The New Normal: Men in Nursing

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Historically, men were the majority in physician positions, and women were the majority in nursing positions. Recently, these gender dynamics have been changing. Men have found more opportunities that fit their strengths and fulfill their career goals in the nursing profession.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Ohio University’s online Master of Science in Nursing.

How an increasing number of men are turning to the nursing profession to find fulfilling jobs in the healthcare industry.

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How Many Men are in Nursing?

Men in Nursing: By the Numbers

According to the National Nursing Workforce Survey by the National council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), only 2% of nurses in the U.S. were men in 1960. Fast forward to 2017, and that number has jumped to 13%. NCSBN also reports that the percentage of male licensed registered nurses increased from 5.8% before 2000 to 14.1% between the years 2013 and 2015. The percentage of male licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses has also jumped from 4.7% to 12.7% during that same interval.

It’s determined the average age of the male registered nurse is 42.9. Florida employs the most male nurse practitioners, followed by California, Texas, New York, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Georgia.

Why Men are Choosing Nursing

There are several factors that have influenced interest in the nursing profession among men. The slowing economy has played a big role in this shift, as studies indicate a quarter of U.S. males aren’t in the workforce. Nursing also has the reputation for being a reliable, well-paying job whose outlook has grown as other occupations decline. Additionally, there’s less of a stigma around men working in the nursing profession, thanks in part to the expansion of gender roles.

The nursing profession is a good fit for men for numerous reasons. Firstly, they get satisfaction and pride from caregiving. Some even feel they have an advantage when applying for nursing positions, since men are the minority in the profession. Nursing also offers men a variety of challenging opportunities and specializations for them to pursue.

How Men are Contributing

Male nurses are playing a key role in the healthcare field on several fronts. Firstly, they’re important for certain patient relations, as some male patients feel more comfortable being treated by male nurses. The U.S. is also in the middle of a nursing shortage, so men have the potential to fill the void. Finally, male nurses bring a physical strength advantage to specific areas of nursing, like orthopedics and psychiatric care.

There are certain roles within the nursing profession that men are more likely to hold. These roles include military nurse, lab technician, acute care nurse, and nurse anesthetist.

Recruiting Efforts Needed to Get More Men in Nursing

While the number of male nurses has increased, there’s still some work to be done. Male nursing recruiting efforts must focus less on the gender issues tied with nursing in order to be successful. These efforts must also reiterate the numerous rewards of a nursing career.

There are also certain strategies that nurse educators must deploy to help in the recruitment of male nurses. Firstly, they must address the role of men and women as leaders. They must also be aware of male discrimination and stereotyping in textbooks. Additionally, they need to promote the benefits of diversity in the nursing profession. Finally, they need to reach out to high school students about the benefits of pursuing a nursing career.

As the need for qualified nursing professionals continues to grow, men are discovering the numerous benefits of a nursing career. Men are finding that nursing is a stable, well-paying career, as well as a rewarding way to help people and challenge themselves.

Learn more about Ohio University’s online Master of Science in Nursing.