How Much Does A Registered Nurse Make – Registered Nurse Salary Facts

What Is A Registered Nurse?

Registered Nurses provide medical care and emotional support to ill and injured patients using the nursing process. That is primary responsibility on a day to day basis along with a couple other things. They also work closely with Doctors and follow their instructions.

Keep in mind though. Nurses that work in different specialties are going to have different responsibilities. The day of a nurse who works in the intensive care unit is going to look much different than that of nurse who specializes in anesthesia. However, the general responsibilities that apply to all nurses include:

– Updating and maintaining patients’ records.
– Operating medical equipment.
– Assisting the Doctor in examining patients.
– Creating and executing treatment and care plans for patients.
– Executing different levels of life support that include: ALS, ACLS, BLS, PALS, NR
 Assessing the patient and delivering a nursing  diagnoses.
– Examen the recovery and progress of a see if the care plan needs to altered for more desirable results for the patient.

Nurses predominantly work in healthcare and medical organizations. They can work in a variety of different settings and specialties. Nurses are not just limited to the medical industry. They can be seen working for anyone  who might find their medical knowledge and expertise useful.

Those types of companies and organizations include police departments, law firms, insurance companies, sports facilities, consulting firms, private practices, schools, universities, the military, community centers, health clinics, senior homes, and much more. They have completed coursework to achieve one of the following the degrees:

Associate’s Degree In Nursing (ADN)
Bachelor’s Of Science In Nursing (BSN)
Master’s Of Science In Nursing (MSN)

Nurses who have not achieved their ADN are usually referred to as licensed practical nurses (LPNs). They are a level below the registered nurses and will not be the focus of this post. However, the more advanced the nurse’s education is and more that nurse will in salary.

A full time registered nurse’s hours are different than that of a regular job. Nurses (usually other medical staff as well) who are employed by hospitals usually work 3 (12 hour) shifts a week. They work a day or night shift. The reason night shifts exist is because hospitals are open all hours of the day which means anyone can be admitted at any time.

A patient’s condition can change at any time as well. It could happen at noon or 3am. This means someone needs to be there to care for the patient during all hours of the day. This is why a nurse might have to night or weekend shifts.

Some medical facilities structure their hours a little differently. As they might do 4 (10 hours) or 5 (8 hours) shifts a week. However, that is not the norm.  Also the hours of nurses in different specialties might differ as well. This is true for flight nurses, travel nurses, and anesthetists.

Career Options As A Registered Nurse

Nurses have many career options. As stated earlier, nurses have many career options. Those options continue to grow as they gain more formal educations and certifications. Over the past two decades, the demand for nurses has grown tremendously.

The demand does not need seem like it is going to cease with the baby boomer generation reaching old age.  Baby boomers take up almost 25% of the population in the United States. As they get older, they will start having health issues. They start checking in medical facilities for treatment.

That is large amount of people flowing into our medical facilities at once. There are currently not enough nurses to handle the current patient load. There is a labor shortage for nurses at the moment. That problem will only get worse as the baby boomers age. This is a worldwide problem, not just the United States

This is why this world needs nurses (and other medical staff) more now than ever before. These patients need adequate care. They cannot get that if our nurses are stretched thin with too high of patient load to handle.

With the knowledge of the current nurse labor deficit, we can determine that now would be an advantageous time to become a nurse and benefit from this current nursing shortage. There are many career paths to embark on.

First, we recommend that you obtain a BSN. Nurses with these degrees do much better on the labor market than those with just ADNs. Plus, having this  degree opens up the doors to apply for an MSN program.

However, most MSNs programs want nurses to have 2 to 3 years of work or clinical experience before going back to school. It is during you MSN program where you will learn and be trained in a medical specialty.

These specialties can be anything from anesthesia to  intensive care to neonatal to pediatrics. It is up to you. What do you want to study and practice? Your value on the labor market will increase tremendously upon the completion of your MSN program.

What Is The Average Registered Nurse Salary?

The hourly wage for a registered nurse is usually anywhere from $20 to $45. With most, making between $25 to $30 per hour. There are couple factors that will determine where a nurse falls on that wage spectrum. We will talk about that in just a bit. The average nurse makes just about $65,000 per year.

Why Registered Nurses Make Great Living?

As stated earlier, the labor shortage as put nurses in high demand over the past 15 to 20 years. The demand only seems to be getting higher. The higher the demand, the more someone is willing to pay to fill meet that demand. Especially if there is limited supply. At the moment, the demand is increasing at a faster rate than the supply.

That alone is a big factor that plays into why nurses are paid good money.  Another big reason, is it takes a lot of determination and will to make through the academic programs to become a registered nurse. Most people do not want go through those tough academic programs. They are made to weed people out.

Nurses who earn BSNs and MSNs are hard working people who are willing to put in the hours of studying and clinical rotations to achieve their goals.

This leads into the next reason. Nursing is not for everybody. Nursing can stressful, labor intensive, analytical, and emotionally and physically draining. Nurses have a lot of responsibilities, work extended hours, and can be directly related to how well the patient recovers.

Nurses are in charge of executing top level care of their patients at all times. This is a demanding profession. It is not for everybody. Some nurses work full time, go to school part time, and find a way to maintain a positive outlook on life. That is not easy. Nurses are challenged every time they show up to work but that is what they signed up for.

What Factors Affect Registered Nurse Pay?

There will be a couple factors that might affect how much you get paid to be a registered nurse. As much earlier, labor supply and  demand. Plus, the rigors of being a nurse and making through those tough academic programs.

There are some other factors that need to be mentioned. Although there nursing is experiencing a labor shortage, the market for nurses is still pretty competitive. Medical organizations are looking to hire the best nurses possible.

The way to stand out from the crowd to hold an advanced nursing degree (MSN or DNP), have a great academic and clinical performance, and strong recommendations for previous employers and professors. These things will help you land a good paying job.

Another factor could be overtime hours worked. This is huge because overtime wage is time and half. Plus, if you are on a weekend or night shift you will receive that wage differential on top of that overtime pay. Nurses who can work 1 or 2 overtime shifts a week will make a lot more money than nurses working regular full time hours.

However, some facilities may not have more hours to give. In that case, overtime hours might not be an option on regular basis. However, you could also cover the shifts of co-workers who need time off for whatever reason. There are always to work more hours.

The location of where you work is also a large factor of your salary. Most medical facilities factor in estimated cost of living into your salary. Therefore, nurses who work in New York or Washington DC will make much than nurses that work in Houston, Texas or Topeka, Kansas. Because the living costs are much higher in NYC and DC.

Nurses that work in certain specialties make more than nurses that work in a general setting. This is because specialty nurses are usually more educated and experienced. Therefore, they face lower competition on the market for their skills and are compensated nicely.

See also RN Salary


Whether or not nurses are paid well depends on personal perspectives and expectations of salary and gross pay. That differs from person to person. If we compare what nurses are paid compared to the national salary average ($48K) then it is easy to see that registered nurses are compensated well.

There are some that argue nurses should be paid more. With everything they deal with at their jobs and education obtained, it is a valid argument. Nurses are responsible for a lot of things. Maybe they will be compensated more as the demand grows. Only time will tell.



See also Sbar nursing