Are Nurses 'really' Underpaid

So bit of a follow on, from the theme of traditionally advertised as under-paid jobs - i got some interesting discussion from the teachers thread so i thought i'd look into Nurses.

there pay 'structure' is a fair bit more complex due to the large Varity of different nursing jobs but i looks like a Grade 2 Registered Nurse with 10 years experience would be sitting on about 95k a year with the new graduates starting on around 65k - this pay scale is from 1/12/21 so a bit more up to date then the teachers one

Some of the more 'senior' positions hit the low 100k to 130k region however i think these rolls would require an addition masters to a regular nursing degree however the options are there to make the step.

this also doesn't take into account any overtime a salary of 95k put you in around the 77percentile of earners in Australia.

ill say the salary structure certainly is 'worse' then teachers esp when you consider it to be more upto date note this is for Queensland nurses but it seems pretty similar across the states.

There is a bit of 'extra' renumeration for rural setting work.

i'd probably say Nurses have a bit of a 'fair point' they might be a touch under paid for non specialist nurses as 10 years experince has them under 100k a year esp considering they essentially had the worst of the recent covid crisis but once again ill throw it to the 'polls' and see what OZ-bargin thinks im not a Nurse or a Teacher so it is interesting to read what people think.

however the options to grow ones career that pays well into the 90th percentile is available so vote and comment away

Poll Options

  • 33
    Nurses are over paid
  • 109
    Nurses are paid fairly
  • 505
    Nurses are under paid


          • +2

            @SlavOz: I don't think the nurses are to blame for rhe governments poor management of the pandemic. Many nurses are against all the crap that the government has done over the last few years, but have been forced to be silenced as publicly speaking against "best practice" can lead to AHPRA taking away nurses registration to practice. As for all the tik tok pandemic dance videos, I think that has been a disgrace to all the hard-working nurses out there working massively short staffed.

          • +3


            they haven't really conducted themselves professionally over the last 3 years. They tried to hold the country at ransom during our worst public health crisis ever.

            I thought the last three years was an over reaction, for what is just another flu that only affected the minority?

            • @Ughhh: They change tone with the narrative that suits them. Next reply will be “do your own research”

      • +2

        You could say this about any job. Come to my office for a day and deal with my shithead manager nagging you all the time

        Yes, being nagged by your manager for incompetence it clearly worse than attending a MET call, restraining a psychotic patient from self harming or dealing with an ODing patient in ED with a line of 30 other patients waiting at 3am…..

        • I guess SlavOz thinks nurses don’t have any managers or if they do then all their managers are angels as per SlavOz, and it’s only SlavOz’s manager that is tough to deal with.

          Now add all what icecold5000 said and on top of that nurses ALSO have to deal with

          shithead manager nagging you all the time.

    • +4

      HelpMeiCantSee clearly none of the commenters replying have a clue. This is part of the problem. Until you've seen it and heard the stories of just how horrible it is, people don't get it. From the decapitated corpse needing to be pronounced to the drug affected needle wilding wacko, none of it is fun.

      I say this running a company with insane deadlines, hours, challenging customers and challenging staff. All this today after being on back to back zoom calls since 7:00am and going back into a call in 20 minutes. My job is a freaking walk in the park compared to emergency.

  • "their" rather than "there" -there is a difference (pun).

  • +6

    nurses are sometimes the only thing that keeps up alive at our most vulnerable time in our lives - the work they do, their pay and the conditions they work in are a national shame.

  • +3

    You can earn 150k+ pa working in public service within 10 years and that job is piss-easy compared to being a nurse…

    Although perhaps it's a reflection that public servants earn too much?

    • +4

      What job is that? I am a public servant and after four years my pay has maxed out… I don't earn anywhere near 150k

      Our highest paid employees (excluding CEO and directors) earn 120k and have a lot of responsibility.

    • +2

      I'd say 150K in 10 years public service unlikely in todays numbers.
      Here is an example of public service wage rates for admin staff in QLD Health
      If you use IT as an example, then a technical position at L7 is not very common.
      Anything at L8 is almost certainly a manager.

      It's never black and white, some public service positions are over paid (in light of value getting), some not enough (lower than industry standards for value required).

    • +4

      I've been in state gov (Health) for 15+ years, manage 10 IT staff (and am a degree qualified IT professional) - and earn $122K a year. It's stressful, I do 50+ hours most weeks and I'm struggling to replace my 'junior' staff (who earn about $5K a year less than me) because they can earn far more in the private sector.

      There's no perks in my job, no extra super like the Feds get, no salary sacrifice like the staff in a hospital get.

      Meanwhile I'm paying contractors and consultants big bucks because I can get them in without affecting my FTE cap. And - for the most part - it's a waste of taxpayer money, there's little incentive for them to do a good job and we end up maintaining whatever crap they leave us with.

      I do it because I value the public service nature of the work - despite the bluster on these sort of forums about waste of space public service managers - there is real value in what I and my team can do.

  • What occupation will you post about next?

  • +1

    I have been a registered nurse since the 80's. As a hospital-trained student nurse working at the Royal Brisbane, i was earning more than the majority of my non-nursing friends. Right now im earning $4300 ($48 per hr) gross per ftn in a level 1 position working all shifts in a Brisbane private hospital. The pay has always been good imo, with plenty of opportunities to earn overtime as well. During the "Howard" yrs my wife stayed at home for 8yrs to look after our 2 children, my wage was good enough to provide a nice life for our family.

    • +6

      The old Australian dream you had is dead I'm afraid.

  • +3

    As a general comparison I think the stress of covid would have been greater on nurses than teachers.

    • +1

      As a teacher I Agree, though that is from my experience as a teacher who is fairly adept with technology.

      I think the Jobs are both altruistic in nature and under appreciated but certainly have their own challenges. Working conditions and understaffing of nurses seem to be the key issue, while for teachers the excessive admin and unpaid overtime is our greatest challenge. More nurses and teachers as well as less beurocracy in education would go a long way to improving attrition rates and outcomes.

    • Stress is more of a response to a situation. I think in Australia, workload wise, Teachers had the worse deal having to totally change their way of teaching straight away, whereas due to lockdowns etc, I think on the whole nurses workload actually decreased. The sense of impending doom from a possible explosion of Covid case numbers could have been stressful.

      Nurses is some other countries seemed to do it pretty tough though.

  • OK, everyone is underpaid. So lets pay everyone more. Lots more. And the unemployed. And the pensioners. So where does the money come from to pay them all more? The economy only generates a certain amount of wealth. There has to be a certain average dollars income that bears some resemblance to that total wealth divided by the number of people sharing it. If it doesn't you just make dollars worth less.

    So how do you rank occupations? Do how do you decide what occupations get more than average and which get less? Because deciding who gets more requires that someone else gets less. The left-wing way of subjectively deciding the social merit of occupations so teachers and nurses get more? The right-wing way of looking at home much the contribute to the economy so executives and sales people get more? The communist state way, like Cuba did, where everyone gets exactly the same, and are expected to contribute according to their abilities irrespective of that, so the ED doctor gets the same as the nurse?

    In this country we look at how hard it is to find people who can do the job competently and productively, and are willing to keep doing it, and how hard it is to replace them if they aren't.

    Which means doctors get more than nurses. And nurses only get as much as they do because the powers that be have made it a job that requires years of gettinmg a qualification, and the community sympathises with them. And child and aged care workers get even less because that's a job that virtually anyone is capable of doing. The only problem getting people to do that job is finding people willing to do that work at that salary.

    • that's a job that virtually anyone is capable of doing.

      Can they do it well, though?

    • +1

      It's not about social merit (lefty here - but not the chardonnay kind, the Star Trek The Next Generation kind), it's about level of responsibility. Daycare workers and teachers are responsible for childrens lives for most of the week. Ditto healthcare workers but add people of all ages. All those essential industries that had to keep going through the pandemic should be remunerated appropriately. Doctors carry the liability for harm, have much, much higher insurance and training costs costs which is why they are paid more.

      Humans have basic needs. Safety, food, shelter - all of these things are essential to survival. The industries that provide these should be paid. They don't need millions. They need enough to buy houses in the areas they work because it helps their local communities to be served by locals. They need enough to buy stuff for themselves and contribute to the economy. Nurses and teachers especially can no longer afford to live where they work which is ridiculous.

      And if a company has excess profits but the employee wages are flat - then you really need to see those excess profits as unpaid wages. A company can still be profitable AND keep employee wages up.

      We've already seen that inflation rises even when employee wages are low. Reinvesting profit back into your business is just good business practice, instead of the rampant money stripping back into investors at the expensive of employees.

      And it isn't a left or right thing, it's a functioning society thing…

  • +9

    long hours - never a standard "9-5" day
    often no breaks
    odd shift work hours
    stressful environments, angry patients, angry family members, patients dying

    not an easy gig.

    • +1

      not an easy gig.

      No, it's not.
      To me, the problem is that there are far too few nurses expected to do that work.
      It's a systemic failure not to have trained up a workforce capable of handling the load.

  • +1

    Do Alan Joyce next

  • +3

    Do "politicians" next

  • A tradie once told me that they deserve to get paid more than nurses because tradies built buildings like hospitals etc which justified why they could earn more than nurses. Like teachers, I don't know if they are under paid but I bet they could do with more support.

  • +1

    Governments and the public don’t care about nurses, they just pretend to.

    For the services they render and their stressful workloads, nurses are grossly underpaid and taken for granted, just like our soldiers, police etc.

    • +1

      Nurses are heroes who should be paid more. Soldiers are most definitely not underappreciated, if anything we could do with less reverence when it comes to those that work in the military.

  • -2

    Who is overpaid is the health public service leeches on 100k plus a year providing next to zero clinical benefit. Typically worse among Labor state governments.

  • Friend is a nurse, likes night shift which is pretty good money. Earns enough that she doesn't need to do full-time and has switched to part-time (no kids).

  • +7

    I don't think the real problem with nurses is so much the pay. It is the massive overwork and stress. For what they do they deserve more, the pay is about right for what they "should" be doing.

    • Agreed. I know a lot of nurses and from what I hear, the current pay would be ok if they just had the right level of staffing, support and workplace conditions. It can be employer and ward dependent but the staffing issues seem endemic overall.

      The job is difficult and the pressure and shift work really takes its toll on people both mentally and physically after many years.

      Also OPs base wage explanation of 95k doesn't seem right to me. There's not a lot of 'standard' i.e. 9-5 shifts in nursing except for maybe day suite wards. From what I'm aware of OPs 95k figure would be with weekends and evenings and nights. Happy for any working nurses to chime in on whether that's accurate though

      • +1

        Yep - and rising rosters. My wife is an ANUM and her work days/schedules change each week. Our family calendar had to run like clockwork due to the rosters being set (from memory) a month at a time.

        For the first time in a decade (and after a workplace change) my wife MOSTLY doesn't work weekends now (which was a requirement on a rotating roster at her last workplace). We actually have family time - previously she worked 4 days throughout the week, at the discretion of the rostering Natzi ;) you couldn't say "no weekend" as the places are 24/7 (public hospital) and no one wanted to work weekends (so everyone had to have some weekend works). Different choosing to work with loading as opposed to it being a job requirement.

    • +9

      Where are you getting this information from? Totally BS - my wife has nursing registration (annually) which includes insurance in the event of litigation; she can't hold her role without this.

      The ANMU (nursing/midwife's union) are as weak as piss. Nothing against the construction guys, but I've been on big building sites where they're closed down by unions for not having enough water coolers; the amount of nurses that contracted Covid due to incorrect/shortages of PPE was ridiculous, not to mention the industry acceptance for musculoskeletal/back injuries for to patient handling.

      It's a (profanity) hard job - physically, mentally, emotionally. No doubt they're underpaid, and I would imagine even if the pay increased, there would still be an industry shortage. My wife has been physically assaulted, spat on, injured her back saving patients from falling, restrained crazy people on drugs, had every human produced fluid know on her/all over her - looked after people she has despised (criminals receiving care under police guard) and been the last person to hold the hand of someone dying as they either had no one else or no family about. She has received flowers for bringing people back from the dead (unexpected medical emergency whilst in the hospital for other reasons), and conversely, had to inform loved ones that their family members have died (when they weren't expected to) due to complications… She has been through it all, had PTSD and ongoing counseling due to her work and some of the life impacting experiences, and still turns up to work with a smile, care and compassion.

      I have asked her Sooo many times why she persists; she could used her skillset to teach/lecture, move into occupational therapy or another related area, but she continues because of the need of others, which satisfies something in her.

      I don't think anyone becomes a nurse for the money, and if they do, they don't last long. Even graduates my wife has educated at part of their placement bail due to the demands.

      Perhaps it's a rant - nurses are magic, and do a shit load of educating and patient consultation with the Drs, too! Give em a pay rise (they'll probably settle for a "thankyou" and attempts at making their workplaces better for better patient care).

    • +8

      Lol 140-160k a year? Mate what are you smoking? I am a ANUM (associate nurse unit manager) with 12 yrs plus experience in ICU and i would be getting close to 130k with overtime on a regular. This includes 50% night shifts too all year round.

      Nurses make a mistake and there is no consequence? Mate when something goes wrong with a patient, the first thing anyone does is look to roast the nurse as the scape goat.

      General nurses are front liners, 4 patients during the day, 8 patients overnight, have to wash, move fat patients that can up 280k or more ( our population is getting fatter) give meds, deal with abusive families, on top of this deal with the met call/ code blues. Its back breaking.

      Simple, nurses underpaid over worked. Guy who holds a stop sign is on 100k plus a year, thats someone who is overpaid.

      • -3

        So not underpaid but have to deal with a lot of stuff you don't want to

        • +5

          Statistically, nurse workload has increased dramatically over the years and their pay hasn't incresased proportionally to this workload.

          Leem87's statement that during the day general nurses (ward nurses) have 4 patients during the day is perhaps an average across the board. But in capital cities, namely Sydney, at a city hospital, 6 patients is average for a day time shift.

      • +1

        This doesnt even take into account the psychological toll.

        Also note, most people don't want to be in hospital in the first place, which effects their behaviour. Not withstanding the fact that some people are just mean.

    • +4

      Wow. Good luck in your medical career mate, you're going to need it with that attitude. I hope you realise that your boss asks the nurses what they think of you when they do your term reports…

      a hospital doctor.

      P.S. The above is the biggest load of horseshit I've ever seen written about nurses.

    • Hot take

    • Having a sister that's a nurse this isn't entirely inaccurate actually…except that my sister takes her job seriously and she knows more than most junior doctors as they're always asking her for help/advice. They also get stuff like salary sacrificing and even get to sacrifice their mortgage. It is a 3 year degree and she far out earns a teacher while not really being that bright.

      She gets like an extra $50 a day just to wear PPE+ loading if you work weekends and stuff. A lot of teachers just work weekends for free. I will say they're fairly paid, just because there are a lot of nurses that really don't speak much English and stuff and it's generally good enough for the health care system. If you're knowledgeable you can work your way up quite quickly (my sister became a covid testing site manager after 1 year making $60 an hour base). Having shit teachers though is an entirely different outcome. They're responsible for the education of 100's of kids a year who go on to be in our society.

      • +1

        wow she gets $50 a day to cover the cost of wearing stiffling uncomfortable PPE all day to protect herself from constant exposure to diseases that can kill her, what a rort. i suppose all nurses do is potentially save your life. she's lucky to have a brother that looks out for her

        • $30 for a mask that was mandatory for like 2 years…$50 a day is 1/4 of my salary after tax mate and the government only offered us 2% wage increases.

          to protect herself from constant exposure to diseases that can kill her

          I wish I was paid to protect myself from covid, I'm in a class of 20 kids who don't wear masks where I'd argue 1 of them has covid at any given time. Funny that she hasn't caught covid but all my teacher friends have. Which situation would you rather be in?

          • @DisabledUser262693: i happen to think both teachers and nurses are underpaid. You don't always have to tear others down to get ahead

            • @lk0811: What's any of that got to do with your comment? Who did I tear down?

              You said, they deserve to be paid extra for wearing PPE. Sure, you might see it as a bad thing to have to wear it, but I know plenty of people in plenty of industries that would have LOVED to have proper PPE at the time, let alone get paid for it.

              Weren't N95 masks going for like $5 each at the time? Even normal masks were selling for $40 a box, if they sucked so much, then why? Oh maybe because everyone was trying to protect themselves from acquiring a deadly disease?

              • @DisabledUser262693: you keep comparing nursing to teachers to make a point nurses somehow are not overpaid because there's someone else slogging it out for less. Hint: its not a zero sum game

                politicians must love people like you whilst they give themselves 10% raises and shit on HSU next time they strike for better conditions

                Seriously of all the professions that are overpaid in this pandemic, nurses arent it, and 448 people agree with that. Move on and talk about teacher wages in the other thread if you are so inclined

                • @lk0811:

                  you keep comparing nursing to teachers to make a point nurses somehow are not overpaid because there's someone else slogging it out for less. Hint: its not a zero sum game

                  Ok, I just asked my sister. She's happy with her pay, she takes home around 5k-6k a month (after tax, through salary sacrifice and sacrificing her mortgage) 2 years out of uni working standard hours. I'm comparing it because they both require a similar level of education and are both mainly employed by the department.

  • Do the finance sector or tradies next.

    • +2

      Agree! IT sector, Public sector, so many 'general business/office' roles that have little value and throw in a bunch of 'middle management' who are either in the way or hiding away with no real purpose…

  • +1

    How about IT sector?

    Must be a bunch of roles or areas that are way overpaid just because it is swept upwards with the sector in general or is so easy a little automation has them collecting a nice fat, full time pay for a few hours work while they travel.

    So far we have focussed in on two areas that require you to not only show up for your pay but also deal with kids, sick people or both EVERYDAY!

  • +1

    I think like any industry it is going to vary, you will have nurses that just suck at their job and have an ordinary work ethic, those will be seen as overpaid, then you will have others that are really good and work their ass off and would be seen as underpaid.

  • +2

    With the new SCHADS Award changes, there is going to be Cert 3 disability workers making more then a Bachelor Nurses with the new broken shift rules and meal payments.

    But I think Nursing pays about right, and rewards those with 5+ years exp / masters degree.

  • +2

    Working with a bunch of them (not an HCP though) I can say that they're very underpaid.

  • -1

    Another one? Might as well create a thread for every profession on seek, lol.

  • Next:

    Are tech workers overpaid?

  • Yep it's underpaid

  • Compared to teachers, Nurses have greater opportunity for overtime.
    Also have much greater flexibility. So can work evenings/weekends. This then gives them penalty rates and the option to fit in with their work/life balance. Perfect for a young family or starting out in life.

    • +1

      Do you think they want to be doing overtime? Perhaps if they were remunerated well in standard hours, they wouldn't have to live this constantly changing roster-life, because it kinda sucks for them.

    • But teachers get 16 weeks off a year fully paid. So there is that …

  • Here is a great article about 100 men in nursing if anyone is interested, these guys are absolute legends.

  • -1

    Hello is this a good product? I like the lining around the balls but is it prone to rusting? thankyou

  • Most nurses sit in the low pay brackets, do some of the most mentally and physically demanding jobs you can do. They deserve a better "floor" on pay. To be honest the less educated and qualified nurses do the worst work so they should be paid more.

  • are you gonna make a post for every job?

    • It's working, the OPs 3 threads are in the top 5 in my first page of threads.

  • Have one nursing friend who earns about $200k pa but works very hard.
    Most people couldn't handle what's required to be a nurse for any amount of money - hence the shortage.

  • Even jobs you would think are not hard can be my cousin worked for a council for a couple years.

    The hardest thing he found in a lot of his co-workers was lack of motivation and pride in their work he is has always had good work effort the standard of your work can be affected by your co worker's.

    As pay for your average council worker is low (Good security and conditions though) he moved back into private business making nearly twice as much.

    Different stresses now but his happier due to not being dragged down by the council way.

  • Zzzzzz

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