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Nurse salaries remain on the rise


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Nurse salaries are climbing considerably across the nation, according to recently released employer survey data.

The 2009 Compensation Data Healthcare results compiled by Compdata Surveys show wages for RNs increased by 9.2% over the last three years—which translates to an average of $61,300 per year. Previous year-to-year salary increases for nurses have been between $2,000 and $3,000.

Researchers gathered the data among more than 320,000 nurses from nearly 900 healthcare organizations across the U.S. through questionnaires. These included hospitals, long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, homecare agencies, and physician clinics. Results shows nurses on the coasts of the country have the highest salaries; nurses in the Western region will take in an average $75,300 in 2009; and those in the Northeast will make about $67,400.

The findings illustrate the healthcare industry has yearly pay increase budgets running around 3%, while other businesses have pay increases around 2%. The average nursing salary jumped up by 5.3% from 2008 to 2009 alone.

“Many of the positions within the healthcare industry continue to be in high demand and nursing positions continue to lead the pack,” says Lane Odle, product marketing manager at Compdata Surveys. “The position’s yearly increase of 5.3% is indicative of that.”

And, based on the survey data, it appears that nurses’ pockets will continue to grow.

“At this time, there is no indication that pay increases for nurses will slow down,” says Odle, adding that the consistent, annual salary gains suggest nurses’ pay will continue to rise. “Also, HR professionals in the industry are projecting the same pay increase budget for 2010, which means they expect the industry to be stable in the coming year.”

Compdata Surveys has yet to set estimates for how much nurse’ salaries will increase next year, but Odle anticipates the aging population with further drive them up.

“The Baby Boomers in the [nursing] field are nearing retirement, which will leave a number of vacant positions,” she says. “Additionally, longer average life spans are expected to cause the number of individuals seeking medical care to increase exponentially. These factors will increase the demand for healthcare workers.”