Head of nursing program addresses gender pay gap - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Head of nursing program addresses gender pay gap

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Women continue to dominate men in the nursing profession, but men are on top when it comes to salaries.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found on average in 2013, male nurses made $70,000 while female nurses earned $60,000.

To make up for differences in experience, location and nursing specialty, the study decided there's a $5,000 pay gap for the genders in nursing.

"I think if you look at all professions, regardless of whether it's nursing or education, men are typically offered a higher salary," said Dr. Deborah Hopla, director for the Master of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner program at Francis Marion University.

Dr. Hopla said she has heard about unfair reasons for men being granted higher salaries.

"One of the things he got told at his interview is he would make more money because he was expected to lift more and that is very sexist and very biased and we're trying to fix that problem," she said.

FMU is striving to increase its male representation and break stereotypes in nursing classes. 

Nationally, 10 percent of all nurses are men. At FMU, 12 percent of undergraduate and 16 percent of graduate nursing students are male.

"Men are given too often the title that they're not caring and that's not true," Dr. Hopla said. "If you find men coming into the nursing program, those men are very caring and that's one of the reasons they want to come is because they do care."

Dr. Hopla said bringing more men into nursing can be beneficial for all nurses' salaries because it can raise the overall salary higher.

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