Nursing salary drop attributed to job location
The drop in mean salary of Nursing graduates was not "shocking"
February 7, 2012, 7:50 pm · Updated February 8, 2012, 11:32 pm·
Although most members of Penn’s Class of 2011 saw salary bumps, many graduates of the University’s smallest school could not say the same.
While the average 2011 College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science and Wharton School graduates saw significant salary increases over the 2010 graduates, 2011 School of Nursing alumni experienced salary dips — a trend likely due to changes in job placement.
According to Career Service’s annual Career Plans Survey, the mean pay for the 2011 Nursing graduate was $56,665 — a nearly $4,000 decrease in pay in comparison to the 2010 graduates.
Patricia Rose, director of Career Services, attributed this decrease primarily to the choice of location for employment among Nursing graduates.
“Almost 10 percent fewer 2011 Nursing graduates took jobs in hospitals in New York City and California, which pay higher salaries than other hospitals in other cities due to the higher cost of living,” she said.
The survey — which was based on an 85-percent response rate — also cited budget cuts, low registered nurse turnover and a low census as other factors that affected the salary dips.
According to the survey, more 2011 Nursing graduates chose to stay in Philadelphia, as evidenced by the number of students who are currently employed at Philadelphia’s medical institutions, such as the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Thirty-six out of 82 graduates reported that they are working full-time at one of these two institutions, which were the top two employers for the Class of 2011.
Choice of industry was another factor that affected the decrease in salary, explained Sharon Fleshman, Career Services senior associate director for the Nursing School.
“In 2010, at least three people went to New York for financial services and consulting, which are non-clinical positions that tend to pay more than other industries,” she said, explaining that Nursing students who are enrolled in dual-degree programs are factored into the Nursing School’s annual salary statistics. “Those might have been dual-degree students, with Wharton and Nursing, who chose not to work in clinical nursing.”
For the Class of 2011, however, just two graduates of the dual-degree program in Nursing and Healthcare Management reported to be working in consulting and financial services — as opposed to five among the 2010 graduates, according to the report.
Nursing senior David Allen, who aspires to one day become a flight nurse, said he does not find the job prospects for Nursing graduates especially daunting.
College junior Anthony Zarate, a former Nursing student, added, “The survey wasn’t shocking and it does make sense that this decrease in salary for the 2011 graduates was due to location.”
Nursing junior Steven Cabrera agreed.
“As a junior, I’ve started looking for jobs and I’ve found it’s important to begin now because of the competitive job environment,” he said. “The decrease in salaries isn’t shocking at all.”
This story has been updated from a prior version to correctly attribute a quote to College junior Anthony Zarate, not to Nursing senior David Allen.