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Allegheny General Hospital nurses have a contract. Where does their salary rank?

Ben Schmitt
| Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, 12:39 p.m.

Union officials announced a new three-year contract for Allegheny General Hospital's registered nurses late Monday, which raises the question: what do nurses earn?

Neither side would provide contract salary details, but a union spokeswoman said the average salary for an AGH registered nurse is $71,052.

That's much higher than the median annual salary for a registered nurse in the United States in 2016, which was $58,371, according to Money magazine.

Experienced nurses working at major medical centers can earn $90,000-plus, according to the article.

U.S. News and World Report said the median salary is even higher — at $67,490. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median as $68,450 in 2016.

Salaries may vary based on specialization, years of experience and location among other factors.

The median annual registered nurse salary in 2013 in Pennsylvania was $66,010 which was equivalent to $31.74 mean hourly wage, according to the BLS. It cited median salaries in Pittsburgh and Greensburg at $66,249.

Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents 1,300 nurses at the hospital in Pittsburgh's North Side , said the contract secured also pension and retirement benefits along with “high-quality” health care coverage.

Allegheny Health Network hospital system owns AGH on Pittsburgh's North Side.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania opened contract negotiations on behalf of the registered nurses with AGH in July.

Surveys show that nurses remain in high demand. Most hospitals prefer nurses with bachelor's degrees , though they often cannot find enough, the New York Times reported.

The registered nursing field is predicted to grow 15 percent until 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. Reasons include more attention to preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as obesity and hypertension, and increased demand from baby boomers who continue to live longer, more active lives.

“Nurses have been leading quality improvement and innovation at Allegheny General, and we're excited that those programs will expand under this contract,” Cathy Stoddart, president of the nurses' union, said in a statement after the AGH contract was approved. “We know that AHN will be leading in this region in both patient safety and highest quality of care with these investments for patients and nurses in our union contract. This contract is an open invitation for nurses to come apply at AGH because we have created a better work environment where nurses are respected and rewarded for the care we give.”

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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