The Average Earnings for a Beginning RN

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    Definition

    • RNs are charged with carrying out doctors' recommendations for medical treatment, as well as helping in the initial (for example, taking vitals) and follow-up (for example, monitoring) care of patients. They also educate patients and their families about their medical conditions and provide them with emotional support. RNs typically have a bachelor's degree of science in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, or a diploma in nursing.

    National Averages

    • As of 2008 (the latest date for which figures are available), the BLS reported that median average wages for RNs tallied $62,450. According to PayScale, the national hourly rate for all RNs in the country is between $22.09 and $30.76 as of 2010. However, this takes into account all registered nurses, regardless of years in the field. An RN with less than one year of experience can expect to earn about $21.80, while those with one to four years of experience typically earn about $23.70 an hour.

    Location

    • The pay for starting RNs can vary wildly from one area of the country to another. For instance, nurses in major cities like Boston and New York will most likely make more than nurses in rural areas or small towns, even if they have the same exact level of experience and education. San Francisco has the highest pay for RNs of all major cities, according to Pay Scale.

    Setting

    • The type of facility at which you choose to work can also impact your salary. For instance, those working in acute care tend to command a slightly higher salary than those in other settings. RNs in health care settings such as private doctors' practices earn the least.

    Considerations

    • While starting RNs will make considerably less than someone who has been on the job for 20 or more years, nursing is also a field experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. This means that starting RNs who don' t mind long hours can earn beyond their salary by working overtime.

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