Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Wage Differences by Employment Setting.

Product type: manuscript published July 2018 in Nursing Outlook.

Authors: Y Li, Mark Holmes, Erin Fraher, Barbara Mark, Cherly Jones.

Background: Previous studies reported that primary care nurse practitioners working in primary care settings may earn less than those working in specialty care settings. However, few studies have examined why such wage difference exists.

Purpose: This study used human capital theory to determine the degree to which the wage differences between dingsPCNPs working in primary care versus specialty care settings is driven by the differences in PCNPs’ characteristics. Feasible generalized least squares regression was used to examine the wage differences for PCNPs working in primary care and specialty care settings.

Methods: A cross-sectional, secondary data analysis was conducted using the restricted file of 2012 National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners.

Findings: Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique was used to explore the factors contributing to wage differences.The results suggested that hourly wages of PCNPs working in primary care settings were, on average, 7.1% lower than PCNPs working in specialty care settings, holding PCNPs’ socio-demographic, human capital, and employment characteristics constant. Approximately 4% of this wage difference was explained by PCNPs’ characteristics; but 96% of these differences were due to unexplained factors.

Discussion: A large, unexplained wage difference exists between PCNPs working in primary care and specialty care settings.