It would seem impossible for men in a profession dominated by women to be paid more than their female colleagues. Yet registered male nurses earn thousands of dollars more a year than women in that very vital health care profession, a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.
Half of the difference can be explained by such things as education, clinical specialty and experience, which leaves a $5,148 annual salary difference separating men and women as nurses, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ulrike Muench, a nurse practitioner with a doctorate from Yale who studies nursing, was the study leader.
Nurses annually earn an average of $66,973. The $5,148 more per year that male nurses make, gives them an 8 percent pay advantage over women. Researchers in the study said that about 2.5 million women and the families they support are being shortchanged.
This study should prod hospitals and other health care outlets that employ nurses to immediately and thoroughly audit their operations and make needed corrections where they find pay disparities. A strong unified nursing staff is the backbone of good patient care. Pay differences only weaken the cohesion needed for good health care.
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The study looked at 20 years 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 registered nurses nationwide.
The study sample included responses from 87,903 full-time registered nurses — 93 percent are women.