OVER 1,100 NURSES responded to the salary survey published in the January issue of Nursing2006.
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Here are a few key findings:
* Managers reported an average salary of $62,800.
* Advanced practice nurses reported an average annual salary of $69,600.
* Nurses in salaried positions made an average of $10,000 more per year than those paid by the hour.
* Salaries flatten when nurses are in a position for more than 10 years. Nurses working in the same position for 11 to 15 years report a salary of $56,000; those holding their positions for over 15 years made $56,700.
* As in previous years, men in nursing made more money than women. The average salary for all male respondents was $54,600, compared with $50,600 for women-an 8% difference. Looking at RNs specifically, the gender gap was about 6%. But for LPNs, the gap was even wider: 16%.
Certification and education pay
Among all nurses, those who reported being certified in a specialty made $9,200 more annually than nurses who weren't certified. With one exception, compensation also increased with advances in education, as indicated by these average annual salaries:
* LPNs, $36,700
* RNs with a diploma, $57,400
* RNs with an associate degree, $50,100
* RNs with a BSN, $55,300
* RNs with an MSN, $60,500.
The high annual salary for diploma RNs is consistent with our findings from previous surveys. The most likely reason is that on average, diploma RNs have been in the profession longer than other RNs.
Weighing hospital location
Location matters too, with urban and suburban hospitals paying better than small town and rural counterparts:
* urban, $54,000
* suburban, $52,700
* rural, $47,600
* small town, $46,800.
Which nursing units pay best?
This year, the highest paying unit in our survey was perianesthesia/operating room, where nurses averaged $59,200. This high average may reflect responses by well-paid nurse-anesthetists. On average, other units paid as follows:
* emergency department, $58,300
|Figure. Current average full-time salary by region|
* oncology, $56,400
* intensive care unit/critical care unit, $54,400
* medical/surgical, $50,100
* obstetrics/gynecology/nursery, $49,900
* psychiatric, $49,600
* pediatrics, $45,600
* geriatric, $44,900.
Seeing the big picture
Remember, a nurse's annual salary isn't the only-or even the most important-ingredient in job satisfaction. So if you're considering a job change, look at the big picture. Additional benefits you value and a positive working environment may be more important than salary.
About this survey
A typical respondent to this salary survey fits this profile:
* RN (73%)
* female (92%)
* has been in nursing for more than 15 years (47%)
* works in a hospital (57%)
* works as a staff nurse (59%)
* works full-time (86%)
* is compensated on an hourly basis (77%) rather than by salary
* has a bachelor's degree (31%) or an associate degree (28%).