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Nursing2018® salary and benefits survey report

doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000527600.09592.5d
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By the editors of Nursing2018

LAST SUMMER, we surveyed nurses nationwide about their salaries and benefits and compared the results to a similar survey conducted in 2011 (see “Nursing2011 Salary and Benefits Survey Report” in the October issue of Nursing2011). We found that overall salaries increased 24% from 2011 to 2017. In general, trends among nursing segments surveyed in 2017 mirrored those in 2011, as the graphs on the following pages illustrate.

Typical respondents to the 2017 survey were clinical nurses (41%) working in a hospital (53%); the next most commonly reported work setting was outpatient services/clinic (15%). Most (84%) work full time and are compensated per hour worked (63%).

For this survey we compared the earning power of PhD versus DNP degrees. Not surprisingly, nurses with DNPs earned more, probably because they're more likely to practice in a hospital setting than in academia. (See Average salaries by highest educational level.)

The following graphs show other key findings. Numbers have been rounded, and not all participants answered all survey questions. For a discussion of study limitations and a profile of the typical respondent, see About this survey.

ABOUT THIS SURVEY

The Nursing2017 salary survey was published in four issues of Nursing2017 (May through August) and posted online. The sample was a convenience nonprobability sample.

The survey has several limitations. The response rate was higher in 2017 (N=2,854) than in 2011 (N=621), but in both years considerable sample error occurred due to the large nurse universe (an estimate of the total nurse population). Consequently, the data can't be generalized to the entire nursing population for either study.

A typical respondent to the 2017 survey fits this profile:

  • RN (87%) with a BSN degree (36%)
  • female (93%)
  • works in a not-for-profit hospital (74% of hospital-based respondents)
  • has been in practice for over 30 years (31%)
  • received a 0% to 2.9% pay increase at last salary review (76%)
  • works in a facility that offers tuition reimbursement (69%)
  • works in a facility without Magnet® status (75%)
  • does not belong to a union (84%)
  • is not certified in a specialty (58%).
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“While we are well compensated for our work, there is not much flexibility in schedules, weekends are an issue, and time off can be hard to come by.”
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“When moving from a hospital to education, I took about a 35% salary decrease.”
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“I feel that older employees with years of service aren't recompensed for that. This needs to be evaluated.”
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“I was hired 11 years ago at the top of the salary tier due to my experience. Since then, I've received no raises but have gotten cost of living increases when they're given.”
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“I teach because I love it. But it is so frustrating to see brand-new ADN grads hired in a salary range similar to what I make with 30 years' experience.”
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Average salaries by location
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