The work of a registered nurse is vital both to the well-being of the patient, and to the work life of the physician. While most individuals go into nursing out of a desire to care for and help heal others, they obviously must also consider their own financial futures. To understand the total benefit of working as an RN, beyond the care that is offered to others, consider the basics of the job and the RN salary that can be expected for the work.
The basics of the job and how they pertain to RN salary
A registered nurse manages a great number of responsibilities, ranging from administering medication to performing basic procedures. Generally, the RN will work under the direction of the physician to carry out orders and care for the patient. The specifics of the job, as well as the compensation received, can vary based on the chosen specialty and work setting.
RN salary is directly affected by the specialty field of practice as well as the work setting
Registered nurse professionals have a wide range of specialties to choose from. From basic tasks to specialty tasks, it is important to research RN job descriptions. With so many specialties ranging from critical care to telehealth, it is no wonder that the specialty selected will directly impact RN salary. While there are still other factors that impact the pay that a person could receive, the specialty will likely have the biggest impact. Remember that to go into a specialty position, special education or training may be required.
It is also wise to review the research and projections of the demand for future RN jobs. As more and more procedures are being performed outside of hospital walls, it is expected that demand - and competition - for RN jobs outside the hospital setting are likely to grow rapidly. Most new positions are expected to sprout up in doctors' offices and and in the home health care setting.
That said, in 2008, the median annual wage of RNs was highest for those contracted through employment services and for those employed by hospitals. Doctor's office positions landed a close third, with median wages for RNs in home health care and nursing care facilities at the lower end of the spectrum.
RN salary statistics and tools
While the middle fifty percent of RNs in the United States earned between $51,640 and $76,570 in 2008, the broader RN salary range was $40,000 to $95,000. The 2008 mean wage was $65,130 and the median wage was a little lower, at $62,450.
The registered nurse salary can be affected by the location of the job, the type of hiring medical facility, and of course, the RN specialty. In order to see how specialties impact the job, try the Nursing Salaries by Nursing Specialty tool.
As the both specialty and the work setting that are chosen will likely impact salary, they are both worth considering when searching for jobs. Carefully balance the expectations of the job description and the requirements of the work setting with the expected salary to find a balance that works for you. Do some research and step into your job search armed with salary knowledge.
Further RN Resources
Payscale information on average RN salaries
Information on various RN specialties via Wikipedia
The details of becoming a Registered Nurse
Online nursing jobs database
A recruiter for nursing jobs