Date of Conferral





Health Services


James Rohrer


Discrimination against immigrants based on country of origin, gender, or race is known to contribute to wage inequality, lower morale, and decrease worker satisfaction. Healthcare leaders are just beginning to study the impact of gender and race on the wages of internationally educated nurses (IENs). Grounded in Becker's theory of discrimination, this cross-sectional study examined nursing wages for evidence of wage inequality among IENs working in the United States using secondary data collected in the 2008 quadrennial National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Ordinary least square regression coupled with the Blinder-Oaxaca wage decomposition was used to analyze the wages of 757 IENs working in the U.S. healthcare system. T tests with effect size were calculated to find the impact of gender, race, and country of education on wage. The study found that white male IENs earned higher wages than all other immigrant groups, followed by nonwhite males and nonwhite females (R2 = .143; F(8,748) = 15.60; p =.000;). White female IENs earned the least, at 80%, 88%, and 91% of wages earned by white male, nonwhite male, and nonwhite female IENs, respectively (p < .005). The relationship between hourly wage and being a white female was negative and statistically significant (p = .006) and white females earned 19.6% less per hour than white male IENs. Working in tertiary care contributed 21.60% of wages for white IENs and 10.30% of wages for nonwhite IENs. Inequality in nursing wages was related to an interaction between race and gender for wages of white female IENs but not in wages for nonwhite female IENs. Results of this study promote positive social change by motivating nursing departments to equalize wages and policymakers to strengthen equal pay statutes.