An analysis of the trends in RNs’ salaries in the U.S. from 1988 through 2013 found that male RNs outearned female RNs across settings, specialties and positions, with no narrowing of the pay gap over time, according to a study in the March 24/31 issue of JAMA.
Studies have documented higher salaries for male RNs, although analyses have not considered employment factors that could explain salary differences and have not been based on recent data, according to a news release.
Ulrike Muench, PhD, RN, assistant professor, University of California School of Nursing, San Francisco, and colleagues examined salaries of males and females in nursing over time using nationally representative data from the last six (1988-2008) quadrennial National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses and data from the American Community Survey (2001-13).
The NSSRN sample included 87,903 RNs (7% were men) and the ACS sample included 205,825 RNs (10% were men). Both surveys showed that male RN salaries were higher than female RN salaries during every year. No significant changes in female versus male salary were found over time. Analysis estimated an overall adjusted earnings difference of $5,148.
The salary gap was $7,678 for ambulatory care and $3,873 for hospital settings. The gap was present in all specialties except orthopedics, ranging from $3,792 for chronic care to $6,034 for cardiology. Salary differences also existed by position, ranging from $3,956 for middle management to $17,290 for nurse anesthetists.
“The roles of RNs are expanding with implementation of the Affordable Care Act and emphasis on team-based care delivery,” the authors wrote. “A salary gap by gender is especially important in nursing because this profession is the largest in healthcare and is predominantly female, affecting approximately 2.5 million women. These results may motivate nurse employers, including physicians, to examine their pay structures and act to eliminate inequities.”