Nurse Compensation: Comparing Salary vs Hourly Wage

Nurse Compensation: Comparing Salary vs Hourly Wage

Your nurse compensation is one of the factors you should consider before accepting a job. Analyzing what your nursing compensation is before accepting a job doesn't make you a bad person or greedy, on the contrary, it makes you prudent. You worked hard to get to where you are and with being a hard worker you should make sure your compensation reflects that. Many of the jobs nurses are recruited for are not only hourly wage but are also salary. When trying to compare salary vs hourly wage the problem that many nurses run into is that they try to do an apple to orange comparison. You need to adjust to make sure you are comparing appropriately. Generally, I like to compare hourly wage to hourly wage because I believe that more closely reflects how well I will be compensated given my time.

Nurse Compensation Example

You work as a floor nurse and you are making $28.84/hour working about 40 hours per week. You are offered a “promotion” as a clinical nurse manager that is going to pay you $80,000 a year (salary position). Which position is better compensated?

A lot of times people will focus on the ANNUAL Income because that's how the salaried position reports. They will think I’m making $60,000 ($28.84 x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year) a year and now I’ll be making $80,000. That’s not necessarily the most appropriate way of looking at it because it ignores the number of hours spent at both jobs. This scenario plagues many nurses when they are offered a promotion to a salaried position or contemplating another hourly job quoted in yearly pay. Ask the hiring manager or somebody else who has worked in that position or a similar position to figure out what the weekly hourly commitment is going to look like and use that to make your decision.

Nurse Compensation Example (cont'd)

You ask around and people tell you the last guy in the clinical nurse manager position was working about 55 hours a week.

Does that make a difference? Let’s work it through and see if you don’t feel differently about the two jobs. As a floor nurse, you are making about $28.84 an hour.
(40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year) =2080 total amount of hours worked in a year $60,000 per year/2080 hours worked in a year =28.84

As a clinical nurse manager, you would be making $27.97 an hour.
(55 hours/week x 52 weeks/year) =2860 total amount of hours worked in a year $80,000 per year/2860 hours worked in a year= 27.97

These are conservative numbers because I’m sure we all know nurse managers who work a lot more hours than that. All it takes is a few of your nursing staff to call in or not show up and you are well on your way to working over 55 hours a week. It’s important to note that this also doesn’t necessarily reflect shift bonus, shift differential or any premium pay situations so depending on the actual job position there could be a higher discrepancy in the nurse compensation.

Final Thoughts

Here me out... I’m not saying you shouldn’t take this position. If your long-term game plan is management sometimes you must take a step back to take a leap forward. Also, personal life choices are just that…personal. Different circumstance might warrant different actions. But make sure those actions are made considering all the important facts.

Would knowing this information change your thoughts on your next job offer?

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Salary to Hourly: Why I prefer Hourly Nursing Job

Salary to Hourly: Why I prefer Hourly Nursing Job

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