Racism among Nurses: Records Show Pay Disparities

Racism among Nurses: Records Show Pay Disparities
Racism among Nurses: Records Show Pay Disparities
December 27, 2016

Looking at the profession of the nurses from a distance, one might consider it a profession of nobleness and unity, judging from their white gown which makes them uniform. However, a 2007 survey which studied the wages of close to 3000 nurses in New York City revealed that their only uniformity may be limited to their uniforms. The wide difference in pay will shock you too.

Salary disparities exist in all workforce

It is a well-known fact that salary disparities always exists with respect to ethnicity and race in all workforce. For a long time, it has been believed, through conventional reasoning, that such inequality is minimal in the nursing profession, probably because of the cyclical shortage of staff witnessed in this sector, which, of course, would suggest that minorities would have a higher chance of being treated to a level playing ground.

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Years of experience are undermined by race in the nursing profession

There is always a great emphasis on years of experience in the nursing field. The conventional reasoning is that higher years of experience can guarantee you a better position, likewise better pay. On the contrary, the experience, in reality, is that years of experience were worth nothing to minorities like it was to the whites.

African-American nurses earn one-third of what their white counterparts earn

If the credibility of the study which was carried out in New York – a highly racially diverse city – holds some credibility, then the leaders of the healthcare industry need to be on their toes to forestall future shortage in the population of nurses. The report revealed that minority nurses earned $6000 less than the whites while African-American nurses earned $3000 less. The reason for this was hinged on the value placed on their qualifications.

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The areas where nurses work accounts for the disparity in pay

Generally, minority nurses choose to work within their own communities which earn less as a whole. They work in community health care centers and public hospitals rather than having a place in the private hospitals. This is a valid reason for disparity but only accounts for half of the entire story.

The research had a few limitations which may mar its credibility

Those that argued about the credibility of the research finding on the disparity of pay of nurses said the report was not solid enough to be taken to the bank or lawyer because the number of nurses the study covered (3000) was not large enough to be a representative figure. They also claimed participation was voluntary and that they did not consider overtime pay.

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Hospitals have denied discrimination in pay based on race

When the first report by the researchers was first published in 2008, a lot of hospitals came out openly to disown discrimination in pay based on race saying there was no truth in it. One of the chiefs of nursing in New York City said that presumption that wage differences are based on race is totally untrue because the nurses were unionized, making the difference almost impossible.

Limitations in the study have made it difficult for healthcare leaders to respond

The aforementioned limitations burdening the research have been linked to the silence of the healthcare leaders from addressing the issue. Healthcare leaders acknowledged that they have seen the report but noted that without specific data from specific hospitals, it will be difficult make a case of discrimination based on race.

Future research needs to focus on hospital-specific data

In addition, they suggest that the researchers, in the future survey, should focus on certain hospitals because it will help to differentiate cases of nurses who had personal issues with their organization from general racial discrimination.

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Article highlights

  • The reason for pay disparity among nurses needs to be further investigated.
  • Pay disparity based on races may lead further depletion of nurses.
  • The nurse profession used to be considered a neutral field devoid of racism.
  • The uniform worn by nurses is an attempt to unify them.
  • Salary disparities are common in all workforces based on ethnicity.
  • A research linked the disparity in the pay of nurses to the value placed on their certificates.
  • Research says that years of experience are not as important as ethnicity in determining a nurse’s earning.
  • Nurses who work in their local communities tend to earn less than those who work for private.
  • Small sample size and volunteer cases are the shortcoming of the racism in nursing research.
  • Different hospital managements have come out to disown the report as false.

Related posts:

  1. Why Education of Nurses should be Taken Seriously
  2. Nurses- a Great Asset in Bringing Down the Health Care Costs

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