Writing as a registered nurse who happens to think this profession is the greatest, and as the mother and mother-in-law of registered nurses, and as a role model who has encouraged many other fine nurses, there are a few things I wish you had done before you printed your article.
First, it would have helped if you had asked some of us who love nursing how we felt.
A nurse who would not encourage her own daughter to enter the field is burned out and should not be practicing--she does herself and, more important, her patients, a disservice.
Second, you should have researched nursing salaries more carefully. The figures you quote are national averages.
Nursing salaries in California are very competitive with any other profession, such as engineering or marketing, where only four years of education is required.
As in any career, if one contributes and grows and adds to one's knowledge, one's compensation increases as well. It is not unusual for nurses who have remained at one hospital for several years to make $40,000 or more per year.