In terms of nursing disciplines, the highest paid RNs work in acute care hospitals, with the hourly rate typically ranging from $20.42 to $41.32, according to PayScale data. That’s not expected to change, since acute care is a highly specialized area of nursing.
The problem is that job prospects in acute care hospitals aren’t expected to grow as quickly as job prospects in other nursing disciplines. The 2010 BLS data indicated that the highest job prospect growth rates through 2012 would be in the offices of physicians (where the hourly rate is in the range of $16.61 to $30.79), followed by home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, employment services and, lastly, hospitals.
Some good news is that in ambulatory surgery centers, which are becoming more common as technology allows more surgeries to be performed on an outpatient basis, the hourly rates for RNs are comparable to the hourly rates in acute care hospitals. The job prospects for RNs are expected to grow—possibly even balloon—in these centers over the next several years.
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