PAY GAP: Is a male nurse worth $5,148 more than a female nurse?

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A new report shows that male nurses make nearly $11,000 more than female nurses, yet only about half of that can be attributed to education, work experience and clinical specialty. The remaining $5,148 can really only be explained through discrimination in pay. 

From the LA Times article, which was republished by the News and Observer,

Registered nurses who are male earn nearly $11,000 more per year than RNs who are female, new research shows. Only about half of that difference can be explained by factors like education, work experience and clinical specialty.

That leaves a $5,148 annual salary gap that effectively discriminates against women, who make up the vast majority of the nursing workforce, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

With nurses earning an average of $66,973 per year, that $5,148 amounts to an 8 percent bump in pay for men.

Approximately 2.5 million women – and the families they support – are being shortchanged by the gender-based pay difference, say the researchers who conducted the study.

“Given the large numbers of women employed in nursing, gender pay differences affect a sizable part of the population,” said study leader Ulrike Muench, a nurse practitioner with a Ph.D. from Yale who studies nursing, health policy and health care economics at UC San Francisco.

“We hope that our results will bring awareness to this important topic,” she said in a statement.

Muench and her colleagues examined two decades’ worth of salary information from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Before the survey ended in 2008, it collected data once every four years from more than 30,000 RNs across the country. Altogether, the study sample included responses from 87,903 full-time RNs, 93 percent of whom were women. 


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