Registered nurses working in an emergency room determine the order of priority for each incoming patient, evaluate the patient's nursing care needs, and provide direct care. They must respond quickly to unpredictable events and any negative changes in a patient's condition. Most emergency room nurses earn at least $59,000 per year, or about $28 per hour for those who work full-time year-round.
Emergency room nurses earn a median salary of $64,994 per year as of March 2011, according to Salary.com. That translates to an hourly rate of about $31.25 per hour for full-time nurses. The pay rate is very similar to that of a registered nurse working as a typical staff nurse, which is $65,541 per year. The middle 50 percent of emergency room nurses make $59,107 to $71,817 per year, or $28.42 to $34.53 per hour. The top 10 percent earn at least $78,030 per year, equaling $37.51 per hour and higher, and only the bottom 10 percent have salaries of $53,747 and below.
Salaries for emergency room nurses vary with geography. Those in Grand Junction, Colorado, for instance, earn $51,958 per year, or $24.98 per hour. That median salary ranks in the bottom 10 percent nationwide. Those in Monroe, Louisiana, have a yearly median salary of $57,513, or $27.65 per hour, ranking in the bottom 25 percent nationwide. Emergency room nurses in Florence, South Carolina, have an annual median salary of $58,923; in Lexington, Kentucky, $59,313; in Albany, New York, $66,462; in Fresno, California $66,982; in Portland, Oregon, $68,233; and in Laconia, New Hampshire, $68,562, or $32.96 per hour.
Indeed.com lists many job openings for emergency room nurses throughout the country in 2011. Posted pay rates have a very wide range, from $25 to $46 per hour, equaling $52,000 to $95,680 per year. Some organizations look for a registered nurse to work as an emergency room manager or director. Pay rates for those positions range from $85,000 to $125,000 per year, equaling $40.86 to $60 per hour if the nurse works a standard 40-hour work week.
The Indeed.com job listings show that emergency room nurses receive substantial benefit packages. Examples of benefits offered by some employers include health, dental, vision and prescription coverage, some with 100-percent employer-paid premiums. Other benefits typically include life insurance, a company-matched retirement savings plan, and paid time off. Some organizations provide child care assistance, elder care benefits, tuition reimbursement, an employee assistance program, and referral bonuses.