Worryingly, 84% of nurses feel they are not well paid in relation to other professional groups and 78% believe they could be paid more for less effort if they left nursing.
Health visitors are most dissatisfied with their pay bands of all nursing sectors, according to the survey 74% say their grade or pay band is not appropriate to their role and responsibilities.
The survey, of 9,000 UK nurses, does reveal some positive trends in the amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for community and practice-based nurses.
The report states that ‘community nurses are doing more days CPD than their hospital colleagues, and this has increased - from 6.6 days a year in 2007 to 7.5 in 2009'.
Nurses working in GP practices find it easier to get time off for CPD than other sectors, the report found.
GP practice nurses and hospice nurses are also more satisfied with their jobs overall than other nurses. Of practice nurses, 80% reported they were satisfied with their job compared with just 46% of their hospital colleagues.
The RCN's 2009 survey is accompanied by their latest labour market review and a new manifesto.
The labour market review stresses the danger of cutting back on long-term investment in nursing during a time of short-term economic pressure.
The new RCN manifesto sets out six priorities for nursing in the lead up to the general election.