As modern medicine grows more complex and many areas are faced with a shortage of doctors, advanced practice nurses help to fill this void by providing quality care to patients at a fraction of the cost.
Such nurses with master’s degrees are highly compensated for their expertise, as earning an MSN is known to greatly increase a nurse’s earning potential. For instance, in 2013 nurse anesthetists in Iowa earned 3.02 times as much as staff nurses according to salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Iowa Workforce Development.
In 2013, there were 260 students enrolled in nursing master’s programs in Iowa according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). It reported that 2,692 APRNs practiced in Iowa in 2013. More than 72% of them were nurse practitioners with the rest specializing as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, or clinical nursing specialists.
APRNs have an unusual degree of autonomy in Iowa, and it is one of only twelve states that allows them to prescribe medicine without restriction according to the Initiative on the Future of Nursing. These highly paid professionals can practice without the oversight of a physician and greatly enhance the degree of health care afforded to Iowa’s rural residents who frequently lack access to physicians.
A Comparison of APRN and Staff Nurse Salaries in Iowa
The higher earning potential of APRNs who usually have an MSN is apparent from a comparison of their salaries to those of staff nurses who generally lack this educational credential. In 2013, staff nurses in Iowa earned an average annual salary of $53,520 a year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median hourly salary was $25.30.
In contrast, the earnings for APRNs that were reported by Iowa Workforce Development for the same year are substantially higher than those of staff nurses:
Further evidence that getting an MSN adds significantly to a nurse’s salary is shown in the 2012 Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses salary survey of the Midwest. It found that MSN-prepared nurses in this region earned an average of 30.1% more a year than those who had BSNs:
- MSN – $77,090
- BSN – $59,232
Salaries of Nurse Practitioners in Iowa
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for nurse practitioners throughout Iowa in 2013. It shows that such professionals in the Ames area earned $19,990 more a year than those in the next highest paying location—the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area:
Nurse Anesthetist Salaries in the Omaha-Council Bluffs Area
A detailed analysis of the salaries of nurse anesthetists in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area is provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2013, those in the 90th percentile earned $154,480 a year: