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Male Nurses Make More Money: Isn’t it normal and natural?

Hospital patients are more likely than ever to see a male nurse at their bedside — and odds are he earns more than the female nurse down the hall.

Men made up close to 10% of all registered nurses in 2011, according to a new Census report released today. That may not sound like much, but it’s up from less than 3% in 1970 and less than 8% in 2000.

Women still dominate nursing in terms of employment — but not in terms of earnings. The average female nurse earned $51,100 in 2011, 16% less than the $60,700 earned by the average man in the same job.

Ben Casselman posted in Real Time Economics (The Wall Street Journal)

It’s no mystery what is drawing men into nursing. Male-dominated professions such as construction and manufacturing hemorrhaged jobs during the recession and have been slow to rebound during the recovery.

The health-care sector, meanwhile, actually added jobs during the recession and has continued to grow since. All told, health-care employment is up by nearly 1.4 million since the recession began, while employment in the construction and manufacturing sectors is down by nearly 3.6 million.

Education and health workers have an unemployment rate of 5.4%, versus 7.9% for factory workers and 16.1% for construction workers.

The difference in earnings is partly due to the fact that men were more likely than women to work full-time. When looking only at full-time, year-round workers, the gap narrows, but it doesn’t disappear; female nurses working full-time, year-round earned 9% less than their male counterparts.

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Part of the reason, the Census study suggests, is a previously documented phenomenon known as the “glass escalator” in which men earn higher wages and faster promotions in female-dominated professions.

In nursing, men are more concentrated in the highest-earning segments of the field. They make up 41% of nurse anesthetists, who earn nearly $148,000 on average, but only 8% of licensed practical nurses, who make just $35,000.

Even within a given field, men tend to earn more.

Among full-time, year-round registered nurses, women earned 7% less than men in 2011. The study’s authors note, however, that the wage gap is smaller in nursing than in the economy as a whole, where women earn on average 77 cents to the dollar, according to the Census report.

Men also appear to have an easier time getting hired, although the high demand for nurses means unemployment rates are low across categories — less than 2% for registered nurses, and even lower for more advanced professionals. Among licensed practical nurses, the only category with meaningful levels of unemployment, men had an unemployment rate of 4%, versus 5.1% for women.

Male nurses are more likely than female nurses to:

1.  Have a doctoral degree.

2. More likely to work evening or night shifts, and

3. More likely to be immigrants.

Female nurses are more likely to work in doctor’s offices or schools, and are far more likely to be over age 65 — a reflection of nursing’s status as a female-dominated profession until recently.

But overall, male and female nurses are demographically similar. The typical nurse of either sex is between age 35 and 54, has some college or a bachelor’s degree and works for a private-sector hospital.

Anouk: Nurse (by Anna Gavalda)

Anouk was very beautiful; she got pregnant early on in her youth with a musician who did the disappearing act.  Anouk had to raise Alexis and worked as a nurse in a hospital in Paris.

She worked as nurse most of her life and served in all the difficult units or services, especially the terminally ill patients.  The administration upgraded her position to supervisor in chief.

Anouk was not into administration paperwork, since she preferred to tend directly patients instead of paperwork, assigning and scheduling nurses and functions.

Anouk’s motto was: “Patients are forbidden to die on my watch“.  She uplifted their morale, made the sick cry and laugh; she hugged them and touched them.

After her formal service hours, she would lightly paint her eyes, lips, do her hair and wear nice dresses and then visit with patients who are discarded by their relatives and never received visits.  It was Anouk’s way of giving patients the sense of being with family.  In short, all the behaviors that nurses are not permitted to do with patients or frowned at by management.

Nurse Anouk was untouchable in the hospital:  She was the best of nurses.  What she lacked in medical knowledge she compensated by her extreme attention to her patients.  She was the first to notice the slightest changes in patients’ behavior and to perceive the tiniest symptoms.  And best, she had this extraordinary instinct to what’s going wrong.

During their daily rounds on patients, physicians and surgeons lent particular ears to Anouk’s comments and feedback. Nobody in the hospital or the patients resisted to Anouk:  She imposed respect by her tenderness, compassion and professionalism.

Anouk knew the names, faces, and stories of her patients; she knew their families and befriended their family members.  Anouk told lots of stories, imagined plenty of stories, invented stuff of wonderful concerts she attended, famous and glamorous people she met and befriended.

New nurse recruits adored her and aided them in their first contacts with patients.  At night fall, when every nurse and employee is totally tired they could hear Anouk’s laughing and crying with patients.  Older nurses knew that Anouk was indeed doing her best to amusing and lightening her heavy life.  Probably, she gave life to patients because she had no life after her service hours.

Once, Anouk’s neighbor lady gave her a plant.  The next week, Anouk returned the gift crying profusely:  Anouk was used to seeing many patients die but she could not bear experiencing a plant eventually die, out of her watch.

Alexis turned out to be a musician too and he was addicted to all kinds of drugs. Professional Anouk did not suspect that Alexis got into hard drugs since she was not in frequent touch with him and he had moved out from home.

One morning, emergency called Anouk and informed her that Alexis is succumbing to a overdose and is showing early signs of AIDS.  Something snapped in Anouk.  She became an automaton, a machine delivering smiles but she was still being obeyed.  Anouk quit her supervisory function to finding the best medical treatment to her unique son.

Later, Anouk would resign from the hospital when she realized that she was totally alone and everybody in her family had left her or quit on her; she wanted to take the initiative this time around:  It would have too hard to be retired from the hospital, the only real home of hers.

Note:  This story is part of the French book “La Consolante” (the rematch) by Anna Gavalda.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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