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Keywords

human capital, internationally educated nurses, nurse migration

 

Authors

  1. Walani, Salimah R.

Abstract

Background: Internationally educated registered nurses comprise 5.4% of the U.S. nursing workforce. These nurses perceive unequal treatment in the workplace. However, studies comparing their wages to U.S.-educated registered nurses are limited and inconclusive. It is unclear whether there is a wage differential in the U.S. labor market.

 

Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine if there is a difference in the wages of internationally and U.S.-educated nurses and to determine the extent to which the wage gap relates to differences in the human capital, employment, and demographic characteristics of the two groups.

 

Methods: The 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses data were used for this secondary data analysis study. The sample included 988 internationally educated nurses and 21,715 U.S.-educated nurses. Multiple regression and Oaxaca decomposition were used to find predictors of log hourly wages.

 

Results: Internationally educated nurses earned 5% higher log hourly wages, controlling for human capital, employment, and demographic characteristics. Male gender, working in a metropolitan area, hospital job, union representation, higher nursing experience, and higher education exerted significant positive effects on hourly wages. Oaxaca decomposition showed that 67% of the wage differential was because of the differences in the characteristics of two groups.

 

Discussion: If there is any form of discrimination against internationally educated nurses in the United States, it does not translate into wage inequality. Predictors of economic success should be explored in future research.