When the state legislature was arguing to increase teacher pay from last place with a half-penny sales tax increase, I argued at the time ‘What about the rest of us?’ Especially other professionals in the state, like nurses;
According to the American Nurses Association, South Dakota’s registered nurses have the lowest annual salary of any state and the District of Columbia, ranking 51st behind Mississippi, Alabama and Iowa.
The association reports that South Dakota’s 12,530 registered nurses received an average annual salary of $57,010, or $27.41 per hour in 2017. California’s RNs posted the highest compensation at $102,700, $49.37 per hour.
Health care officials say many factors contribute to South Dakota’s comparatively poor compensation levels for nursing, including the rural nature of the state, as well as low reimbursement rates to hospitals from Medicare, Medicaid and Indian Health Services.
I would agree Medicare/Medicaid expansion probably would help. But I have argued for years that if we want to increase teacher pay, we should concentrate on raising EVERYONES PAY! I have had several friends leave the state who work in the healthcare industry for the same reason, PAY. In fact two of my friends that are RNs literally DOUBLED their pay overnight by leaving the state. Think about that. DOUBLED! They also told me the same stories about the healthcare industry in Sioux Falls, where pay is top heavy and run amuck with corruption and greed. They also said, when it comes to nursing pay between the two major hospitals, there is obvious wage collusion going on. One of my friends who worked at both systems before she left for greener pastures said to me, “Don’t you think it is a little strange that both hospital’s nursing pay is IDENTICAL?” Yeah, things that make you go hmmmm.
But I don’t want to make this about nursing alone, many professionals in our state are below average when compared to other states. So when I hear our teachers need more pay, I would agree, but in reality your pay is reflective of what the rest of us are making.
So why has it taken so long for a news agency to cover this story? I think we know the answer to that question.