You’ve seen the TV shows and movies.

The ER is always depicted as a fast-paced, high-stress environment where the staff is constantly running around saving lives.

So it’s no surprise that people often assume that ER nurses must get paid much more than other nurses.

But is that really the case? Let’s take a look at the data.

Do ER Nurses Get Paid More Than Other Nurses?

In most cases, ER nurses are not the highest-paid registered nursing specialty and are nowhere near the top of the list of the highest-paid nurses. ER nurse pay will depend highly on your geographic location and the facility you work at.

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How Much Do Nurses Make?

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a registered nurse is $77,600.

However, it’s important to remember that these numbers can vary depending on experience, education, and location.

For example, nurses who work in large metropolitan hospitals are likely to make more than those who work in small rural hospitals.

It’s Hard to Tell How Much ER Nurses Make

As stated, it’s really hard to know how much individual nursing specialties make because good surveys are hard to come by.

It’s easy to find out how much registered nurses make compared to other types of nurses (LPN vs RN vs APRN), but it’s much more difficult to find out how much registered nurses make depending on where they work.

For example, registered nurses who work in emergency rooms usually make more than registered nurses who work in intensive care units.

What I can tell you is your pay as an ER nurse will be highly dependent on your geographic location and the facility you work in.

While some facilities may give a nursing shift differential bonus for certain nursing specialties, others don’t.

In many facilities, if you start out in one nursing speciality and decide to transfer to another nursing specialty (i.e Med-surg to ICU), it would be considered a lateral transfer and your pay would neither go up or down.

Negotiate Your Pay

Negotiating Your Pay as a Nurse
How to negotiate your pay as a nurse.

Regardless of what specialty you decide to go into, your best bet is to make sure you negotiate your pay upon hire.

Refer to sites like or to see what similar nurses with your experience are making in your area. Use that to try to negotiate.

1. Do Your Research

Before you even step into the negotiation room, it’s important to do your homework and know the going rate for nurses in your area with your experience and credentials.

This way, you’ll have a good idea of what you should be asking for and can back up your request with data.

There are many online resources you can use to research average nurse salaries, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics or

2. Know Your Worth

In addition to knowing the average salary for nurses in your area, it’s also important to know your own worth.

What are your unique skills and experience? What value do you bring to the table? When you’re confident in your worth, you’ll be more likely to ask for what you deserve during negotiations.

3. Start High

When it comes time to actually sit down and negotiate your salary, I think it’s important to start high (NOT unreasonably high).

Don’t lowball yourself by asking for less than you’re worth – chances are, your employer will be more than happy to meet you in the middle if you start high.

And even if they don’t budge on salary, there are other benefits (like paid time off or flexible hours) that you can negotiate for instead.

4. Be Prepared to Walk Away

If negotiations aren’t going the way you’d hoped, be prepared to walk away from the offer.

It’s usually better to hold out for a job that meets your needs than to settle for something that doesn’t make you happy.

If push comes to shove, remember there are other opportunities out there – so don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.

And if you do decide to walk away, we can help you find your next opportunity. Just click here to search for jobs.

Find Your Next Nursing Job
Use the NurseMoneyTalk job board to look for and apply to great nursing jobs near you.

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