Salary data was gathered from Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning study of 4,500 nurses
In a profession dominated by women, men in nursing earn more than $6,000 more a year than their female counterparts, according to a Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning survey of more than 4,500 nurses across the country.
The Nursing Salary Research Report, which included registered nurses from all 50 states, showed men earn an average of $79,688 compared to $73,090 for women. Men make up almost 12% of the U.S. nursing workforce.
“Even taking into account total hours worked, years of nursing experience, age, education level and certification status, men still are making more money than women,” said Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning’s Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Executive, Healthcare. “And from our robust research, salary is the most important job factor for nurses across all demographics.”
Reaction to salary gap
The fact that men earn higher salaries is something Brent MacWilliams, PhD, MSN, RN, APNP, APN-BC, president of the American Association for Men in Nursing, would like to see change.
“Traditionally, men have gravitated toward acute care, high-paid specialties and to management/administration, which are all higher paying,” he said. “Based on this survey, it seems clear men are being paid significantly more than women in the profession doing comparable work. I would call on employers to assess their current workforce for gender gaps and raise salaries to create parity.”
Negotiation is key
One important aspect of earnings is men are more likely to negotiate their salaries, the survey found. While 43% of men “most of the time or always” negotiate, only 34% of women do so.
“This could account for higher salaries for men in nursing, as well as other professions,” Hess said.
Millicent Gorham, MBA, FAAN, executive director of the National Black Nurses Association, said closing the pay gap is critical.
“I want to see an equitable solution,” she said. “My main takeaway from this survey is that women need to learn to negotiate for everything.”
Fifty percent of overall respondents said pursuing higher education, certification or training to boost salary was a consideration or goal.
“It is heartening that the survey found many nurses are planning on pursuing higher levels of education, which is what the Institute of Medicine called for in its 2010 report on the future of nursing,” said Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior vice president and director, AARP Public Policy Institute and chief strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America. “Research has linked greater levels of education for nurses with safer, high-quality care. Higher degrees also give nurses more career choices and can lead to better-paying jobs.”
Attaining professional certifications is one way female nurses can close the salary gap. Survey results showed men with specialty certifications had a salary only $1,252 higher than certified female nurses.
The survey data, which was analyzed by a doctorally-prepared nurse, was made available to registered nurses via an email campaign and social media posts. The overall audience sample is representative of each state’s percentage of RNs compared to the overall U.S. nursing workforce.
The survey has a 95% confidence interval and a 1.5% margin of error on its sample size.
Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning publishes a popular blog, along with relevant nursing content in its award-winning digital publications and various nursing survey studies annually. This content is shared with a social media audience of more than 550,000 followers.