Journal of Nursing
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Why RN Compensation In South Dakota Is The Lowest In The US

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By Megan Knowles

South Dakota's registered nurses have the lowest annual salary of any state — an added challenge to filling open nursing positions.

South Dakota's 12,530 RNs had an average annual salary of $57,010 ($27.41 per hour) last year. California's nurses posted the highest annual compensation at $102,700 ($49.37 per hour).

Healthcare officials say several factors contribute to South Dakota's comparatively low nurse compensation levels, including the state's rural location and low reimbursement rates to hospitals from Medicare, Medicaid and Indian Health Services.

What's puzzling is why those same factors do not affect nurse compensation in surrounding states to the same extent. In Nebraska, nurses receive an average of $62,210 annually. North Dakota nurses make $63,140 per year.

Additionally, although reasonable tuition in South Dakota's nursing schools draws out-of-state students, Carrie Clausen-Hansen, MSN, RN, a board member of the South Dakota Nurses Association, said low pay rates make it challenging to attract faculty, which partly explains the state's declining enrollment numbers.

"Faculty pay, teacher's pay, nursing pay, there is not a lot of difference," she said. "Part of why we have trouble with enrollments in our nursing schools is they can't find faculty. And a lot of it is due to pay."



 
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Editor-in Chief:
Kirsten Nicole

Editorial Staff:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Robyn Bowman
Kimberly McNabb
Lisa Gordon
Stephanie Robinson

Contributors:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Liz Di Bernardo
Cris Lobato
Elisa Howard
Susan Cramer