Most registered nurses are women, but men get better pay, survey finds

The 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report finds a gap between male and female registered nurses, and it is widening.

Even though the vast majority of America’s registered nurses are women, they are lagging behind their male counterparts when it comes to pay.

The Nurse.com 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report, which was released this week, found male registered nurses earn about $14,000 than women. The median salary for male registered nurses was $90,000, compared to $76,000 for female registered nurses.

The gender gap in pay for registered nurses is growing. In last year’s survey, male registered nurses were paid $7,297 more than women.

The report is based on survey responses from 2,500 nurses from around the country. The nurses were surveyed between mid-November through mid-December 2021.

Nearly 87% of all registered nurses in America are female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Male registered nurses could be getting a higher pay due to their clinical settings, certifications, or because they specialize in certain areas with higher pay, the report stated.

Additionally, the survey found 40% of male registered nurses said they negotiated their salary regularly, while 31% female nurses said they routinely pushed for better pay.

“Given the current demand for nurses and the commitment by many healthcare organizations to invest in their core nursing staff as the pandemic wanes, nurses are well-positioned to negotiate better salaries,” the report stated.

Some women nurses earned a bit more than men, according to the survey.

Among advanced practice registered nurses (ARPNs), women were paid $122,000, while men received $120,000. Female licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs and LVNs) were paid $48,000, while men earned $45,000.

Across all practices, male nurses typically worked 39 hours per week, plus five hours of overtime. Females worked an average of 37 hours per week, along with four hours of overtime.

Here are some other highlights of the nursing report.

Nurses’ salaries are rising

The median salary for all registered nurses rose to $78,000, up from $73,000 in the previous year.

Other types of nurses are seeing boosts in pay. APRNs received a median pay of $120,000, an increase of $13,000, while LPNs and LVNs saw a bump of $3,000, lifting their median pay to $48,000.

Nurses ponder career changes

Previous studies have found nurses are considering walking away due to the stress of the pandemic, and the new report echoes some earlier studies and polls. The survey found 29% of respondents said they were thinking of leaving nursing, up from 11% the previous year. In addition, 17% said they were thinking of switching employers.

More than one in four nurses (28%) said they have changed settings. Of those who moved to a new setting, the most common reason was dissatisfaction with management (41%), followed close behind by better pay (38%). Rounding out the top five: lower risk to mental health (33%), more flexible hours (32%), and lower risk to physical health (27%).

Experience dropping

The average years of experiences among some nurses has dropped, perhaps a reflection of the number of nurses leaving the profession due to the stress of the pandemic.

The average registered nurse has 22.5 years of experience, down from 26 years in the last report. The average APRN has 23.5 years, compared to 28 years in the prior survey. For LPNs and LVNs, the average (19.3 years) remained consistent compared to last year.

Healthcare leaders have said they are struggling with the shortage of nurses, with some leaving the profession or opting to take more lucrative jobs as travel nurses.

Some nurses say health systems need to do better by increasing pay, offering more flexible hours and giving nurses a safer, more supportive workplace.