17 March 2006

US Nursing Wages

A new study links the nursing shortage in the US with salary figures lagging behind inflation rates. The study covers the period between 1996 and 2000, when there was a notable shortage in US nursing staff coinciding with a salary range below the inflation rate. When salaries were increased, there was a significant 9.2 percent increase in the nursing staff. I wonder if this increase came from the US, or from international manpower sources like the Philippines.

The lowest median wage for US nurses quoted in the study, came from the Memphis area, where the wage was $19.50 per hour. In today's exchange rates, this around P1,000 per hour. A nursing shift is about 8 hours, so that's about P8,000 per shift. Not bad, if you ask me. P8,000 is a month's salary here. And I'm doing my math at a time when the Philippine peso is stronger. Imagine the rates years ago.

The highest median wage is in Oakland, CA where the pay is $39 per hour or nearly P2,000 using today's rates. That's a cool P16,000 per nursing shift. Whoa! I hear there are even signing bonuses and relocation fees provided today with each new nurse hired.

No wonder even doctors here want to be nurses abroad.

15 reactions:

TinTin said...

All those years ago when the nursing situation in Toronto was bad, my parents and I trekked to Texas one week. Each interview that my parents walked out of (2 for mom, 1 for dad) they were literally wide-eyed with shock at the written offers they were handed. All hospitals were ready to hire them on the spot, so badly were they needed! They got sign-on bonuses and relocation fees as well.

may said...

dr. emer, this is exactly the reason why i have no clue what we will do if we do decide to go home there for good. after four years here, we are convinced that life here is comfortable, but we are getting nowhere spiritually, and it is breaking my heart. but seriously, how am i gonna feed and send my kids to school with 8,000 pesos a month, even though we are both nurses?
sugn in bonus of up to $10,000 here in our area, and referral bonus of up to $6,000. it does make your head spin, if you convert it to pesos...

Dr. Emer said...

Tin, what did they do? They turned it all down?

Dr. Emer said...

May, I know. I've even heard of sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000, but the figures you cite for referral bonus is the highest I've encountered. Perhaps what you can do is save for now, and return here later. With salaries like that, you can live like royalty here even if the peso becomes stronger at P40 per US dollar.

algol said...

I remember the time when in the Philippines nurses have to do volunteer work in hospitals because of a glut in the supply of nurses. No parent wanted to have his/her daughter become a nurse then!

I also heard of nurses complaining that they are treated like slaves by doctors.

The tables have turned.

I say this is the revenge of the nurses.

bayibhyap said...

sometimes i suspect that the philippines government is secretly encouraging doctors and nurses to move to the us so as to help with the country's balance of payments. otherwise why is the government not doing much to stop the tide of skilled manpoweer outflow here? just a tongue-in-cheek observation...:)

BatJay said...

california probably pays the highest because of the cost of living. a new grad here would probably get about $28 an hour.

there are signing bonuses especially in areas where the conditions aren't that inviting. for instance, in las vegas where it's hotter than hell in the summer and super cold in the winter, the signing bonus is around $10,000.

that's a big bonus - so it's probably called "boni".

Dr. Emer said...

Algol, that was the past. Now, doctors are shifting to nursing. Life is so full of ironies, indeed.

Dr. Emer said...

Oh I agree with your suspicion, Bayi. As always they will wait for the problem to blow up in their faces before they do something.

Dr. Emer said...

"Boni." That's a new one for Mr Webster, BatJay. Nurses are beginning to be like Hollywood superstars in terms of wages. *LOL*

bing said...

No wonder even doctors here want to be nurses abroad. true ka d'yan, dr emer. but i wonder if there will come a point of saturation? dapat siguro samantalahin na ng mga nurses at mga wannabes? poor motherland.. baka maubos na ang nurses at doctors at iba pang professionals.

Dr. Emer said...

Wait 2-3 more years, Bing. That's probably the time we will start feeling the shortage of medical personnel.

jorn said...

100.00 an hour would be a better salary for nurses who put up with the over worked, under staffed, conditions at most hospitals in the US. 12 hour shifts turn to 14 with all the documentation needed.
Patients are sicker and ruder. We are treated terribly by most. Hardly ever is a thank you given.
This is not only the treatment we receive from patients but also the doctors and administrators!

Nurse Jenny said...

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