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Do male nurses make more than female nurses? Inside the pay gap

Glenn Fletcher, an operating room nurse and former lumber mill worker, in Mount Vernon, Wash., Nov. 15, 2017. “Walk around our hospital and all the call lights have pictures of females on them. I guess it was never thought of at the time that there might be a guy in here some day,” said Fletcher of being a male nurse.

Nursing has traditionally been a female-dominated industry, but the percentage of male nurses has increased to about 13%. It may be reasonable to assume that male nurses are paid the same as women, but this isn't necessarily the case.

As with many other industries, nursing has a pay gap between men and women. Healthleadersmedia.com cited a Nursing Salary Research Report that found men who are nurses make, on average, at least $6,000 more per year than their female counterparts.

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What causes the pay gap?

The pay gap between male and female nurses may be caused by some of the following factors:

Men are more likely to negotiate their salaries.

About 43% of men negotiate their salaries all the time or most of the time, while only 34% of women do, according to Healthcare IT News. A higher negotiated salary when you're hired also means that when you get the same percentage raise as your co-worker a year or so into your career, the dollar amount of your raise will be more and will continue to be more in future years.

Men tend to gravitate toward higher-paying specialties.

Men have traditionally been more likely to specialize in areas such as acute care, which pay more than many other specialties, Health IT News said.

Men seem to go for higher education programs.

More men choose RN programs over LPN programs, and they also choose BSN programs more than an RN diploma or ADN program, according to scrubsmag.com. These programs typically result in higher salaries.

Men may be more likely to work extra shifts or overtime.

Scrubsmag.com said that women who work full-time may still be primarily responsible for family issues. As a result, male nurses who have partners may be more likely — and able — to work extra shifts or overtime.

Men tend to move up the career ladder faster.

Men in female-dominated professions such as nursing are often promoted at a faster rate than women in the same profession, according to Forbes.com. As a result, you may see men disproportionally represented in high-paying senior management jobs. This may be because women are more likely to take time off to care for children or aging parents, as well as the fact that stereotypes may assume that men are well-suited to leadership roles.

What can women do to narrow the gap?

The following actions may help women narrow the pay gap:

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