Despite a growing number of men choosing a career in nursing, there is still a heavy stereotype that sees nursing as a ‘woman’s job’.
Of course, as it’s the 21st century, we should have come a long way from thinking certain roles are for certain genders, but unfortunately, public opinion is hard to completely change.
Pursuing a nursing career is great regardless of gender, but today we’ll be focusing on why guys should choose to become nurses.
Men in nursing: demographic
To put things into perspective, we’re first sharing a few statistics about the current number of males in nursing roles.
Despite a distinct imbalance between the number of male nurses in comparison to females in the role, the good news is that the figures have been increasing slowly since 1960. In fact, during that time, the share has risen to just over 13% of the workforce. Still nowhere near half, but a big increase from 2.2% in the 1960s.
As for specific nursing roles, the majority of men (76%) work as nurses in hospitals rather than elsewhere. This is significantly higher than female nurses (61%). The highest number of males work as nurse anesthetists, contributing to a whole 41.1% of the anesthetist workforce. Meanwhile, only 8% of nurse practitioners are male.
When it comes to studying, 2011 statistics show that 11% of students on BSN programs were male. Most were enrolled in accelerated courses after previously graduating and pursuing different careers.
So, while the figures show there is a distinct increase in the number of men interested in the profession, there’s still a long way to go to bridge the gap between the two genders in the role. If you’re interested in the profession, here are a number of reasons why men should consider a career in nursing today:
Nurses are in high demand
It’s no secret that nurses are in high demand across the globe – meaning the job prospects for male nurses look pretty promising. And, with demand being higher, newly qualified nurses can enjoy higher salaries.
Also, while the demand for nurses increases, so does the demand for males in the field. As such, several foundations have been created to help men gain scholarships for nursing school. Hopefully, this will break down any financial barriers stopping males from choosing the career.
Men have been nurses throughout history
Despite the stereotype, men have actually been nurses throughout history.
Even back in ancient Rome, nurses on the front line of battle were often men. Male nurses on the battlefield of the American Civil War were also in higher numbers than their female counterparts. There are still opportunities for men to take on nursing roles in a more military setting, too, caring for both soldiers and citizens who are injured during crisis or war.
However, more recently, there have been times when men were discouraged or banned from becoming nurses. Thankfully, this dynamic is once again changing to encourage males to join the workforce.
Male patients often feel more comfortable with male nurses
When it comes to bathing, changing, or other more personal activities involved with nursing, many male patients feel more comfortable with a male nurse present. Some men still feel uncomfortable about showing vulnerability in front of female caregivers, making male nurses the perfect alternative.
There are a huge number of specialisms to choose from
The nursing industry covers a huge number of specialisms, giving male nurses the opportunity to mold their dream careers. Whether you want to work solely with children or think you would prefer to work outside the hospital setting, there is a nursing career that’s perfectly suited.
One thing that is apparent within pretty much all nursing departments, however, is the lack of male nurses available.
If you’re interested in a career in nursing or want to choose nursing as a second career, those who already have a degree can study online accelerated BSN programs. Modules can be studied around other priorities, making it perfect for those looking for a career change or who want to gain experience while studying.
There are several routes for qualifying
While doctors and physicians will be required to endure years of medical school before reaping the benefits, those who study nursing can be qualified relatively quickly and help themself to a whole world of job opportunities in no time. Depending on whether you enroll on a BSN or ABSN, you could be a registered nurse within a year.
Alternatively, those who want to take their studies further can choose to become nurse practitioners, who often have the same responsibilities as their doctor counterparts, and can take on the DNP.
Shatter the stereotypes, inspire others
Choosing to become a male nurse and advocating for the role for your gender is a great way to do your part in shattering the stereotype. The stigma against men in nursing can easily stop people from applying for their dream roles – ultimately meaning health organizations aren’t getting the best staff available.
By pursuing the career and enjoying a successful life as a nurse, you’ll also be able to inspire younger generations to do the same. Nurses are incredibly inspiring while in their working environment, often leading patients and their families to follow the same profession. By showing younger boys that they too can be nurses, you’ll be able to help break the stereotypes that are damaging the industry.
How to become a male nurse
Those just heading into the world of work straight out of high school should look into a bachelor of science in nursing or an associate’s degree in nursing. However, as mentioned above, if you’ve already achieved a degree and are looking at going into nursing later in life, an ABSN will need to be completed.
To become registered, you’ll then need to take the licensure exam. From here, you’ll be ready to join the workforce!
Once you’re registered, the number of specialisms available to you is endless. Some will require additional training, but this can be done on the job or studied online while working.