The OCN Blog

OCN Explores Nursing Wages in New Research

How much do Oregon nurses really make? The well-being of Oregon’s nursing workforce is a guiding initiative for OCN, which includes the compensation of our nursing professionals. The Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) conducted a comprehensive study in late 2023 to garner essential insight into the topic.

Currently, information about nursing salaries from the Oregon Employment Department or the U.S. Bureau of Labor is very generalized. It does not take into consideration the numerous elements that impact a registered nurse’s hourly compensation, including practice setting, years of experience, educational background, and even where in the state that RN works and lives. OCN’s pivotal report, How Much Do Oregon’s Registered Nurses Earn? The 2023 Oregon Wage Study, breaks apart Oregon nursing wages at every level to provide the first holistic look into the economic well-being of Oregon’s nursing workforce.

Hourly Wages and Practice Settings

The typical RN in Oregon makes $54.63 per hour, according to the median hourly wage. This figure, however, varies significantly across different practice settings. RNs in acute care settings earn more, on average, $58.25 per hour, compared to their counterparts in non-hospital settings, who earn between $47.55 and $53.52 per hour. 

Education and Experience

Educational background and years of professional working experience also play a critical role in determining wages. The study found that nurses with a baccalaureate degree earn an average of $3 more per hour than those with an associate degree. Moreover, nurses holding advanced degrees can expect to earn an additional $5 to $8 per hour. Unsurprisingly, the data reveals a steady progression of pay that correlates with a nurse’s experience level. However, changes in setting or role are also likely to influence wage growth throughout a nurse’s career.

Geographic Location

Finally, just like Oregon’s diverse landscape, hourly compensation and spending power vary depending on where an RN calls home. The study revealed that RNs practicing in the western part of Oregon tend to earn higher wages than in the eastern parts of Oregon. These wages are even higher in the Tri-County region—including Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. However, considering cost-of-living adjustments, nurses in Oregon’s metro hub have less actual spending power compared to their rural counterparts.

Why Does the Data Matter?

According to OCN’s research director, Dr. Richard Allgeyer, who headed up the statewide study, this is the first state-specific insight that nursing leaders have into nursing pay equity. He explains, “The data is essential as we begin peeling back the layers of salary disparities and inform the current and future conversations around the economic valuation of Oregon’s nursing practice.”

Click here to view and download the complete report: How Much Do Oregon’s Registered Nurses Earn? The 2023 Oregon Wage Study.

Picture of Callie Gisler, CNA

Callie Gisler, CNA

With almost a decade of experience in communications and a degree in journalism, Callie manages community engagement and education for the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN). Before joining the OCN team in 2023, Callie worked with leading consumer brands, including Microsoft and Sony, and nonprofit organizations, such as Oregon Humane Society. She also spent two years working in acute care as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and is currently completing her BSN at Concordia University with plans to pursue a nursing career in emergency medicine alongside her healthcare workforce advocacy work at ONC.
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