New Statistics Revealed About the Nursing Profession | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 126

Nurses, a new study — Nursing: Can It Remain a Source of Upward Mobility Amidst Healthcare Turmoil — has revealed important statistics about the state of the nursing profession in 2017, and we’re digging into the positive and negative numbers here on episode 126.

Planting Money Plants

According to the aforementioned 2017 study published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, a number of statistics demonstrate that there is currently positive movement within the nursing profession, as well as multiple challenges. Here are some details:

  • RNs with a BSN earn an average of $68,000 as compared to $61,000 earned by those with an Associates degree.
  • The average American worker between the ages of 25 and 54 earns $60,000.
  • RNs with a diploma from a hospital program earn the least of all RNs ($56,000).
  • There is unequivocal economic evidence that nurses earn more as they achieve more education, with RNs with a master’s or doctorate earning an average of $81,000.
  • A gender wage gap between male and female nurses exists across all educational levels. Males still make up 10% of the nursing workforce.
  • Male RNs with a BSN earn 19% more than female RNs with a BSN.
  • Male ADNs earn 5% more than their female colleagues.
  • LPNs/LVNs are more diverse than other types of nurses; 44% of practical and vocational nurses are minorities.
  • LPNs/LVNs earn an average of $46,000 per year, and only 18% of RNs begin their careers as LPNs or LVNs.
  • 66% of RNs now have a BSN
  • 16% of RNs have graduate degrees
  • 7% of RNs are Hispanic or Latino.16% of the general population is Latino or Hispanic.
  • 70% of RNs with a Bachelor’s degree are white, 10% are black.
  • The potential for major change in the US healthcare system threatens at least 156,000 nursing jobs. Any decline in the number of insured Americans will negatively impact the demand for nurses and other healthcare workers.
  • There are currently 3.2 million registered nurses and 720,000 LPNs/LVNs.
  • Since 1993, the number of nurses earning a college degree has doubled.

Some other articles have crossed my desk recently: 

Advanced Practice Nurse Pay Surpasses $150k 

This is a Forbes article that references the Georgetown study.

48 Jobs With Six-Figure Salaries over on

The 48 jobs with six-figure salaries identified in this article are aggregated from the 457 jobs tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the 11 healthcare-related jobs that made the cut in terms of average salary as of May 2016 data:

#44: Physician assistants came in at $102,090
#42: Nurse Midwives were at $102,390
#38: Nurse Practitioners earned $104,610
#31: Medical and health service managers earned $109,370
#27: Post-secondary health teachers came in at $113,770 (likely not nursing professors whose pay is generally below that of most nurse practitioners)
#23: Optometrists’ salaries were $117,580
#18: Pharmacists’ salaries were tagged as $120,270
#7: Podiatrists pull in $144,110
#4: Nurse Anesthetists earned a healthy $164,030
#3: Dentists boasted a salary of $178,670
#1: Physicians and surgeons earned an average of $210,170

Demand for Nurse Practitioners Eclipses Most Doctors

This article reports that demand for NPs is outpacing the demand for doctors around the country as NPs begin to perform many of the tasks previously reserved for physicians.It’s also noted that NPs and PAs are gaining more positions in specialty practice environments. However, high rates of turnover and burnout still dog the nursing profession.

Nurse Practitioners Meeting High Demand for Chronic Disease Management

Here’s a quote from this one:

Demand for nurse practitioners is at an all-time high, and NPs are now the fourth most sought after health care profession, as well as one of the fastest growing. Last year, primary care nurse practitioner graduates outnumbered primary care medical school graduates by more than three times. It’s no surprise U.S. News & World Report ranked the NP second on its list of the 100 best jobs – naming formidable salaries, job security, and increased practice rights as enticements for students considering health care professions. Factor in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projection of 31% job growth between now and 2024 (five times the national average for all professions) and the need for more than 50,000 new positions, and we have the right incentives to recruit the next generation of nurse practitioners who can continue strengthening our health care workforce.

The take-aways are many here, folks. For one, we know that nursing is here to stay, and we also know that NPs are still ascending in the public consciousness and in terms of salary, opportunity, and job growth. Career decisions can be made based on the numbers, of course, but other factors including location, quality of life, benefits, marketability, and opportunities for advancement should definitely also be considered.

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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century” and “Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters.”

He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for,, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, American Sentinel University, American Nurse Today, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.

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