Should there be such a pay disparity between nurses and physicians? Why or why not?Should there be such a pay disparity between nurses and physicians? Why or why not?

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. I do believe that there should be a pay disparity for several reasons. 

First, the amount of training differs. Nurses can go to nursing school and finish in 4 years and get their nursing licence. To be sure this is a hard program, but the program for doctors differ. After an undergraduate course of study, there is four years of medical school and then residency, which is a minimum of three years. For a specialized course of study, you can add a few more years. 

Second, there are different types of nurses and the pay scale differs, which is an important point to keep in mind. Nurse practitioners have additional education and hence they make more money. There are also people called physican's assistants who can make more money as well. The general rule is the more education, the more the salary. 

Finally, since doctors are ultimately reponsible, they should get paid the most. 

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Precisely for the reasons mentioned above, the labor that a trained physician can perform is a scarcer service than what a nurse can do. So they get paid more. And, as others have mentioned, they are invested with the ultimate responsibility for a patient's care. So while I think perhaps nurses should be paid more, the labor market for health care will probably always dictate that physicians will make the higher salaries, and the relative demand for their expertise will probably dictate what that pay disparity will be.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that doctors should make quite a bit more money than nurses, even though I think that nurses are often under-rated in importance. Doctors are the ones who have to take the heat when the things don't go well. Nurses carry out the instructions of doctors.

I recently had an extended hospital stay and I remember how good some of the nurses were. I was really thankful to have such caring people looking out for me. Nurses should be well compensated and very highly respected for doing a heck of a hard job.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As mentioned in the previous post, nurses can complete a degree in as little as two years, while a doctor must acquire a four-year degree and then spend many more years in graduate school and residency before becoming a full-fledged physician. With the title also comes greater resposibilities and liabilities, thus the deserved differences in salary.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Doctors definitely have more training and education.  Nurses sometimes learn a lot on the job, and some nurses are very knowledgeable.  However, they do not really take the risks that doctors do.  Doctors have all the responsibility, when nurses really answer to doctors.

robertbinford | Student

Absolutely not, There should not be such a disparity.

Physicians on average make 4 to 6 times what nurses do.

If time in education and preparation is the issue then Bachelor prepared nurses and Phd Prepared Nurses should should make exponentially more.

Actually, occupational therapists and Physical therapists also both make nearly twice what nurses make.

Both fields which have there route in nursing.

If requiring "Nursing Care" is the sole requirement for hospitilization why are the "Nurses" being compensated so poorly.

Secondly why do we continue to continue taking important and vital clinical health care tasks and delegating them to non-licensed personel.  

If I am sick with Metabolic Alkilosis, I want an RN taking my vitals... because they will know what they are observing... they understand the meaningfulness of the odors, skin color, sweat or absence there of.  

Nursesshould be paid more than they are, they also should be treated more like colleagues.  

Nurses though have to champion these changes themselves by not remaining silent.

Great question.  


Robert Binford 

Undergraduate Nursing Student