How Much Does a Scrub Nurse Make?

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How Much Does a Scrub Nurse Make?
Scrub nurses may work in emergency situations. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A scrub nurse -- also known as a perioperative nurse or operating room nurse -- provides support to surgeons in operating theatres. During operations, a scrub nurse hands the surgeon implements on request and prepares medication. These registered nurses also may lay out equipment and assist the surgeons with their gowns and gloves before operations, as well as clean equipment and prepare the operating room for the next procedure. A perioperative nurse's salary level is comparable to the salaries of other registered nurses.

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Average Salary

During its 2009 salary survey of occupations throughout the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collated wage data from more than 2.5 million registered nurses, including perioperative nurses. It calculated that the average annual salary for the profession was £43,244, equivalent to £3,603 a month or £20.70 an hour. This corresponds to figures produced by salary comparison website PayScale in 2011, which put the average yearly pay for a scrub nurse at between £33,676 and £47,960. The Mayo School of Health Sciences, in 2006, put the range at between £26,162 and £54,236.

Salary by Industry

The BLS also found that salaries for registered nurses varied by employment sector. Most RNs -- including scrub nurses -- worked in general medical and surgical hospitals and the offices of physicians. These had very similar average wages -- £44,031 and £43,738 a year, respectively. By comparison, RNs working for outpatient care centres earned £42,698; home health care services, £41,145; and nursing care facilities, £38,558. Nurses working within federal government agencies earned an average of £50,589, as of 2009.

Salary by Location

A second factor that affects a nurse's pay is the geographical location in which she works. The BLS listed California and Massachusetts as the states in which, across all industry sectors, a nurse received the highest wages -- £55,302 and £53,157, respectively -- followed by Hawaii at £52,013. In contrast, Mississippi was listed at £37,459 and South Dakota at £34,788. At the level of metropolitan districts, the Visalia-Porterville area of California topped the table at £72,169 while Morgantown, West Virginia, was listed at £37,167.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for registered nurses of all specialities to grow by approximately 22 per cent from 2008 to 2018. This represents a significantly faster growth rate that that predicted for the country as a whole, estimated to be between 7 and 13 per cent over the same period. An ageing American population will see demand for surgical procedures increase. This, combined with continued technological advancements in operative treatments, will create opportunities for perioperative nurses.

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