HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Anyone who’s watched the “Meet the Fockers” movies knows a running joke in the films is that Ben Stiller’s character is a male nurse.
Men only make up roughly seven percent of the 2.5 million registered nurses in America, yet the majority are laughing all the way to the bank. With America’s health care system likely to have another adjustment period under the new federal administration, nurses may be impacted the most because they make up the majority of service providers.
Betsy Snook, CEO of Pennsylvania State Nurse Association, said the advocacy group believes there should be equality in the workplace, including nursing.
“We support equal pay for men and women in the same type of job,” she said.
The Journal of American Medicine Association conducted an analysis of 88,000 registered nurses from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses from 1988 to 2008, as well as 205,000 RNs from the 2001 to 2013 American Community Surveys. In every year, male RNs made more than women in every year.
The wage gap was anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000. The study pointed to an adjusted wage gap of $5,100 overall.
The 2015 National Nursing Workforce Study pointed out the current gap is about $8,000, with men earning an average salary of $72,000 and women earning $64,000.
Snook said factors for the gap include women leaving the workforce to have babies only to return with the same or lower wages. She also believes the numbers can be skewed as many female nurses work part-time for family reasons where men typically work full-time and overtime.
She also said men typically have higher education and can be more aggressive during negotiations.
Researchers also pointed out that a majority of nurse managers are women.
“I recommend that our nurses do a better job at negotiating their salaries,” Snook said.
This was dubbed as the “glass escalator” for men, gliding to the top without climbing the ladder.
“Would we like to see it be different?” Snook questioned. “Yes, we would.”
Pennsylvania has 220,000 registered nurses earning an average salary of $66,000. But, according to Snook’s knowledge and lack of available information online, there doesn’t seem to be a baseline study statewide.
“At this time, as far as I know, there have been no studies done at the state level,” she said.