National Nurses Day, on Thursday, is a chance for Americans to celebrate and appreciate nurses -- especially after their hard work and dedication to caring for people during the coronavirus pandemic over the last year.
Thursday also kicks off Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, the birthday of modern nursing founder Florence Nightingale.
Not only are nurses essential to health care, but they are also the most trusted medical professionals, according to a December 2020 Gallup poll. The poll found that 89% of Americans ranked the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as "very high" and "high."
For National Nurses Day, many companies are showing their appreciation for nurses with giveaways and other discounts. For example, Chipotle is giving away free burritos to 250,000 health care workers this month and on Thursday, Dunkin’ is offering free medium coffees to health care workers who can show their ID.
Meanwhile, Crocs promised to give 10,000 pairs of its "Crocs at Work" shoes to health care professionals for five days, starting on May 10.
Last year, nurses saw a slight increase in salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In 2020, the median annual salary for registered nurses was $75,330 per year, while the median hourly pay rate was $36.22 per hour. That’s up from 2019, when nurses’ median annual salary was $73,300 and their median hourly pay rate was $35.24, FOX Business reported last year.
According to a survey by Nurse.org, a majority (81%) of nurses are paid hourly, while only 19% are salaried. The survey found that salaried nurses tend to be in administrative roles, while nurses who work directly with patients tend to be hourly.
However, nurses do receive additional compensation such as overtime, shift differentials, bonuses and expenses, Nurse.org found, with overtime being the most common.
The job outlook for registered nurses seems to be pretty good, according to the BLS. The agency estimates that registered nurse jobs will grow 7% through 2029, which is "faster than the average for all occupations," the BLS said.