience, registered nurse salaries generally land in the $20 to $25 per hour range. The overall average salary, however, begin at less than $14 per hour in Puerto Rico and reach a potential average of over $40 per hour in California.
Of course, these salaries are influenced by a variety of factors, including the overall economic conditions of a given location, as well as the cost of living.
The Future of Nursing
With “baby boomers” reaching an advanced age, people living to older ages in general, as well as more effective treatments available to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, the need for quality caregivers, including nurses of all levels is expected to increase significantly. But going into nursing, whether it is as a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a certified nursing assistant, even with a more advanced degree, there is much more involved to the field than simply working and collecting a paycheck.
In most areas, nursing is supported by unions and nurses of all levels need to do their part to see that enough nurses are employed to give patients the care and attention they need, while still giving nurses the tools to take care of themselves.