Some nurses paid higher than primary care doctors

If you really want to make the bucks, primary care isn't the way to go. That fact was underscored this week by a study from staffing firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates, which noted that while internist pay topped out at $176,000 annually, and family practice doctors at $172,000, nurse anesthetists recruited by the firm were making average salaries of $185,000. (Anesthesiologists averaged $336,000 per year.)  Other Merritt Hawkins high earners included cardiologists, averaging $392,000 per year, radiologists, at $401,000 and gastroenterologists, at $379,000. Pediatricians, in contrast, were pulling down a relatively modest $159,000.

Now, if you want to open a real can of worms, take a look at the differences between the nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists, and which should perform procedures under what circumstances. That pay gulf is even more controversial than the difference between nurse anesthetist and primary care pay. (For a rollicking debate on that subject check on the Wall Street Journal blog item on this subject.)

To learn more about specialist pay vs. nursing:
- read this Wall Street Journal blog item