Nursing assistant salaries for nursing assistants have been rising in the US over the past decade, but according to the latest available data, that’s not due to any new initiatives from the federal government.
In fact, nursing assistants are earning more in today’s economy than they did in 2001, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began tracking occupational injuries.
This has driven some nurses to leave nursing and enter a career in administrative services, a profession that has more health-care costs and is more difficult to fire than other jobs, according to some analysts.
For example, in 2015, the average salary for an administrative assistant was $61,000, and according to research firm IBISWorld, that figure jumped by $4,500 to $72,000 for an administrator in 2017.
In 2017, the median salary for nurse assistants was $49,500, up from $37,500 in 2015.
However, the trend isn’t going to continue, said Roberta Johnson, an occupational injury lawyer at The Johnson & Kay law firm.
“Nurses and other school nurses are now making more money, but there’s been an erosion of that wage since 2001, which means that we’re seeing a lot more nursing assistants making less,” she said.
“The fact that it’s been increasing, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that it was going to keep increasing.
Nursing is still relatively safe in terms of occupational hazards, but it’s not that safe in any of the other areas, including medicine.”
In 2016, the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety issued a report estimating that the number of nursing-related injuries in the United States reached nearly 1 million in 2015—an increase of almost 20% from 2001.
But Johnson said the increase in nursing-associated injuries isn’t directly related to the government’s efforts to promote better workplace safety.
“There are many other factors that contribute to that,” she explained.
“One of them is the availability of health care and insurance coverage, and the fact that people have access to health care coverage.
But we have to remember that we haven’t done much to protect nurses and other healthcare workers.”
Nursing assistant jobs typically pay a median of $58,000 in the country, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and some studies suggest nurses make less than their clerical counterparts, who are also generally paid less.
But it’s hard to know for sure, because the Occupation Safety and Heath Administration doesn’t track the wages of nurses and administrators.
That means if the number goes up and nurses are making more, it could be because the pay is going up faster than the wages.
In a 2017 report, IBISworld calculated that nurses earned an average of $64,000 last year, which is a 6.2% increase from 2016, and a 10.7% increase since 2001.
“So even if the nursing profession is not growing as fast as it used to be, that hasn’t slowed its growth at all,” Johnson said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 8,500 nursing-induced deaths in the U.S. in 2015 alone.
While the number is small, the increase can’t be blamed on the government, Johnson said, because even if there are fewer nursing assistants in the workforce, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to keep nursing safe.
“It’s not just about nurses getting better pay, it’s about the people who work in nursing care.
That’s really the only reason we’re making a dent in occupational injuries,” Johnson added.
“We’re seeing more nursing students getting into nursing, and it’s going to be important for the future of this profession that the federal, state and local governments are taking a more active role in improving safety.”