(HealthDay News) — Male nurses in the United States make more than females, and the pay gap has not narrowed in 25 years, according to a research letter published in the March 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an effort to determine salary trends among registered nurses (RNs), Ulrike Muench, Ph.D., R.N., of the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing, and colleagues examined national data gathered from 293,728 RNs between 1988 and 2013. Seven percent of the nurses were men.

The analysis showed that male RN salaries were higher than female RN salaries every year, with an overall annual difference of $5,148. The salary gap was $7,678 in ambulatory care and $3,873 in hospitals, the investigators found. The wage discrepancy — found in all specialties except orthopedics — ranged from $3,792 in chronic care to $6,034 in cardiology. The researchers also found male-female RN salary gaps in different positions, such as middle management and nurse anesthetists. The researchers noted that male-female salary gaps have narrowed in many other occupations since the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

“The roles of RNs are expanding with implementation of the Affordable Care Act and emphasis on team-based care delivery. A salary gap by gender is especially important in nursing because this profession is the largest in health care and is predominantly female, affecting approximately 2.5 million women,” the authors write. “These results may motivate nurse employers, including physicians, to examine their pay structures and act to eliminate inequities.”

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