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Nurse.com Blog

Don’t Miss Out on the Nurse Salary and Work-Life Report’s Revelations

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Are you wondering how your nurse salary, benefits, career options, and work-life balance compare to your peers? Or are looking to make a career move and are wondering where to start? 

To help answer these questions, Nurse.com conducted its biannual survey of 3,600 nurses (RNs, APRNs/ARNPs, and LPNs/LVNs) across the country in September and October 2023 and published the findings in its 2024 Nurse Salary and Work-Life Report

Let’s take a look at a few of the key findings and insights from the report and how you can use the data to advance your nursing career. Afterward, download your free copy of the report to get more useful information about the profession.

Nurse salary trends

RN salaries increased for most license types, but not by a generous amount, according to the report. The median RN salary reported by survey respondents was $80,000, an increase of $2,000 from the 2022 survey. The median salary for APRNs/ARNPs was $117,300, which is a decrease of $2,700 (about 2%) from the 2022 report. This could be due to the younger average age of respondents in this group of nurses.

The report also revealed that the gender pay gap for RNs has narrowed but hasn’t disappeared. The median salary for a male RN is $6,000 higher than the median salary for a female RN (compared with a $14,000 gap in the 2022 survey). Nurses’ responses helped identify some possible explanations for this salary gap, such as the higher percentage of male RNs working night shifts and negotiating their salary. However, the gap in male-female negotiating tendencies is closing, as more female RNs are becoming proactive in asking for higher pay.

“These findings surrounding salary negotiation are encouraging,” said Felicia Sadler, MJ, BSN, RN, CPHQ, LSSBB, Vice President of Quality and Partner at Relias, in the report. “But it’s important that organizations commit to structures and processes that ensure continuous process improvements. Despite the shrinking pay gap, ongoing organizational salary reviews and advocacy and awareness campaigns are needed to close the gap and keep it closed.”

Our findings also showed that education can positively impact nurse salaries. Across license types, 40% of nurses who earned certification said it resulted in a salary increase. 

Workplace safety and wellness

For the first time, our survey asked nurses about their experiences with workplace violence and how their jobs affect their mental health and wellness, which are crucial factors for job satisfaction and retention. Unfortunately, many nurses said they have either witnessed or directly experienced workplace violence, which can have detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. 

About 22% of nurses said their organization has either weekly or monthly instances of workplace violence, according to our survey. And that’s not all.

  • Almost one-third (31%) of nurses had been subjected to verbal abuse by a colleague. 
  • 64% had been subjected to verbal abuse by a patient or a patient’s family member.
  • 23% had been physically assaulted or abused by a patient or a patient’s family member.

In addition, nurses across all licensures and age groups said the profession has affected their mental health and wellness. Nurses ages 18 to 34 were more likely to report experiencing burnout, ethical dilemmas and moral injury, and compassion fatigue than nurses from other age groups. 

Wellness resources also remain important to nurses. Based on data from our report, the top three wellness resources nurses wanted were:

  • Fitness stipends for memberships, equipment, or athletic wear
  • Reimbursement or stipends for helpful apps for relaxation, fitness, and nutrition
  • Free or reduced-cost mental health counseling services

“It’s crucial for nurses to have access to mental health benefits,” said Cat Golden, BSN, RN, Partner at Nurse.com, in the report. “As a pediatric nurse who faced frequent encounters with the untimely death of young patients and their families’ grief, being able to speak with a therapist while on duty was vital for preserving my own mental well-being and played a pivotal role in my effectiveness as a nurse.”

Satisfaction and retention

Valuable insights into factors that contribute to nurses’ job satisfaction and the outlook for the nursing profession were also captured in the report. The highest percentage of nurses across all licensures (81%) rated regular merit increases as most important to their job satisfaction, followed by manager (62%), and ability to practice to the full scope of nursing practice (62%). 

However, 23% of nurses across all license types were considering leaving nursing, according to the survey. The top-ranked reasons for leaving nursing were dissatisfaction with management (25%) and better pay (24%). This is a concerning statistic for nurses, patients, and the healthcare system.

What could encourage nurses to stay? The Nurse.com report identified the following top factors that could motivate nurses to stay in the profession: 

  • Higher pay (66%)
  • Flexible scheduling (33%)
  • Better support for work-life balance (30%)
  • More reasonable workload (28%)
  • Being able to work in a remote role (25%)

Some of the revelations in the report may come as a surprise to nurses, while others may mirror how they feel about their careers and workplaces. However, all nurses can use the report to mold a better professional life for themselves. 

Use the information in this report to:

  • Compare your salary and benefits to peers.
  • Determine when to negotiate salary.
  • Assess if pursuing additional training, a degree, or certification aligns with your career goals.
  • Identify challenges and shortcomings within your organization.
  • Initiate conversations with nursing leaders and advocate for a safer, healthier workplace.

Download your free report today.