As the year 2023 approaches us rapidly, so do a handful of new changes coming to the healthcare industry. Healthcare is constantly evolving with new developments to help workers and facilities alike. However, COVID-19 continues to be a looming cloud over healthcare, among many other challenges that healthcare workers must face daily. With the rising demand for proper healthcare due to many factors, workers want to ensure that they earn adequate compensation for all their time and effort. If you're here asking, how much do registered nurses (RNs) make? You've come to the right place to learn about the average RN salary and what factors into how much a registered nurse earns.
The Demand for RNs Set to Increase as Shortage Worsens
In the coming years, it's estimated that the healthcare sector will need millions of new registered nurses, with this number only expected to rise even more as time passes. There are roughly 4.2 million registered nurses nationwide, with around 84% still employed in the healthcare field. In addition to this, registered nurses are one of the most high-demand professions in healthcare overall. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, a registered nurse earns around $77,600 annually, which amounts to $37.31 per hour. However, this is different from every registered nurse's salary, as many factors determine how salary is calculated.
As a beginning registered nurse, many can expect to earn any amount in the range of $28,000-$50,000 per year. However, these starting wages also depend on certain factors. Thus, the two main factors that are considered when calculating a registered nurse's salary are experience and location. Due to the nature of being a registered nurse and so many opportunities are presented to RNs beyond simply being a registered nurse, experience in the field is very critical, along with if an RN is specialized in a specific area of healthcare. These nursing specialties raise opportunities and earnings. Over time and by furthering your education in nursing, as a registered nurse, you can increase your yearly salary exponentially.
How to Become a Registered Nurse
However, you may still need to become a registered nurse. It's crucial to remember that due to how high demand this profession is and how critical it is to healthcare overall, to become an RN, you must dedicate an extensive amount of time to learning and training to earn licensed status. Although there aren't many steps to becoming an RN, they are incredibly time-consuming. However, if you are prepared to become an RN, you should know what steps to take.
Although licensure depends on each independent state, the requirements to become a registered nurse are generally the same. The first step is to earn your degree, usually either an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). While there are various plans for how to go about earning your degree, the most common options are the two-year ADN course and the traditional four-year BSN course. Upon making your degree, you'll be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, known short as the NCLEX-RN. After achieving both of these goals, you are ready to obtain licensure in your designated state. However, as each state has different requirements regarding nursing licensure, be sure to research the state you desire to work in.
Why do RNs Make More Money Than LPNs?
How much do nurses make? If you're stuck asking the question, "why do RNs earn more than LPNs?" it's crucial to look deeper at the general RN and LPN job descriptions and compare practical nurses' responsibilities to all registered nurses and what healthcare is heavily dependent on them for. Licensed practical nurses are responsible for many tasks focused on direct patient care and are often seen working alongside registered nurses. LPNs are expected to carry on numerous duties, such as monitoring patient health, changing bandages, assisting with tests and procedures, and many more. In addition to responsibilities, LPNs earn a lower salary due to various other factors, such as the overall scope of the practice and how much education is required to become one.
RN Job Description and Duties of an RN
Considered one of the largest backbones of healthcare overall, registered nurses perform a wide range of daily tasks that are critical to healthcare. Without them, proper patient care would not be possible. As a basic description, registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care among their peers. However, a more in-depth search into what registered nurses do reveals a long list of various duties. Registered nurses can often be seen assessing, observing, and speaking to patients, recording details and symptoms of patients, performing wound care, administering medications and treatments, and many more daily tasks.