Exploring Explanations for the Female-Male Earnings Difference Among Registered Nurses in the United States


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Abstract

Executive Summary▸ Research has shown male registered nurses (RNs) outearn their female colleagues by approximately $5,000 annually.▸ The aim of this study was to explore differences in characteristics of female and male fulltime employed RNs, and to examine whether these differences help account for the female-male earnings gap in nursing.▸ Specifically, the researchers tested whether the gender earnings gap could be explained by differences in career aspiration, workplace experience, time taken out of the labor force for child-rearing, and physical strength.▸ While some evidence suggested motivational differences in career aspirations between female and male RNs exist, evidence supporting other hypotheses was not found.▸ Given the expansion of nurses’ roles in health care delivery, serious deliberations of how to respond to the earnings gap in nursing is warranted.

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