How much money do registered nurses make in Salt Lake City, Utah (UT)? What is a typical RN salary or hourly wage in Utah?
That’s a great question. We recently received a question on nursing salaries:
I have been a registered nurse in Salt Lake City, Utah for 15 years. I am ICU certified, ER, ACLS, BSL, PALS, with experience in PACU, research, long term care, Geri psy, and many others. I just started a new job that pays $25 per hour, weekend graveyards, with no insurance. I am getting 24-32 hours a week.
I feel that I am grossly underpaid. What should I be making on average per hour?
How Much Salary Should an RN Make in Utah?
Thanks for your question Katie. According to our RN Salary page, the last updated statistics for the state of Utah revealed an average wage of $29.10 per hour, and a yearly salary of $59,090. That is the average compiled and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These figures make no mention of the level of benefits or insurance that may or may not come along with the job as an added perk.
Like with most things, salaries or wages for nurses can vary dramatically, even within a state or city. The average wage is just that—average. Some will make much more, some much less. Generally speaking, larger cities will often offer higher wages/salaries, while smaller areas will offer less. In my local area, it is pretty typical for nurses to earn a few dollars less per hour than the average listed for my state on that salary page.
Considering your experience, certifications, lack of insurance, salary statistics quoted above, and the shift you work, it does sound to me that you may be on the lower end of the pay scale and underpaid. Working graveyard almost always commands more money, because it is a shift most nurses don’t like to work. In fact, I still don’t make as much as some new nurse graduates who work this shift at my hospital, because there is such a premium placed on it.
Also, you have work experience that often commands higher wages, as employers love ICU experience. And considering you don’t have health insurance with them, then yes, it does seem you should make a bit more. You didn’t mention if they offered any other benefits (such as bonuses or a great retirement package), which may change things a bit. But there are other factors to consider, which I’ll discuss below.
How to Find Out If You’re Underpaid as a Nurse
First, you may want to ask other nurses at your hospital, or in the surrounding area of your city what they make before you do anything else. This may help shed light on your income. If other nurses in your area are making roughly what you’re making, then it may be the best the local hospital/facility can afford at the moment.
I say that because, quite frankly, many hospitals and healthcare agencies are struggling tremendously right now. Since becoming a nurse, my hospital has been forced to have some layoffs, and has cut back on a lot of benefits and perks they once offered. First it was annual bonuses (and sign-on bonuses), which were significantly reduced or eliminated. Next came yearly raises, which were also reduced some. Then a lot of layoffs (especially high-earning managers) followed. Then insurance benefits became either more costly or developed more stringent guidelines.
The reason this has happened can be summed up in 2 factors: The economy, and Obamacare.
Even though nursing is still in high demand, the economic downturn started the process of making many hospitals feel the pinch. The new healthcare plan has made matters worse. The healthcare bill has caused our local hospital to lose a significant amount of funding (both directly and indirectly), and I imagine this may be happening across the country.
The fact is, many hospitals are suffering financially. Perhaps yours is, or perhaps they are just not paying you what they should pay you, or perhaps you are earning what most nurses in the area earn. Again, I would definitely ask around locally to find out how you compare.
What to Do If You Are Underpaid?
If you feel you are underpaid, you always have a few options:
- You can wait a few months, then try to re-negotiate your pay. Of course, this is always tricky. They could say yes, or they may say no. Either way, I understand how awkward this can be when you are at a new job (especially if they say no). But it is an option you may want to consider if you find out you’re not paid enough.
- You can begin looking for a better job. There may be other hospitals, or private agencies that are willing to pay a lot more. Of course, this can also be a hassle since you have to go through the interview process and all that again, but nursing is still in high demand.
- You can try to move up to a higher paying position, such as management. This is sometimes easier said than done, but if you can secure a management position, you will most likely boost your income nicely. With your credentials, it seems you would qualify for that.
- You can just settle for your current wage until something else happens. You didn’t mention whether or not you like the job, but money isn’t always everything. If you are satisfied where you are at currently, then perhaps it is worth staying. Or perhaps you can stay at your current job until you feel a compelled to change things, or see a great opportunity open up in the future.
Final Thoughts: All Nurses Are Underpaid
Sometimes I feel there is a sense in which all nurses are underpaid to one degree or another, regardless of income. It is often hard labor, with a lot of responsibility, skill, and it requires a lot of education (even ongoing).
Nevertheless, I guess it also helps to count our blessings and keep things in perspective too. While there will always be those who are doing better than ourselves, there are those who are dong much worse.
I’m often reminded of brave nurses in history like Florence Nightingale, who worked in deplorable conditions, endured illness and extreme risk, was shown almost zero respect on the job, and often earned next to nothing for their labors and sacrifice. We definitely have it much better than them at any wage.
Plus, many people are unemployed or making lower wages in the current economic climate. Some people who were making hundreds of thousands a year are now jobless and struggling to find work or pay their mortgage.
Thinking of those things always helps me keep things in perspective.
In any event, I can certainly sympathize with you. I hope you can increase your income over time, and I also hope the economy turns around soon.
Thanks again for your question, and I hope you have a very blessed career in nursing!