Want to know other nurses’ salaries?

Decreased Wages and Benefits — and Raises?

By now we are all too familiar with the perils of a poor economy. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have not been spared. In some cases, they are among the hardest hit. The salary survey data certainly lines up with this sign of the times.

Almost all survey respondents who saw their salaries fall saw them fall by more than 5 percent, with a third of them losing more than 10 percent of their pay. The most common reason for pay decreases was change in wages, although demotion and decreased work hours each accounted for 25 percent of the pay-cut pie.

Benefits also were reduced for one-third of all respondents, with a small number – 4 percent – losing benefits altogether.

Also as a result of the poor economy, 53 percent said their work plans have changed. Nearly 40 percent picked up additional hours or secondary jobs. Many others delayed retirement, returned to the workforce or put off going to school. Overtime was another popular way to bolster personal bankrolls, with roughly half of respondents volunteering for overtime, although a majority (60 percent) took on only 1-4 extra hours per week.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

If we told you that 50 percent of respondents saw a salary change in the past 12 months, you would probably guess down – and you would be wrong. More than 80 percent of the 50 percent who saw their salaries change actually saw them rise, mostly by 3 to 5 percent due to collective bargaining agreements or merit raises.

“Even during this difficult economy, nurse salaries overall have seen a slight increase,” Yee affirmed.

Donna Dabeck, MHA, BSN, RN, PHN, manager of nurse recruitment and retention for NorthBay Healthcare, Fairfield, added that nursing remains a strong career choice for those who are interested in the healthcare field.

“[I still believe] nursing is a field that provides career advancement, strong salaries and good benefits,” she said.

Dabeck cautioned, however, that a slumping economy has tightened the job market, especially for new grads.

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