A nurse is paying an average of $50,000 a year more than the median in her field, according to a survey released Thursday.
The survey of nurses at hospitals across the country by the Association of Nurse Midwives found the median salary for a nurse was $60,000 in 2017, up from $53,000 the previous year.
The average salary for an associate nurse was also $60.4 million, up 4.7 percent from $58.6 million in 2017.
The increase in average salary comes on top of a recent increase in annual salary, which increased from $60 million in 2016 to $64.3 million in 2018.
The Association of Nursing Health Professions is calling on the federal government to increase funding for nurse midwifery programs.
“It’s a very serious problem that is not being addressed by the federal governments,” said Dr. Kristi Gentry, president and CEO of the association.
“We believe the federal funding needs to go up, and we are calling on them to do so now.”
Gentry said the increase in salary is a direct result of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid.
“With the expansion of that program, the number of nurses on Medicaid increased by nearly 70 percent over the past three years, from 5,600 to 11,400,” she said.
“That means they’re paying more for services.”
Nurses, who provide primary care and long-term care services, typically work in facilities in rural areas or are part-time.
“The nurses are very well paid, and yet they’re being undercut by the higher-paid associate nurses,” said Gentry.
“The higher-priced associate nurses make more in overtime than the nurses, and they don’t have to pay taxes to support themselves.”
Gentley said there are other factors behind the increase.
“They’ve got a lot of people with low-wage jobs who are going to have to move out of nursing, and it will force them to move to other fields,” she added.
The association is urging the federal and state governments to increase healthcare funding.
The Association of Nurses in Nursing and Midwifes, an umbrella organization representing over 400,000 midwives, says its members are among the largest groups of nurses in the United States.
“This is a great opportunity to show that the American nursing profession is a strong one and that it has the potential to be the next generation of nurses,” Gentry said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.