With millennials poised to become the largest generation in nursing by 2020, how they address important issues, such as wages, shared governance and career advocacy, could have a major impact on the nursing profession.
Smith, a millennial nurse himself and clinical senior documentation analyst for Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, interviewed Hess for the AAMN’s Facebook Live show, “The Nurse’s Station.”
Hess, executive vice president and chief clinical executive for Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning, spoke to Smith about the gender wage gap and the recent results of2018 Nurse.com
“We have substantiated that there’s still a significant gender gap in salaries in nursing that in 2018, just shouldn’t be there,” Hess told Smith during the interview. “I think we’re coming in to a time where we’re going to be rectifying that or have players coming into the nursing profession who are going to be able to remedy that. That’s good news.”
Watch this Facebook Live video:
Why is there a nursing gender pay gap?
Hess said the report found men in nursing make $6,000 more than women, partly because of certain behavioral factors. For example, he said, men tend to negotiate salaries more than women.
“We found 43% of men negotiate their salaries when they interview for a job or promotion, as opposed to 34% of women,” Hess said. “We didn’t ask if the negotiations were successful, we just asked the question.”
Still, not negotiating could play a role over time, Hess said. Men in the U.S. also don’t feel the same pressure women do to take breaks in their careers for family and other issues, he said.
“Men tend to start a career and work until they retire, while women sometimes stop and start their careers to have children,” he said. “It’s not as popular here as it is in Europe for men to take time off for child rearing.”
Another reason for career breaks is men often are still viewed as the main breadwinners, Hess said. He pointed out that about 70% of female nurses are married and have significant others.
“Female nurses who are married tend to, I believe, speak of their incomes as secondary incomes,” Hess said. “When the unemployment rate goes up and the primary breadwinner loses their job the secondary income person kicks in and works full time or ups their hours and it seems that when the unemployment goes down and the primary breadwinners are back to work, the secondary income is not as important anymore, because it’s secondary. I think that fosters less hours or breaks in career that might lend itself to less salary.”
As the next generation takes the helm, Hess praised millennials as the group willing to lead in shared governance and maintaining strong careers.
“The group that thinks they have the most say and the most influence in professional governance is the millennials,” Hess said. “That to me is just incredibly good news. I tell baby boomers things are going to look up. The torch is going to be carried very well to the finish line by the millennials. That makes me feel very good.”
Watch the full Facebook live video.