male nurse in hospital

As the RN Journal puts it, “It is time to Recruit More Men into the Profession of Nursing”.

We applaud the American Assembly for Men in Nursing for its campaign for a 20% increase in the number of male nurses in the workforce by 2020. But stereotypes can be so damaging to the effort, we realize.  Collegexpress.com  points to two unfortunate attempts at humor on the subject: a) the male nurse character in the Hollywood movie “Meet the Fockers” and b) the remark on the TV series Glee that “a female football coach, like a male nurse, is a sin against nature.”

There are five reasons why deciding to become a nurse is a great move for guys, the Ameritech College of Healthcare asserts: 

  1. Nursing in an in-demand career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16% growth in nursing between 2016 and 2026 (compared to a growth rate in all occupations of 7).
  2. Men have always been nurses. Despite the fact that in the last century, men were discouraged from nursing, male nursing has a rich history that goes all the way back to the ancient world.
  3. Male patients appreciate male nurses (some male patients might not want to appear vulnerable in front of a female caregiver).
  4. Nursing is a vast field, with access to different career paths.
  5. You’ll help shatter a stereotype, and the misperception that nursing is “women’s work”.

“While there are still more women than men in the profession, the good news is that the number of male nurses is on the increase.”  Since 1970, the number of male nurses in the U.S. had tripled, the U.S. Census Bureau reports, and men now comprise 9.6% of all registered nurses.  Over the same time period, the number of LPNs and vocational nurses has doubled.

Male-dominated sectors have hemorrhaged jobs in recent years, with manufacturing (70% male) losing 5 million jobs over the past two decades, while of the same period of time, education and health services added 9 million jobs. A WFYI radio show reported that the healthcare industry alone – led by nursing and home health care – has added jobs at a rate greater than three times that of the rest of the economy. Economists have long assumed that displaced workers would move into growing fields such as nursing, but that largely hasn’t happened, due to the stigma which is deterring men from entering nursing. 

“It is critical that we recruit more men into the nursing ranks,” Dr. Christopher Kowal of American Sentinel University stated. “According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), we are facing a projected shortage of 525,000 replacement nurses, bringing the potential total number of nurses needed due to growth and replacements to 1.05 million by 2022 and male nurses are expected to play an important role in making up that deficit.” 

This Father’s Day, reflecting on our company’s decades-long service to nurses and recalling the 2018 AORN Expo’s motto “Embrace action”, our sincere hope is that males embrace the many opportunities offered by the nursing profession!