Nursing pay in South Dakota ranks 48th in Nation

Should this surprise any of us? Not really, I have had at least two friends leave SD for better pay in nursing. One of them got her pay doubled when she moved to Washington State. I was also told by both of them, working conditions were not the best either in SD (one had worked at both major hospitals and the other worked for a private surgical center).

It seems while we hear places like Trail King get a bad rap for bad pay, and Denny Sanford kicking in $25 million to train better welders, he ought to be paying the nurses better that work for his name stake.

As I said at a recent city council meeting, we don’t have a ‘jobs’ issue in South Dakota, we have a ‘wage’ issue. Teachers and nurses are not the only ones at the bottom of the pay scale in SD.

South Dakota – $50,000 Rank: 48th
Average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings in South Dakota are 25% lower than average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings nationwide. The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Reflectx Staffing, Avera Health, FocusStaff, and Huron South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Jobs.


#1 The Daily Spin on 05.18.15 at 11:34 am

We have jobs and nobody wants them because it’s hardly a living. Nurses, teachers, retail, and food service are especially left vacated. Come to South Dakota. We have jobs if you don’t mind living in your car or on the floor in the back of the restaurant.

#2 Winston on 05.18.15 at 3:55 pm

Often our political leaders brag about how we do not a have a state income tax in South Dakota, but we do. The inherent low wages in this state for most workers, as this statistic on nursing pay further demonstrates, speaks to the hidden tax placed on South Dakota workers through a low wage culture.

This wage culture is a regressive taxing of the average South Dakotan which has no capability to tax the affluent, because their wages or income are abundant; and they further enhance their income at the expense of the average South Dakota worker through low wages whose incomes are taxed in a hidden but apparent way.

#3 hornguy on 05.18.15 at 4:40 pm

I love how state leaders always posit not having a 3 or 4 percent state income tax somehow makes up for businesses paying 20 or 30 percent lower wages. It’s like the old joke about getting a kid to trade a quarter for two pennies. You’re dead on – South Dakota has a wage issue.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also point out that, after half a decade of living in your midst, it blew my mind how many regular Joes would spout this very argument about the income tax. Your leaders have brainwashed a lot of people into thinking it’s okay to accept below-average wages because, well, we’re just lucky to have jobs here in South Dakota. It’s an odd cocktail of inferiority complex and Stockholm syndrome.

#4 l3wis on 05.18.15 at 5:00 pm

“It’s an odd cocktail of inferiority complex and Stockholm syndrome.”

You are right.

I wish I could tell you the nursing employment stories, but I don’t feel like getting sued by the hospitals. Some of the crap they had to put up with (besides low pay) were pretty crazy. I know some people talk about pay, but the working conditions at some of these places are not that spectacular either. The irony of low nurse pay is that they are the frontline to family members when they are trying to figure stuff out. I don’t know how many experiences and friends telling me the same, the only people they can get answers from on the condition of their loved ones is the nurses. I will commend them, my interaction with them in the hospitals has always been very good, that is why it always puzzles me they get paid so poorly.

#5 Joan on 05.18.15 at 6:10 pm

South Dakota is lowest paying for everything, other than cost of living.

#6 The Daily Spin on 05.18.15 at 8:52 pm

You’re right about nurses. They give care that’s not compensated. I had 5 heart surgeries. Nurses in CICU are saints. When your loved ones freak out or abandon you, they’re there and you must recover because you can’t disappoint them.

#7 The Guy from Guernsey on 05.20.15 at 2:40 pm

Obviously there is no need to compete in the arena of nurse compensation.

The real competition is to see which non-profit health organization can build/ sponsor / fund the best sports palaces.