A nurse who has baccalaureate and a nurse who has Associate's degree would have relatively the same salary when the work on the floor, based on time as a nurse and time in service. Obviously, higher positions like managerial (hospital) usually require higher level of education. The tricky part is a staff "floor" nurse can make more money than a salaried nurse. As a matter of fact, I occasionally see nurse practitioners working as staff nurses because they can make more money that way.
Level of respect? You gotta earn it baby!
No staff nurse will dive on a grenade for a sloppy boss.
As for me, I'm done with floor nursing for now. I want Monday to Friday, bankers hours shift (then work at Six Flags on my weekends telling people to secure their cell phones before loading
). Yes, there is such a thing in nursing. It is not necessarily lesser pay.