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How much do nurses actually make? (2021)

Nurses make different wages in different countries. In Canada, nurses’ wages can be difficult to accurately calculate. This is important for prospective students and graduates as income impacts the lifestyle you have. Therefore, in this video I will talk about how much nurses actually make.


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The flexibility of the nursing career allows for you to work in various settings and positions. This ultimately impacts the type of income you receive as different positions pay at different rates. This is outlined in each province’s nursing contract agreement and will be discussed more in depth in a later video. In this video however, I will talk more about the specific variances and how it impacts your yearly salary.


Let’s talk about bedside nursing salary, which is one of the highest paying positions. As a bedside nurse in B.C you work 2 day shifts and 2 night shifts and have 4-5 days off in between. This accumulates to a total of 163 shifts per year.



Taking a look at this grid you would think that you multiply the number of shifts to the number of hours and that would get you the income. However this is inaccurate, here are some reasons why.


One, differentials. Working on nights or on weekends increases your hourly rate, again based on your nursing union contract agreement. So half of 163 shifts you get the differential of working the night shifts which is three dollars and fifty cents extra per hour. We also get paid for eleven point 25 hours per shift as we get approximately an hour of unpaid break. So if we take one hundred and sixty three multiply by eleven point two five which is the amount of hours worked per shift, we get the total of 163 * 11.25 = 1,833.75 and multiple this number by the pay rate of thirty six dollars and twenty three cents we get an annual salary of 1833.75 * 36.23 = 66,436.7625. Now if we take eighty two which is half of the shifts we work in a year where we get differential premiums and multiply that number by our differential of three fifty and by the hours worked per shift of eleven point two five we get an additional 3,228.75. This means our total net income just by calculating the night shift differential totals to 66436 + 3228 = 69664. And this is only one of the differential premiums we get.


The second reason this is inaccurate is we get a raise half way through the year. In April, you get an automatic raise based on the experience and inflation rate. Now the experience raise only occurs if you work full time hours  but the inflation rate is given to everyone. Both of these account for an additional two dollars extra an hour half of the year!


Three, no overtime shifts. Working an extra shift in between your off days is very common and can increase your total salary incredibly quickly. Overtime shifts are double per your rate per hour. So consider you make thirty six dollars and twenty three cents, doubling that will get you seventy two dollars and forty six cents per hour. That equates to an extra eight hundred dollars net that you can make by picking up one shift.


Lastly, nurses will typically work on a few statutory holidays. These statutory holidays are usually paid double the hourly rate per hour which means they make a few extra thousand dollars per year.




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