A regional view of nursing salaries
Compiled by Linda Jones
Money matters. You may have become a nurse because you want to care for people, because you love science and critical thinking, but you are also a well-educated professional whose salary should reflect your level of expertise.
We could argue that what you do as a nurse is a lot more important than what a Florida real estate broker does, but it won’t get you very far. Ours is a complicated society and economic structure where financial rewards are based more on how much more money you can generate than by what you are contributing to the health and well-being of the community. For this reason nurses will never earn what they are worth. But you should at least earn what is fair within your industry.
Another complicated issue is surveys. When reviewing the numbers presented here, you have to understand the limitations of this or any survey. These findings are not definitive. They are a reflection of data from a group of nurses with some similar demographics. If you are not making exactly the average salary listed here it could be some other circumstance is at play – years of experience, that you are in a densely populated area where salaries may be lower, or are in a more affluent area where salaries are higher. If your salary is not a close match, think about other circumstances that could be making that difference before marching in and demanding a raise.
ADVANCE asked its readers to share salary information to get a national and regional picture of current earnings. The South includes: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida. From those areas we received results from almost 1,500 nurses. The numbers reflected here are average salaries based on full-time wages. In the next few months we will be releasing more detailed information on salaries, including by specialty, and digging deeper to consider not only job title, but years of experience and its impact on salary.