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More Male Nurses, But Wage Disparity Persists

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 28, 2013

"I wouldn't pin it on one thing," Landivar says. "You can look at education. You can look at work hours. You can look at industry. Women are more likely to be in elementary and secondary schools and less likely to be in hospitals," which tend to pay more.

Landivar says men are more likely to acquire professional or doctorate degrees and to gravitate towards higher-paying specialties. For example, only 1% of employed nurses in the United States are nurse anesthetists, yet 41% of them are men. The specialty pays, on average, $162,900.

While the census study does not look specifically at family demands as a factor in the pay disparities, Landivar says there are numerous studies that suggest that women with children are more likely to work fewer hours and don't have the schedule flexibility of their male colleagues.

The study also found that:

  • There were 3.5 million employed nurses in 2011, about 3.2 million of whom were female and 330,000 male.
  • Unemployment was lowest among nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists—about 0.8% for both. For registered nurses and licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses unemployment was 1.8% and 4.3%, respectively.
  • Of the employed nurses (both sexes), 78% were registered nurses, 19% were licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, 3% were nurse practitioners, and 1% were nurse anesthetists.
  • While 72% of registered nurses (both sexes) left home for work between 5 a.m. and noon, 19% worked the evening or night shifts.
  • 64% of registered nurses (both sexes) worked in hospitals, and 30% of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses worked in nursing care facilities or hospitals.
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5 comments on "More Male Nurses, But Wage Disparity Persists"


Chris (3/7/2013 at 1:26 PM)
Men are more likely to negotiate calary than women, often the first offer from an employer is accepted by women, but men are more likely to ask for for money.

claudia (3/5/2013 at 5:04 PM)
My experience in working with male nurses is that they are: 1) More likely to work overtime than female nurses 2) More likely to work full time than part time 3) More likely to work at a second nursing job 4) More likely to seek out career advancement opportunities Given these, when I see these studies showing male nurses earn more than female nurses, I always wonder if they are comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges. Sure, it is likely that 2 med surg nurses, one male and one female, with the same education and level of experience are earning the same rate, but is the number of hours worked the same?

Lois (3/4/2013 at 10:20 AM)
That is true John. There is something missing that they did not measure. Perhaps it was the type of job or position or seniority level.