Prior health work increases RN salaries

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Prior experience in some health-related fields equates to higher wages for registered nurses who earn a bachelor of science in nursing.

A study published this summer by BMC Health Services Research found those who previously worked as healthcare managers, LPNs or nursing aides earned up to $3.86 more per hour in starting wages, or $7,700 more per year, than inexperienced peers with the same degrees.

Researchers used the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses to examine hourly wages, prior health-related employment, and demographics, including degrees held.

Among those with prior LPN and nursing aide jobs, the initial salary advantage disappeared once BSN-educated RN experience reached 10 years. Wage growth also was lower for those previously employed as allied health workers, LPNs or nursing aides.

The researchers found little difference among experienced and inexperienced RNs with associate's degrees.

Researchers theorized the higher wage return could motivate non-RN workers to seek a BSN as they shift to RN positions, which could help meet the U.S. Institute of Medicine's 80% BSN workforce goal.