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Even In Female Dominated Nursing, Men Earn More

March 24, 2015

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

male female nurse 570The report in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association found that even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing out-earned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

Even as men flowed into nursing over the past decades, the pay gap did not narrow over the years studied: 1988 to 2013.

According to the Census Bureau, men made up about 9 percent of registered nurses in 2011, roughly a three-fold increase from 1970. And even though men were not permitted in nursing programs at some schools until the 1980s, they have overall earned more, just as in society at large.

The biggest disparity was for nurse anesthetists, with men earning $17,290 more.

Ulrike Muench of the University of California-San Francisco, the study’s lead author, said in an interview that the data do not suggest why men earn more, although “some have suggested men have better negotiating skills” and are able to start out earning higher salaries.

Jennifer Stewart, who oversees nursing and other workforce issues at the health research group The Advisory Board, agrees that’s one possibility. “Also maybe some gender discrimination,” she adds.

Salary Gaps Between Male And Female Registered Nurses

  • Hospital
  • Ambulatory
  • Medical/surgical
  • Neurology
  • Newborn/ pediatrics
  • Chronic care
  • Orthopedics
  • Psychiatry
  • Cardiology
  • Other
  • Staff nurse
  • Advanced clinical
  • Advanced practice
  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Education/ research
  • Senior academic
  • Middle management
  • Senior administrator
  • Other


Figures are in 2013 dollars. Lighter bars indicate margin of error (at a 95 percent confidence interval).