Registered nurses across the U.S. earned a median salary of $75,330 in 2020 with an average hourly wage of $31.04, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But inflation is reaching record highs and many nurses are still carrying around thousands of dollars in student debt.
We’ve seen dozens of nursing unions and healthcare staffing groups go on strike over the last 12 months to demand higher pay. Many nurses say they are also thinking of quitting the profession due to burnout, fatigue, and low wages. Considering the added stress that comes with being a nurse, many providers believe they should be making more money for their time.
Our report shows that most nurses want to make at least $100,000 a year with safe, consistent staffing levels and free healthcare.
“With inflation and having a bachelor’s degree…I’d say at least $35/hr. Under $30/hr. isn’t livable anymore. Tired of working my butt off and still living paycheck to paycheck.”
“Should be making in the $100k a year range at least in my opinion.”
“I want ACTUAL time off!”
“I want to be able to not play these silly seniority-based games of who gets the good days off. Or waiting until 2 weeks prior to know my schedule as they can’t give us actual schedules, just very loosely based “patterns”.
“I want for my deductible and out of pocket maximum to be MINIMAL, especially as I’m restricted to using YOUR physicians and facilities.”
“I want SAFE staffing ratios, meaning no nurse takes over anyone else’s patients for their breaks, as that is not safe!”
“And I want raises to be in line with inflation, just like the CEO’s will be. Maybe make them proportional to what the higher up people get, including their bonuses!”
“A pay increase is needed, but what’s needed more is better health insurance. My husband and I cannot afford regular doctor visits and labs due to the fees and out of pocket charges. Healthcare should be free for all healthcare staff.”
“Considering the cost of living and what the nursing role has turned into… we should be making $50-$60/hour. So much is expected of us, and we should be compensated to reflect that.”
“Base pay should be $100k in hospital, with cost of living going up proportionally with inflation, plus merit raises and incentives for higher degrees, certifications, specialties, and added responsibilities as well as differentials for nights and weekends.”
“I won’t ever work again for less than $80/hr.
If a plumber can charge you $200/hr. to fix your toilet, then why can’t a nurse make $80/hr.?”
“I’d like to get paid what they pay the agency nurses to be there. It doesn’t seem fair to me that seasoned, dedicated employees aren’t rewarded for their commitment.”
“How about enough to pay my bills in the zip code where the hospital I work at is in. And then a few $$ more for the extraneous mental and emotional exertion placed on me. So basically, a living wage and safe ratios.”
“More money will not help. I want consistent full staffing so I can do my job safely and effectively.”
“I think most nurses in my area care more about better patient ratios compared to salary. You could pay a nurse xyz amount of money but if the working conditions suck, they are less likely to stay.”
“RN base pay should start at $50/hr.”
“Minimum $100K/year to start, 5% raise per year after that and free healthcare.”
“It’s not just the pay, it’s the work conditions. The unsafe patient ratios. The constant phone calls. The inability to get everything done and having to sacrifice the quality of care you’re providing and picking priorities. No salary increase can change those things. I’d take my old pay if the work conditions were better.”
“Equal percentage raise that the hospital CEO gets!”
“Every nurse should be making at the very least $100k for the education, skill sets, and stress we possess. Why are our salaries the same as those with high school diplomas? We save lives daily. That should be worth something.”
“10% increase across the board for all healthcare workers. EMS folks and CNAs usually get left out. They deserve a raise just as much if not more than we do in my opinion.”
“Paid professional development time and resources”
“Paid medical and mental health leave and benefits – separate from vacation time”
“Wages reflect cost of living in a given location and account for inflation at least annually”
“Hazard pay for high-risk, front-line roles”
“National staffing standards based on evidence and acuity”
“Paid childcare, tuition reimbursement, loan forgiveness”
“Paid legal representation or equal increase in compensation accommodating the annual cost of malpractice insurance”
“Just to have a pension and lifetime healthcare like the rest of the civil servants.”
“Pay us as much as you pay travel nurses and there wouldn’t be a shortage of nurses.”
“Can we start with adequate qualified staffing? No amount of money will fix exhaustion and being stressed to your breaking point.”
“I haven’t received a raise in 5 years, so I need at least 15% just to break even with 5 years ago. It’s so much more horrible now though. ? I’ll say 20-25% to remain fair and kind. We really need to get CNA wages above that of a factory worker, so we can retain them.”
“No nurse in the USA should be making less than $80,000 a year baseline. The more specialized, the more certifications, the more stress, the more liability…. the higher the pay should be.”
“A wage that reflects the complexity of our work, a wage that acknowledges the additional hours of home work and personal study. A wage that is comparable to other professional roles. A wage that matches the cost of living.”
“Enough to counter the ridiculous gas prices. Also, since we are doing the work of 4-5 other staff members may as well give us that salary too. ?”
This story was originally published by SCRUBS MAG
Thanks to everyone who shared their compensation needs online. Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.