Only about half of nurse practitioners are satisfied with their compensation, according to a new salary guide, released last week by Health eCareers.

Polling nearly 20,000 health care job seekers nationwide (about 27 percent of which were nurses or NPs), the firm found some interesting insights about the field. Only about 17 percent of nurses said they are happy with their job and planning to stay put, while 13 percent said they were unhappy and looking for change. Some 44 percent of nurses, meanwhile, said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their current pay.

Common reasons for dissatisfaction with the nursing profession, Health eCareers found, included salaries that don’t match up with experience, or that are lower than similar jobs in the region. Burnout showed up as a concern in the study, too, as nurses expressed a heavy workload and staff morale as key concerns going into next year.

Low salary also is a concern for nurses, and the survey has some numbers to back that up. Year over year, average RN compensation dropped by about 3.1 percent, down to nearly $62,000. Health eCareers speculates that 40-hour workweek limits, could be one reason for the dip. Other reasons found in the survey included changed employers (51 percent), hours cut (8 percent), and no or lower bonus for performance (8 percent).

Salaries for NPs, meanwhile, swung upward 5.3 percent year over year to about $100,000 on average. The uptick may be related to hospitals hiring more such nurses to help address the shortage of docs, according to the report.

It appears to be a job-seekers market, overall, with about 89 percent of nurses polled expressing confidence in their job search.

Nurse plummets 75 feet trying to help accident victims, is undaunted by the experience

On her way to an early morning workout, nurse Angela Weir was confronted with a fiery crash along the road. As a trauma nurse with University of Maryland Medical Center, she quickly kicked into gear, getting out of her car and running toward the accident, People magazine reports. She leapt over a concrete barrier near the accident to put some distance between her and the fire, but rather than landing on solid ground, she plummeted 75 feet into a river. Miraculously, Weir came out of the incident alive and relatively unscathed, with just two “insignificant fractures” and some bruising. Weir told the magazine that she wouldn’t hesitate to help if she comes across an accident again. "In my line of work, there's no way you're going to sit back and watch something happen," she says. "If someone is needing help, I'm not going to not do it. No way."

Letting nurses nap at work

Could letting nurses catch some Zs in the middle of a busy shift be a way to address fatigue and burnout? Laura Stokowski, an RN and writer for Medscape, thinks the answer is most definitely “yes.” In a column posted to the site earlier this month, she argues that nursing should follow in the footsteps of other industries that have implemented naps to avoid fatigue. Backing up her case, she describes a nurse napping pilot project conducted with staff from two hospitals, which found that about 53 percent of the time, nurses felt “alert and refreshed” following a nap. Nurses ranked their slumber time as 7.3 on the 10-point “helpfulness of napping” scale overall.  Stokowski thinks the evidence is convincing, but to get there, she says that nurse leaders must drop their biases about napping. “It is a peculiar form of torture unique to the nursing profession. Nursing culture has for far too long accepted a warped reality that nurses don't need fully relieved breaks away from patient-care duties, even for a mere 30 minutes,” she writes.

Rapid fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items that caught our eye in the past week:

  • A 31-year-old Montana man plead guilty last week to assaulting a nurse at Montana State Hospital, the Montana Standard reports.
  • STAT news has an interesting look at what it’s like for nurses in South America trying to address the “unrelenting struggle of raising Brazil’s Zika babies.”
  • And finally, Florida International University’s school of nursing has started a unique new training program to better prepare nurses to treat the complex needs of veteran patients.