With the chronic shortage of highly qualified nurses in Mississippi and the many challenges facing medical practitioners in the state, RNs are being compensated for higher levels of education by being awarded higher salaries. The shortage is considered so acute that Mississippi has also created a special scholarship program known as the Nursing Education Loan/Scholarship BSN (NELB) for nurses seeking to obtain a BSN.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 26% of the population of Mississippi was 65 or older in 2013 and thus likely to face increasing health problems. Additional challenges for health care practitioners in the state include having had both the highest rate of teen births and the highest infant mortality rate in the country in 2009, according to the Mississippi Public Health Institute.
The turnover of hospital RNs in Mississippi was 20.6% in 2013 according to the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce (ONW). To help retain nurses and develop the most qualified population of nurses possible, healthcare institutions in the state and nursing schools have partnered to establish the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU). Encouraging nurses to return to school to complete BSN programs is among the DEU’s planned initiatives designed to improve the readiness of the state’s nurses.
A Comparative Analysis of Salaries Among ADN and BSN Prepared RNs
In 2012, the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses provided a comparison of salaries in the Southern states among ADN-prepared RNs and those for nurses holding BSN degrees. Those who had a BSN made an average of $61,956 a year in 2012. This was 5.8% higher than the average salary for an RN with an associate’s degree.
The analysis of RN salaries went on to reveal that over the course of a 20-year career, having a BSN in the South provides an additional $67,880 in income.
The employment site Indeed.com provides the salaries for nursing jobs that are currently advertised. In January 2015, a nursing position at a medical surgical facility in Columbus calling for candidates with a BSN offered a starting salary of $66,000. An additional position for an oncology nurse in Jackson that required a BSN had a starting salary of $87,000.
In contrast, advertised positions for ADN-prepared RNs offered:
- Pediatric Nurse: $61,000
- Medical Surgery Nurse: $58,000
Analyzing BSN Salaries in Mississippi According to City and Region
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security provides information on the number of RNs employed throughout the state. In 2014, more than one third of the 27,590 RNs in Mississippi were located in two metropolitan areas:
- Jackson: 9%
- Gulfport-Biloxi: 5%
A full analysis of regional salaries for BSN-educated RNs, which represent the top earning RNs in the state, can be seen in the table below furnished by the US Department of Labor in 2013: