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In the Money

Nursing compensation in 2015 varied based on specialty, gender and other factors

After an extended absence, the ADVANCE for Nurses salary survey is back! Nurses from across the country, from RNs to PhDs, answered our questions about their compensation. Let's learn a little about your fellow nurses.

With the redesign of the magazine as a national publication, we were pleased to see responses from nurses all over the U.S.

Forty-five percent of survey takers worked in a suburban setting and just 14.8% worked in a rural location. Forty percent worked in an urban area.

No single nursing specialty took a large percentage of the pie. The top 5 specialties, as reported by readers were:

1. Other-16%

2. Med/Surg-10.3%

3. Geriatrics/LTC-8.2%

4. Ambulatory-6.5%

5. Psychiatric or Home Health (tie)-5.6%

Just 38.1% of nurses have a specialty certification in their practice area. Those with doctoral degrees were the smallest sliver of practice, as 2.5% of nurses reported having either a DNP or a PhD. Together, those with a diploma or an ADN made up 37.6% of survey takers. Nurses with a BSN as their terminal degree followed right behind, with 36.2% of the total. MSN nurses made up 14.2% of the total.

Inpatient facilities took the top spot as the location where the most nurses worked.

1. Inpatient-47.1%

2. Outpatient-19.5%

3. Other-18.8%

4. Home health-6.2%

5. School-5%

Those who marked other have a varied employment history. Among the recurring locales for those nurses were correctional facilities, insurance companies, and public health/community health centers.

Medium-sized facilities were the most represented among nurses who worked in inpatient settings. 26% of all respondents worked at a hospital or healthcare centers with 100-300 beds.

Twenty-five percent of nurses worked at a unionized facility. Those at non-union facilities were more likely to earn over $80,000 annually. They were also less likely than their counterparts at union hospitals to earn under $40,000 annually. However, those at a unionized facility had a 5% greater instance of earning a pay raise over the past year.

Look at our charts for more insights into national nurse salary data. And be sure to download our guides to average salaries for RNs versus BSNs and staff nurses versus nurse managers. They're available at Salary Survey Results 2015. Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's survey.

Danielle Bullen is on staff at ADVANCE. Contact

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