Nurses Overlooked Over Worked And Underpaid

817 words - 4 pages

The goals of the nursing profession have remained relatively stable for centuries. On the other hand, compensation for nurses has undergone many changes. Early nursing services were mainly voluntary and related to religious practice. Early on nurses did not receive any form of compensation. In other words, nurses were not paid for the services that they performed. In early cultures, human life was less respected and caretakers generally had very low status. The first to demand higher education for nurses were The Sisters of Charity, which was established in the 1500s, was the first nursing order with a systematic education program (Wolfe). By the 1800s, the nursing profession and nursing education were undergoing major reforms. In the United States, the civil war stimulated the growth of nursing and after the war, nursing education and practice expanded as nursing schools provided classroom instruction as well as clinical practice. Traditionally viewed as a female dominated field, nursing is one of the most underpaid occupations when compared to male dominated job categories.
A 1955 study showed a marked disparity when the salaries for nurses were compared with those of other workers. “The average gross monthly salary for a general duty nurse was $235, which included the estimated cash value of any benefits provided by the hospital. Nurses’ salaries were below those of accountants, draftsmen, teachers, social welfare and recreation workers, and librarians” (Wolfe). Therefore, nurses where paid less than most average jobs. Nurses despite long hours and difficult working conditions were being denied their rightful salary. In some cases the educational requirements and professional responsibilities of nurses exceeded those of the higher-paid groups. Most startling was the fact that the average factory worker earned about $70 more per month than the average nurse. In addition to lower salaries, nurses also received fewer benefits and worked longer hours, often more than the standard forty hours per week (Kalisch and Kalisch 1986). This leads to the conclusion that nurses where paid less than the average factory worker even though they worked longer than the standard forty hours. Furthermore this emphasizes how nurses would go above and beyond the standard just to do their job efficiently and correctly. Although during the 1960s salaries for nurses began to increase, they were still a bit far behind. A hospital wage survey conducted in 1960 by the...

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