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The old image of a professional nurse is a woman who stands by the side of a doctor or the bedside of a patient and takes care of many of the day-to-day tasks of nursing care. And with, according to Nurse.org, approximately 90 percent of nurses being women today, the industry is still predominantly female. Yet during the past thirty years, the number of men in the profession has tripled, and an increasing number of male medical students are choosing nursing as their career field. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 11.4 percent of the registered nurses are male, compared to a mere 2.7 in 1970.

Here’s a closer look at why the number of men in the nursing industry is growing, why the industry needs them, and what the nursing profession means for male nurses.

Nursing Is Seeing Tremendous Growth

One of the reasons that we need more nurses overall is the tremendous growth the industry is seeing. The BLS expects to see more than 735,000 jobs in nursing fields added before 2024, soaring to just under 4 million jobs. This is a tremendous employment potential for all people, but underrepresented groups, like men, are needed to fill the coming vacancies.

Why is the industry seeing such growth? As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, and as people move away from hospitalizations in favor of short-term care facilities for recovery after surgery or accidents, the demand for skilled nursing care naturally will grow.

Growth Creates a Stable Career Track

Many men are looking for a career that offers stability. Nursing, because it is a career with strong projected growth, is just such an industry. Men graduating with a nursing degree are almost guaranteed to find a position available somewhere in the field because of that growth, and demand for their skills will continue in the near future as these trends remain in place.

Not only does the career track provide stability, but that stability comes with excellent opportunities for advancement. That type of advancement leads to a higher potential salary, which is something many male professionals are looking for as they search for career opportunities.

Nursing Provides a Range of Career Paths

A nursing degree opens the door to a wide range of career paths. Many male nurses are drawn to high-intensity jobs in emergency rooms or critical care units, but they are also needed in care facilities, surgical centers, medical clinics, and traditional hospital settings. This level of variety means men can find the areas where they feel the most comfortable, and settle in for a long, rewarding career. And, like female nurses have known for years, nursing is highly rewarding no matter where the career path lies. Nurses are at the forefront of medicine, helping people in their day-to-day lives feel better and achieve a greater level of health.

Flexibility of a Nursing Career Appeals to Men

The flexibility of nursing is one of the many perks that women have enjoyed over the years. Many nurses work 12-hour shifts, which means they can get 40 hours of work a week in three to four work days. This level of flexibility allows men to pursue their hobbies or look into other sources of income. Men who have families can get more time at home without sacrificing their income and benefits.

Nursing Provides High Income Potential

Providing an earnings report on what male nurses make in their career fields is challenging because of the variety within the profession. The type of specialization and location where a man works as a nurse also impacts the overall salary. In general, we know this is a well-paid profession with quite a bit of room for income growth.

According to the BLS, the average income for registered nurses is $71,730. Those working for the government make more with an average of $78,390. Those working in education make the least, with an average of $61,850. Nurse practitioners, which is an advanced position in nursing, make an average of $80,990 a year. Those in the highest 10 percent of the industry earn more than $106,000 a year.

Regardless, these numbers indicate that nursing is a well-paid field. Men who are looking for a lucrative and financially rewarding career can confidently consider nursing.

Men Bring Unique Skills to the Nursing Field

Why should men consider a career in nursing when the field is predominantly filled with females? This minority status puts the men who do choose nursing in high demand. Sometimes, patients will prefer a nurse of a certain gender, especially for personal procedures like catheter insertion. Male patients may be more comfortable opening up about their physical needs with a male nurse. The physical strength of a male nurse is often helpful when patients need to be transferred from bed to chair—or lifted for any reason. These unique skills make male nurses in high demand in many areas of medicine, and that demand is expected to grow as more and more men head into the field.

Considerations When Considering a Career as a Nurse

All of these benefits and perks are drawing many men to this career field, but they should enter it with eyes wide open to the duties and tasks involved. Nurses work hard and are often on their feet for hours at a time. It’s also a career field that requires a heart to help other people. For those who are not afraid of hard work, want a financially rewarding career path, and are passionate about helping others, nursing—for men or women—is an excellent career choice.

Are you considering starting a career in nursing, or are you already working as an RN but want to take your career to the next level? Start with the right degree. For a flexible training program available conveniently online, check out the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Post University. Designed as an RN to BSN program, this degree will open the door to more lucrative opportunities in the field of nursing.