I remember when I first started as a Licensed Practical Nurse in our local Intensive Care Unit, on the night shift, my base wages were $1.20 an hour.

I got a few cents more for working nights.

Yes, you heard me right and no, that was not back in the caveman era! 

However, I will not tell you what year this was other than it was later than you would believe.

Money speaks as you are about to learn.

*Disclosure: This article on do nurses make more money than doctors may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Do Nurses Make More Than Doctors?


A nurse can make more money than a doctor depending on the specialty and education level of the nurse and physician. The region of the country they reside in and their productivity level will also play a big part.

Money Matters  for Nurses 

I believe that nurses are devoted to their patients, but nurses, as a whole, do not spend all that time in school to not make money.

Yes, patients matter but so does the money nurses can make. And, believe me when I say, “Nurses work for every cent they earn.” 

Nurses must get as much education as possible to earn as much money as they can to support their families.

Breaking Down the Wages

money in pocket

A nurse’s wage depends on how much education the nurse has, what degrees the nurse holds, where the nurse works, how much responsibility the nurse has on the job, the shift, geographic location, and how many hours the nurse works

If a nurse wants to make more money, the only way to do this is to go back to school for a higher degree.

Yes, nurses can get to the point that they make more money than a doctor. 

  • Licensed Practical Nurses: $23.00 to $29.00 per hour
  • Registered Nurses: $27.00  to $30.00+ per hour
  • R.N. BSN Degree: $29.00 to  $54.00 per hour
  • R.N., MSN Degree: earns about $40,000 per year more than an R.N., BSN.       
  • Nurse Practioner: earns wages from $42.00 to $59.00 per hour.
  • Nurse Anesthetists: average wage is $78.86 per hour.

A doctor’s wages are much the same as a nurse, depending on their degrees, such as a family practitioner versus a brain surgeon, versus an orthopedic specialist surgeon, versus a cardiac specialist, and more.

All these doctors make different wages. The following are some wage breakdowns.

As you can see by the numbers, the higher the education, the higher the responsibility, the higher the wages. Getting a higher education is always an investment in the future. 

The following are a few different wages for doctors.

There are many variables such as the doctor’s location, the doctor’s education, years of experience, direct reports (how many surgeries per year,) and expectations of performance. 

  • Family Practice Doctors $110,000 to $80,000 per year. 
  • Heart Surgeons earn $209,000 to over $700,000 per year, with a median of $495,00 per year.
  • Orthopedic Surgeons are the same for heart surgeons. 
  • Brain Surgeons $114.00 to $157.00 per hour.

As you can see, a nurse can make more than a doctor on an hourly to yearly basis giving the right scenarios.

For example, if the nurse is a Nurse Practitioner (or CRNA), and the doctor is a practicing family physician, then yes, this nurse can make more then this doctor. 

Devoted to Patient Care and the Best Weekly Paycheck Possible

As a whole, nurses do not spend all that time in school to not make money. Yes, patients matter to nurses who love to help patients enter onto a road of wellness.

More education opens up more doors of opportunity such as school nurses, nurse anesthetists, nursing school instructors, and more.

Not all nurses are cut out for daily patient care.

Money matters a great deal, and most nurses will go where employers make the best wage offer like so many of my sister nurses and I did.

I thought I was the richest of nurses, I had a career that stood out, I loved caring for my patients, and I loved to get such a fantastic paycheck.

You can do the math of $1.20 and hour time 40-hours a week. I was entering my path towards wealth. 

One day I got a call from a close friend who told me that our city’s Medical Care Facility was paying $50.00 more per week!

I could not believe what she was saying; after all, this was unheard of anywhere. We both applied and were both hired in the next week.

There is no nurse anywhere who would agree to work for what I did when first starting out. By the time I retired, I was earning nearly 30 times more than when I started nursing. 

Final Thoughts

Nurses who desire to keep working towards the highest level of education possible for a nurse, or are looking for an exceptional nursing job with excellent pay, access our website for more valuable information.

Remember that more the more education you get opens more doors of opportunity with more responsibility and exceptional wages for you. 

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