"Nurses have plenty of earning potential." — Jannine Bowen, Nurse Practitioner, Markham-Stouville Hospital

 

"Nurses have plenty of earning potential." — Jannine Bowen, Nurse Practitioner, Markham-Stouville Hospital
Nurse Practitioner Jannine Bowen will be the first to tell you she didn’t become a nurse for the money. But, she’ll add, the pay’s not bad either. She obtained a diploma in nursing more than 20 years ago, and that’s been her only regret. 
"I got a diploma and not a university degree because I wanted to save myself one year of schooling.” Bowen saved herself a year of school but as a result, endured years of casual work, job juggling, and cross-border work (which she does not recommend). "I had to do it all to make enough money to support myself."
And while she gained lots of varied nursing experience, in the end, she decided to go back to school in 2005, spending the next seven years (on and off due to family illness) driving from Ontario to Buffalo one day a week to get her Masters Degree in Nursing. 
The primary point of boosting your education is to keep your skills fresh, she explains, adding that career advancement and higher pay are potential benefits, too. Here are Bowen's hard-earned tips for boosting your earning potential.
How to boost your earning potential
Jump the pay scale dramatically  — consider working in a remote region. Bowen works in remote regions in Northern Ontario and Nunavut for short periods of time every year, primarily because she’s driven to make a difference in regions of Canada with poorer health care. "But I also highly recommend it for the autonomy. We work at nurses station, three of us, with no doctor, no pharmacy, everything is remote access only, and we’ll serve 800 people." Not only will you gain confidence, explains Bowen, she says that she earns enough money working for two weeks in Nunavut to pay for a whole year of her Masters program. "The lifestyle is obviously different of course. Some areas are extremely remote with few amenities. But there’s also no mall for you to spend all the money you’re earning either," she jokes. Some government regions will also pay for your schooling, she adds. 
20 per cent pay increase — constantly seek to learn. Bowen estimates that her Masters degree and subsequent advanced nursing status resulted in about a 20 per cent pay increase. "But you should be constantly advancing your education because nursing is all about best practices, the pay increase should be secondary," she adds. Next, Bowen has applied to get her doctorate in northern and rural health at Laurentian University. While this won’t likely lead to higher pay in a clinical environment, she says, it would allow her to teach nursing someday. "If I do teach, it would probably boost my income another 20 per cent. But right now, I prefer clinical work."
2 to 10 per cent pay lift — teach your skills to others. Bowen is a member of the Emergency Nurses Association where she eventually became an instructor teaching other new nurse members skills advancing courses. She spends about two days a month doing this, which earns her about an extra 10 per cent a year. "I don’t do it for the money mind you, but because I am passionate about nurses taking care of you and I when we face acute trauma. I want nurses to be confident."
Net loss — doing over-time. Over-time can earn you more money, but it's no way to live, says Bowen. "I've seen many nurses burn out this way."  If you want to make a change, or if you want to earn more money, you have to get outside of your comfort zone, she adds, whether that’s changing jobs, or going back to school or taking a new course.
 
  

Nurse Practitioner Jannine Bowen will be the first to tell you she didn’t become a nurse for the money. But, she’ll add, the pay’s not bad either. She obtained a diploma in nursing more than 20 years ago, and that’s been her only regret. 

"I got a diploma and not a university degree because I wanted to save myself one year of schooling.” Bowen saved herself a year of school but as a result, endured years of casual work, job juggling, and cross-border work (which she does not recommend). "I had to do it all to make enough money to support myself."

And while she gained lots of varied nursing experience, in the end, she decided to go back to school in 2005, spending the next seven years (on and off due to family illness) driving from Ontario to Buffalo one day a week to get her Masters Degree in Nursing. 

The primary point of boosting your education is to keep your skills fresh, she explains, adding that career advancement and higher pay are potential benefits, too. Here are Bowen's hard-earned tips for boosting your earning potential.

How to boost your earning potential

 Jump the pay scale dramatically - consider working in a remote region. Bowen works in remote regions in Northern Ontario and Nunavut for short periods of time every year, primarily because she’s driven to make a difference in regions of Canada with poorer health care. "But I also highly recommend it for the autonomy. We work at nurses station, three of us, with no doctor, no pharmacy, everything is remote access only, and we’ll serve 800 people." Not only will you gain confidence, explains Bowen, she says that she earns enough money working for two weeks in Nunavut to pay for a whole year of her Masters program. "The lifestyle is obviously different of course. Some areas are extremely remote with few amenities. But there’s also no mall for you to spend all the money you’re earning either," she jokes. Some government regions will also pay for your schooling, she adds. 

20 per cent pay increase - constantly seek to learn. Bowen estimates that her Masters degree and subsequent advanced nursing status resulted in about a 20 per cent pay increase. "But you should be constantly advancing your education because nursing is all about best practices, the pay increase should be secondary," she adds. Next, Bowen has applied to get her doctorate in northern and rural health at Laurentian University. While this won’t likely lead to higher pay in a clinical environment, she says, it would allow her to teach nursing someday. "If I do teach, it would probably boost my income another 20 per cent. But right now, I prefer clinical work."

2 to 10 per cent pay lift — teach your skills to others. Bowen is a member of the Emergency Nurses Association where she eventually became an instructor teaching other new nurse members skills advancing courses. She spends about two days a month doing this, which earns her about an extra 10 per cent a year. "I don’t do it for the money mind you, but because I am passionate about nurses taking care of you and I when we face acute trauma. I want nurses to be confident."

Net loss — doing over-time. Over-time can earn you more money, but it's no way to live, says Bowen. "I've seen many nurses burn out this way."  If you want to make a change, or if you want to earn more money, you have to get outside of your comfort zone, she adds, whether that’s changing jobs, or going back to school or taking a new course.