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  • Male nurses earn more than female nurses

    Author: Karen Keast

Male nurses are earning an average of $5100 more a year than female nurses despite working in a female-dominated profession, according to new research to come out of the United States.

A study of 290,000 registered nurses spanning 25 years, published in The Journal of American Medicine Association, shows pay inequality is rife in nursing with male nurses taking home larger earnings across practice settings, positions and specialties, except in orthopaedics.

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The United States is home to more than two million registered nurses and about 10 per cent of those are men. In 2013, the average salary for male nurses was about US$70,000 and was US$60,000 for women.

In Australia, the overall gender pay gap stands at 18.8 per cent, with a man working full-time earning $1587.40 a week compared to a woman working full-time earning $1289.30 a week - a difference of $298.10 a week.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows women working in the health care and social assistance sector were earning 29.1 per cent less than men in 2014.


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In the US study, researchers examined full-time employed registered nurses working 50 or more weeks a year, including 35 hours or more each week, and considered factors including age, location, marital status, race and children.

They analysed salaries from 1988 to 2013 using nationally representative data from the quadrennial National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, which included 87,903 registered nurses, and data from the American Community Survey, including 205,825 registered nurses.

Both surveys showed male nurses were taking home higher salaries every year, with male nurses taking home between $3800 to $17,000 more than female nurses each year, and an overall adjusted earnings difference of $5148.

The pay gap was $7678 for outpatient settings and $3873 for hospital settings and ranged from $3792 in the practice area of chronic care to $6034 for cardiology.

It found a $4000 pay gap also existed in middle management positions while nurse anaesthetists experienced the largest pay gap of about $17,000.

While the study did not explain the pay gap, the authors said the results could motivate nurse employers, including physicians, to examine their pay structures and “act to eliminate inequalities”.

“The roles of RNs are expanding with implementation of the Affordable Care Act and emphasis on team-based care delivery,” they stated.

“A salary gap by gender is especially important in nursing because this profession is the largest in health care and is predominantly female, affecting approximately 2.5 million women.”

Click here for more information about nursing salaries in Australia.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords