5 variables that affect nurse compensation

Besides location in the U.S. and job title, five variables greatly affect nurse compensation, according to the 2014 AORN Salary and Compensation Survey.

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses surveyed its members about their pay in June and July, with 3,437 nurses participating.

The annual survey found the following five variables have a major impact on nurse compensation.

1. Work experience. Nurses often see large pay increases early in their careers, the survey found. For instance, nurses often see increases as large as $1,200 in their first to second year, but from the 25th to 26th year the pay jump is only roughly $200.

2. How they're paid. Nurses who get paid a salary earn on average $2,300 more per year than nurses who are paid by the hour.

3. Education. Naturally, nurses who have an advanced degree make more than those who do not. On average, nurses with a master's degree in nursing earn $3,200 more.

4. Union status. Nurses in a facility with a union or collective bargaining unit earn an average of $9,200 more than nurses in a nonunion workplace.

5. Gender and children. Mirroring compensation practices in several other professions, male nurses make more than women nurses: This year, men were paid $3,200 more per year than women, the survey found. Additionally, nurses who had children under 18 years old living in their home were paid $2,300 less annually than other respondents.

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