Wage Gap in Nursing

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Have you ever had to be admitted into a hospital? Did anyone there check your vitals, give you a shot, or ask you about your medical history? Chances are that every single one of those people were nurses. That is because nurses are so important to making hospitals run. They heavily assist the doctors and PA’s and are the backbone to keeping hospitals up and running. That is also why so many nurses are working at one time compared to doctors in hospitals and private practices. This dynamic between nurses, doctors and the rest of the medical team ensure that patients are well taken care of. With all that being said, nursing isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of patience, focus and a great attention to detail. “They “??¦assist persons to achieve their optimum level of health, illness, injury, or in the process of dying” (Canadian Nurses Association, p. 8)”

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A big problem in the nursing profession is how much lower female nurses are paid compared to male nurses for doing the same job. In medicine, the wage gap still exists in most cases even though more women are nurses than men. The amount of nurses will continue to decline as long as this issue continues.

Nursing is a high in demand profession mainly because it holds an array of benefits that most can probably agree are hard to find in other precarious fields. Nursing is known to provide financial security and long-term employment with extra opportunities. Nurses also have the luxury of having flexible schedules and being able to pick and choose through many different shifts. Even though nursing is a high sought out profession, it is known to be made up of more women than male.

The medical field is an ideal field to pursue. Choosing a profession straight out of college that is going to maximize your earnings as a woman is great step. Within the medical career there are various percentages found for the wage gap depending on your specific field. Most men in medical fields make about 14 percent more than their female counterparts. You could say that wage gap in medical fields is not that much, but when added up that comes out to be about a dollar to every 86 cents that a female makes. On average, a man in the medical field will make around $48.23 per hour whereas the female counterpart only makes somewhere around $42.02 per hour. (Breede et al. 2011) The difference seen between the pay wage of female and male nurses is fairly significant seeing as nursing is already a weighing profession. This comes out to being that male nurses make more than $5,000 a year more than than their female counterparts for working the exact same hours and doing the exact same tasks during the work day. Although the wage gap within many different profession has definitely decreased since 1963 when the Equal Pay act passed which is a step in the right direction, unfortunately, has not improved in medicine. Fortunately, the wage gap has improved drastically in most professions, but it does however still exist largely in medicine/nursing. Because the majority of nurses are female, it’s crazy that a small amount of nurses currently working are making about $5,000 more than the majority of nurses. Because nursing is the most popular field within the medical field to go into and the majority are in fact female, the wage gap affects approximately 2.5 women in the nation.

It is hard to understand why wage gaps still exist in this day and age. The same amount of education is required from both male and female. Males do no get seperate or a higher degree of education in order to work in their desired field. In 2008, it had been shown that there was over 3,000,000 nurses that were accredited and registered, however still, out of 3,000,000 nurses, 6.6% of that variety were male (“Men In Nursing Entering”). More recently in 2011 another statistic showed a gradual rise in this number to 9.6%. Some attest to the fact that male nurses make more money due to the lower number of them there are to female nurses.

The wage gap has always been in existence and has no sign of improvements in the right direction yet. The best way to get information out there so people are aware of this issue is to openly discuss it. A great number of private sector workers say they are prohibited from talking about their salary rates so that the issue doesn’t come to light but more often than not men are benefited more than women and women are overlooked. The best way for there to be a topic of discussion brought up about it is for more women to come out and discuss it with their employers. Men are more known to go for what they want in the workplace. They’re more aggressive with asking about pay raises and moving up from their current status whereas women are often not as aggressive with their conversations. Besides that, more often than not men tend to come out more successful than women when hustling for their pay.

According to Joanne Spetz, “labor-market shortages are self-correcting; wage increase will bring labor markets into equilibrium, and policy intervention is not necessary” (Spetz, 199). It’s unfortunate because nursing is such a great field to go into for some reasons, but recently there has been an alarming shortage increase for a while now due to growing knowledge of the wage gap and low pay that also doesn’t have a solution in progress and isn’t talked about. Researchers are projecting that by the year of 2020 the shortage could be as low as 800,000 dollars which is significantly lower than it once was. (Spetz, 199) In order to counteract this shortage, hospitals and clinics are trying to combat it by offering a higher starting salary of 5.7 percent and other benefits as well. All of these new bonuses are set in place in order to attract new hires. A shortage in nurses is a major dilemma for hospitals because nurses are a vital part to the medical process so therefore a shortage of them is a huge problem.

The wage gap is such a old way of thinking. The wage gap should not be in existence anymore because it simply doesn’t make any sense. No company has been able to give a reason for why the pay isn’t equal. It is not morally correct and sets up men to live a more comfortable life than women for doing the same job. It almost makes it seem that women are being punished simply just for being a woman. Imagine doing the exact same job everyday as somebody else you work beside and they are able to afford more luxury and just overall live life a more comfortably than you can just purely based on their gender.

Another reason why I think the wage gap should be closed is because I think the reason we are losing so many nurses is not only because of burn out, but also because of pay. When nurses experience burnout and want to quit, I believe they would be less willing to get out of the profession completely if they were making a paycheck that they felt they deserve. Even nurses that are not aware of the male/female wage gap could still feel like they are not making enough for it to be worth their time. We are losing so many nurses and the nursing shortage will only continue to grow if morale continues to decrease among nurses. I think that having larger wages will benefit workers and keep them wanting to work and the first step could be closing the wage gap completely. Without this change in wages, there will be less nurses overall and that means more work for the nurses that are there which will cause the remaining nurses to burn out quicker which will cause more nurses to leave and that cycle will continue unless there is change. Nurses either leave the profession due to burn out or due to low wages or both so this needs to be fixed fast so we do not lose any more wonderful nurses because they do not feel appreciated. It is completely clear to most people that the job that nurses do every day is hard and stressful, yet students still continue to want to study medicine and ultimately be part of this career because it is so rewarding. Nurses love their job and their patients and that is what they are there for. Without that love, they would never have gone to school to become a nurse in the first place, but there is only so much they can put up with before they leave and for some of them, the wage gap is too belittling to put up with.

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Wage Gap in Nursing. (2021, Apr 10). Retrieved June 26, 2022 , from
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