ADVANCE Salary Survey 2009

0

As demand continues to remain high, nurses can expect higher salaries, especially those with specialty skills.

As a nationally renowned expert in nursing workforce issues, Joanne Spetz, PhD, associate director of the Center for California Health Workforce Studies, has a bird’s eye view of compensation for nurses.

“Nursing salaries have risen in the 2000s, after stagnating in the 1990s,” said Spetz. “This has been a much-needed improvement, reflecting the increasing responsibilities of nurses and recognition of their importance to patient care.”

Nationally, the numbers bear this out – despite the economic downturn – according to ADVANCE’s annual salary survey of nurses, which showed 2008 salaries to be up from those of 2007. The average annual salary for a nurse in 2007 was in the high $50,000 range; in 2008 the average salary range was $60,000-$64,999.

The salary survey was available online August-September 2008; 4,553 nurses completed the survey.

In the coming years, Spetz believes the rise in salaries will slow somewhat as the nursing shortage gradually improves.

“Stabilization of nursing salaries will be good for the workforce overall, because it will enable employers to foster opportunities for nurses rather than devoting all their resources to filling severe nursing shortfalls,” she pointed out. “Nurses with specialized skills, particularly skills needed to care for our aging population, are likely to enjoy greater salary growth than entry-level nurses.”

ADVANCE’s survey results indicate that will be the case.

View National Salary Survey Results
View Regional Salary Survey Results

The survey asked respondents whether they had specialty certification in their area of practice.

In salaries up to $59,999, we saw more respondents who did not have specialty certification.

In the $60,000-$64,999 salary range, the numbers were almost even. More than 60 percent of nurses with higher salaries ($65,000-$120,000+) reported they do have certification in a specialty.

Positions Along the Curve

In many regions of the country, salaries continue to rise.

Joan Kuhn, director of human resources at Partners Home Care, Partners Hospice and Partners Private Care, Waltham, MA, noted, “Nursing salaries in eastern Massachusetts continue to increase as the pressure for the limited pool of RNs remains unchanged.”

At Trident Medical Center, Charleston, SC, Vickie Cummings, director of human resources, sees a similar situation. “Over the next several years, we see the nursing salaries increasing based on the critical need for RNs in the area,” she said.

At New York Hospital Queens, where nurses are part of a collective bargaining agreement, salaries have increased about 11 percent over the past 10 years. “Once a year they receive a contractual increase as well as an experience increase,” said Laurie Cariglio, recruitment manager for patient care services. “With that said, the salaries will only continue to increase.”

Other HR experts, however, have already seen a flattening of the salary curve. “The trend in the Philadelphia region is that the nursing shortage for most hospitals  is slowing down,” said Christine Tierney, MSN, RN, SPHR, employment and compensation director at Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA.

“This year, there was a glut of new graduates looking for positions. Also, with the state of the economy and its rising gas prices, mortgage defaults and downsizing hitting families hard, many nurses are choosing to work longer than previously anticipated,” Tierney said. “As a result, I expect nursing salaries to remain flat.”

Nursing Shortage Varies

Barbara Summers, PhD, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, finds nursing to be more recession-proof than other fields.

“Despite the recent higher unemployment trends nationwide, healthcare and nursing positions remain very competitive and will continue to become even more so in the future,” she said. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts Texas will have a nursing deficit of nearly 42,000 full-time nurses by 2010.”  

At Reno, NV-based Renown Health, Michelle Sanchez Bickley, senior director of human resources, agreed, adding, “The National Bureau of Labor Statistics is still indicating a healthcare shortage of workers through 2020. We have openings in many areas of nursing and specifically a strong need within the critical care areas. The economy is also difficult right now as candidates from other areas may not be able to sell their homes and relocate here.”

Noting that California continues to lead the U.S. in the lowest number of nurses per 100,000 people, Betty L. Dobbs, MHA, RN, nursing workforce development specialist at the Schneider Institute for Nursing, Little Company of Mary Service Area, Torrance, CA, concluded, “Salaries for nurses have continued to rise for the past several years as the demand for nurses continues to exceed the supply.”

View National Salary Survey Results
View Regional Salary Survey Results

Creative Compensation

Nurses are creative individuals, and many craft their own compensation packages, noted Dobbs.

“Most non-labor facilities use pay-for-performance practices while most collective bargaining organizations do not use pay-for-performance models for salary advancements,” she explained. “What we do see are new graduates delighted with their salaries, which is good news!  There are many options for nurses to work as little or as much as they want. The flexibility in worked hours and thus overall compensation is in the individual nurse’s hands.”

Craig Brethauer, vice president of team resources for BayCare Health System, Clearwater, FL, described nursing salaries as a matter of supply and demand.

“Nurses are in short supply, and everyone wants the best on their team,” he affirmed. “At BayCare Health System, we study the market and offer competitive salaries. Once nurses are on board, they have a great opportunity to learn, grow and develop as we pay for unlimited CEUs.  

“Then, as RNs increase their skills and certifications, they can advance on our clinical ladder and be compensated for the added value they bring to the unit.”  

View National Salary Survey Results
View Regional Salary Survey Results

More Than Money

Summers explained nurse compensation is more than money.

“The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center maintains its role as an employer of choice by providing a competitive and innovative total compensation program,” she said. “Due to a rapidly shifting market, trends and patterns are continually analyzed to ensure salary ranges remain competitive. Nurses are compensated through a variety of direct and indirect methods including base pay, additional pay, variable pay, longevity pay, benefits, professional development and recognition, and work-life programs.

“We also recognize the importance of creating and sustaining an ideal practice environment in which nurses are respected and the contributions of nursing practice are recognized,” Summers added.  

Elizabeth Wykpisz, MBA, MS, RN, CNAA-BC, CHE, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, expects salaries to continue rising, but added, “Hourly wages are not the only drivers that are important to nurses. Other variables, ranging from healthcare benefits to flexible work schedules, tuition reimbursement, paid time off and pension benefits are factors that are under review.

“Remuneration recognizing clinical advancement, specialty certification pay and education also play a role,” she said. “Finally, hospitals and nurses are creatively looking at ‘gainsharing’ models that reward performance around outcomes (i.e., clinical, service excellence).”

Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center, Joliet, IL, has instituted a pay-for-performance tool for nurses in 2009. 

“We, as nurses, devote ourselves to compassionate care for the sick, both in body and spirit, and our new performance tool will be one way to reward those who continually go above and beyond in their quest for better patient care,” said Jackie Medland, PhD, RN, vice president of patient services/chief nursing officer.

Specialty Units

Linda M. Gray, director of human resources at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton, NJ, outlined some in-demand nursing specialties.

“The corridor from Southeastern Pennsylvania, which includes the medical powerhouse of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York, is home to hundreds of acute care hospitals,” she said. “Critical care nursing positions are in great demand here. We have worked especially hard to create an environment where people will want to come and work . and we have been successful in recruiting nurses across those critical care specialties to staff our emergency department, operating rooms and intensive care/critical care units.”

This message was reflected in other parts of the country as well. Critical care and specialty nurses are in greatest demand at BayCare in Florida. In Charleston, Cummings has identified the need for special programs to encourage RNs to pursue skills in specialty areas such as OR, ICU and burn care. In Queens, Cariglio is looking for specialized nurses to staff the ED, Rapid Response Team and an elite Special Service Team.

The Midwest also faces a shortage of specialized nurses.

“Our biggest need is for clinical nurse specialists,” said Bonnie Kriescher, director of workplace planning and staffing at Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook, IL. “Nurses with this level of education and expertise are becoming more difficult to find in an increasingly competitive environment. The system also is currently looking to fill a number of OR nurse positions, and non-ICU telemetry nursing roles.”

Outside the hospital, the need for home care and hospice nurses will only increase as more baby boomers choose to receive care at home.

Universal Truth

While there is uncertainty ahead, Spetz emphasized a universal truth to guide healthcare organizations.

“It’s not clear how pay-for-performance programs, such as the new CMS regulations to be implemented this fall, will affect nursing salaries,” she said. “These programs should increase the value of care, but it is possible pay-for-performance will foster a punitive environment in which nurses are blamed for errors.

“[However] highly skilled nurses will continue to move to the employers who value their contributions.”

View National Salary Survey Results
View Regional Salary Survey Results

National Salary Survey Results

Annual Salary Range
U.S. Average Hourly Rate
Hourly Rate by State
Salary by Age Range
Salary by Work Setting
Salary Increase by Title 
Salary Range by Title
Salary & Specialty Certification 
Wage Calculation
How Much Was Your Increase?
What Determined Your Increase?
Benefits Paid by Employer
What Has a Rate Differential?
Do You Receive Rate Differential?
Age Range
Age You Entered Nursing
Do Your Work Overtime (Mandated?)
Work Setting
Facility Type
Facility Unionized
Practice Area
Have Specialty Certification
Highest Degree Achieved
Gender
Title

Regional Salary Survey Results

PA, NJ, DE
Average Hourly Rate by Facility Type
Average Hourly Rate by Gender
Average Hourly Rate by Setting
Average Hourly Rate by Zip Codes
Highest Degree Achieved
Hourly Rate by Age
Hourly Rate by Title 
Paid Benefits Provided
Specialty Certification Matters

MD, DC, VA
Average Hourly Rate by Facility Type 
Average Hourly Rate by Setting
Average Hourly Rate by Zip Codes
Highest Degree Achieved
Salary by Age Range
Hourly Rate by Title 
How Wages are Calculated
Paid Benefits Provided
Specialty Certification Matters

Southeastern States
Age Range
Age You Entered Nursing
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid by Employer
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Do You Receive a Rate Differential?
Employment Status  
Facility Type
Highest Degree Achieved
How Much Was Your Increase
Job Title
Mean Hourly Salary
Number of Facility Beds
Practice Area
Salary & Job Title
Salary Increase in Past Year?
Specialty Certification
Wage Calculation
What Determined Your Increase?
What Has a Rate Differential?
What’s Your Degree Worth?

New England
Age Range
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid by Employer
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Employment Status
Facility Type
Facility Unionized
How Much Was Your Increase?
Job Title
Mean Hourly Salary
Overtime Mandated by Employer
Receive a Rate Differential
Salary & Job Title
Salary Change In Past Year
Specialty Certification
Wage Calculation
What Determined Your Salary Decrease?
What Determined Your Salary Increase?
What Are You Paid a Rate Differential For?
What’s Your Degree Worth?
Work Setting

Chicago, WI, IN
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Do You Work Overtime?
How Much Was Your Salary Increase?
Overtime Mandated by Employer
Overtime Hours Worked Per Week
Receive a Rate Differential?
Salary & Job Title
Salary Decrease in Past Year?
Salary Increase in Past Year?
What Determined Your Salary Decrease?
What Determined Your Salary Increase?
What Has a Rate Differential
What Level Does Your Employer Provide Benefits

Southern Midwestern States
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Do You Work Overtime?
What is Your Hourly Rate Based on Degree?
What is Your Hourly Rate Based on Position?
How Much Was Your Salary Increase?
OT Mandated by Employer
Overtime Hours Worked Per Week
Receive a Rate Differential?
Salary Decrease in Past Year?
Salary Increase in Past Year?
What Determined Your Salary Decrease?
What Determined Your Salary Increase?
What Has a Rate Differential?
What Level Does Your Employer Provide Benefits?

California & Nevada
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid by Employer?
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Do You Work Overtime?
How Much Was Your Increase?
Mean Hourly Salary  
Overtime Mandated by Employer?
Overtime Hours Worked Per Week
Receive a Rate Differential?
Salary & Job Title
Salary Decrease in Past Year?  
Salary Increase in Past Year?
What Determined the Decrease?
What Determined Your Increase?
What Has a Rate Differential?
What’s Your Degree Worth? 

New York & New Jersey
Age Range
Age You Entered Nursing
Annual Salary Range
Benefits Paid by Employer?
Benefits Paid at Least 50 Percent by Employer
Employment Status
Facility Type
Facility Unionized
Highest Degree Achieved
How Much Was Your Increase?
Job Title
Mean Hourly Salary
NY Hourly Salary Detailed
Overtime Mandated by Employer?
Practice Area
Salary & Job Title
Salary Decrease in the Past Year?
Salary Increase in the Past Year?
Specialty Certification
Wage Calculation
What Determined Your Decrease?
What Determined Your Increase?
What Pays a Rate Differential?
What’s Your Degree Worth
Work Setting

Share.

2266 words

About Author

Sandy Keefe, MSN, RN

Sandy Keefe is a contributor for ADVANCE.

Adrianne O'Brien

Adrianne O'Brien is a former contributing editor for ADVANCE.

Leave A Reply

Log in or register to comment on this article.