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Analysis: Study shows male nurses outearn females despite being outnumbered

by AirTalk®

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Family nurse practicioner Julie Klaker gives a sports physical to Brian Aguirre, 16, at the Spanish Peaks Outreach Clinic on August 5, 2009 in Walsenburg, Colorado. John Moore/Getty Images

Even though women make up about 90 percent of the nursing industry, it appears men still bring in more money every year. Nearly $11,000 more per year, to be exact.

What may be even more interesting is that only about half of that difference can be explained by things like experience, education, or clinical specialty. The study suggests that gap of over $5,000 that still exists basically just discriminates against women.

Researchers looked at two decades worth of salary data on nurses’ earnings, and the $10,775 discrepancy the raw analysis found could be seen in surveys going back to 1988. Men still were found to earn more than women even after researchers factored in things like weekly hours worked, location, experience, and type of nursing degree.

Why do male nurses earn considerably more than women? What does the data from this study suggest about labor trends within the nursing industry? How can we close this pay gap between male and female nurses?


Jean Ross, co-president National Nurses United and a nurse for 42 years.

Rosalind Barnett, author of the book “The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of the Female Ascendence is Hurting Women, Men, and Our Economy.” She’s also a senior scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

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