Operating Room Nursing Salaries

April 22, 12

Query Operating Room Nurse Salaries and you will find the following salary averages in the US as of Jan 2008;




However, sometimes giving an example of one individual paints a much better picture, so we wanted to breakdown exactly what makes up the salary of a typical RN in a medium sized hospital operating room as often multiple factors determine ones overall yearly salary.

The focus of our study, Jessica, has 2 years experience as a Registered Nurse (RN). One Year has been spent at the same hospital in the same operating room.

A year ago, in 2010, Jessica started working in the operating room of a medium sized Southern California hospital. Her hiring salary at that time was $37/hr having already had one year of RN experience. As of this year her base salary is $39/hr. So currently her base salary is about $78,000/year.

Jessica also works a mid shift from 12pm-8pm, which pays a shift differential of $2.50/hr thus raising the base salary to $86,320/year.

As common with many in the Operating Room, Jessica is required to take call. This is where much of the salary variance in the OR can arise. Jessica takes about 40 hours of call per month, probably slightly below the average and well below what many specialty call teams such as heart surgery or transplant surgery might take, individuals on these teams can commonly take as much as 280 hours of call per month. The hospital pays individuals $6.50 /hour while on call and 1.5 times their base pay if called into work. So for Jessica, the call pay amounts to approximately $260/month. And for individuals on the special teams it is often greater that $1000/month just to be on call, not including overtime when called into work.

Thus far, between call pay and salary, Jessica makes a little over $89,420/year. Add in a conservative amount of call back for urgent surgeries and overtime, and her yearly salary will exceed $95,000/year.

Additional Considerations...

Jessica also participates in the Hospital retirement plan. She contributes 3% of her base pay and the hospital matches that with 4%, approx $2300/year for her 401a retirement account.

She also earns time off each pay period. Since nurses often work on holidays, vacation time and paid holidays are rolled into the same bank. For a fulltime 40hr/week employee, individuals earn 7.5-10.5 hrs of time off per 2 week pay period depending on their length of employment with the hospital.

In Summary...

To understand the salary of individuals in the Operating Room, a person needs to consider multiple factors when accepting a position.

Base Salary

Shift Differential

Overtime Pay

Call Pay/Ammount of Call Required

Call Back Pay

Vacation Time

Retirement Benefits

Medical and Other Benefits


Currently at the hospital Jessica works, the overall salary structure is evaluated yearly and according to market conditions salaries are adjusted as such. It was recently announce this year salary adjustments for RNs will be approximately 3%. In addition to this Jessica has a yearly review and raise. Each year this raise has been approximately 3%. Therefore Jessica?s salary increase going into the later half of 2012 should be approximately 6%.