Nurses Tell All! Salaries, Benefits, and Whether They'd Do It Again

Carol Peckham

| Disclosures | November 17, 2015

Nurse Compensation and Satisfaction Survey

This year Medscape surveyed nurses for the first time on compensation and job satisfaction levels, with more than 8000 nurses meeting the screening criteria and completing the survey. Respondents were required to work in the United States as advanced practice nurses (APNs), registered nurses (RNs), or practical nurses whose titles are either licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or, in some states, licensed vocational nurses (LVNs); the positions are similar.

Among the highlights in the survey are the following:

Only 60% of APNs, 56% of RNs, and 48% of LPNs would choose nursing as a career again, percentages that are even lower than the 64% of physicians who reported in the Medscape 2015 Physician Compensation Report that they would choose the same profession if they had a chance to do it over.

According to the Medscape survey, APNs earn the most, with their salaries varying by specialty: $170,000 for nurse anesthetists, $102,000 for nurse practitioners (NPs), $99,000 for nurse midwives, and $95,000 for clinical nurse specialists. RN salaries average $79,000, and LPNs/LVNs make the least—$46,000, on average.

The income sex gap among nurses favors men to about the same extent that it favors male physicians, even though about 90% of nurses are women.

Nurses who responded to this survey fare better in terms of compensation in the West and worst in the North Central and Southeast regions of the United States.

About one fourth (26%) of full-time LPNs/LVNs have no employer-subsidized health insurance, and 9% have no benefits.

Over half (52%) of nurses in the Medscape survey reported an increase in salaries in 2014 compared with 2013. Only 9% said that their compensation had declined since 2013.


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Authors and Disclosures


Carol Peckham

Director, Editorial Services, Art Science Code LLC, New York, New York

Disclosure: Carol Peckham has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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