A new study found a sizable pay equity gap among nurses. The gap is shortchanging women and minorities, in particular.
According to Nurse.com’s 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report, the median salary for a registered nurse identifying as male was $90,000 compared to $76,000 for registered nurses identifying as female. The $14,000 gap was nearly double the $7,200 gap back in 2020.
The survey also found nurses who identified as Black, African American, American Indian or Alaska Native reported the lowest levels of satisfaction with their current salary. Those nurses reported working the longest hours, with Black and African Americans working the most overtime hours.
The dissatisfaction with pay could be a contributing factor to the number of nurses considering changing jobs or leaving the profession altogether. Nearly half of the nurses polled said they were open to new opportunities and nearly a third said they planned to leave nursing for another field. That was a sizable increase to the 18% who said they planned to leave the profession in 2020.
Nurse.com polled more than 2,500 nurses between November and December of 2021 for the study. That was during the omicron surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent a flood of patients to hospitals across the U.S. Throughout the pandemic, nurses have reported burnout and growing anxiety in their jobs. In a study published in Sage Open Nursing last month, nurses from across the country told researchers they felt moral distress in the early days of the pandemic and were overwhelmed by the severity of their patients’ illnesses.
The studies come at a time when healthcare providers, including home health and hospice agencies, are struggling to hire nurses and other caregivers. The healthcare industry is still short 250,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.