Male nurses make 7% more than female peers, survey finds

Although only 8 to 10 percent of nurses are male, male nurses make an average 7 percent more than their female peers ($6,000 per year), according to a Medscape report.

Medscape invited U.S. registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and advanced practice registered nurses to participate in an online survey about their annual earnings. More than 5,000 registered nurses completed the survey.

Medscape noted male and female RNs report identical hourly pay rates ($37 for both), with no change from 2016, suggesting higher annual gross incomes for male nurses paid by the hour are not related to a difference in base pay. 

However, since pay rates are usually tied to years of experience and female nurses in the survey said they have practiced for longer, women in nursing should have a higher average hourly pay rate, Medscape notes.

The survey partially attributes the gender wage gap to the finding that male nurses are more likely to work overtime than female nurses and are more likely to work in settings that pay higher wages. 

Here are five other survey findings on registered nurse compensation:

1. Male RNs earned $4,000 more than their female peers in annual income ($84,000 vs. $80,000).  

2. Most RNs (57 percent) said they are paid hourly, while 43 percent are salaried. For nurses paid by the hour, average hourly wages were $37 for full-time employees and $38 for part-time employees.

3. Nurses who work in hospitals, occupational/employee health and industry settings have the highest annual income, at $84,000.

4. Annual gross income for full-time nurses has remained almost unchanged in the last two years, increasing from $80,000 in 2016 to $81,000 in 2017.

5. The survey revealed significant differences in nurse pay by region. Nurses in the Pacific region (California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii) earn an average of $102,000 annually — $33,000 more than those in the East South Central region (Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama), who are paid the lowest ($69,000). 

Editor's note: This story was updated on Oct. 10 at 4:12 p.m. to include more information on the gender wage gap in the survey.

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