Over the past few decades, the nursing field has begun to undergo a shift. Once dominated as a career field for women, an increasing number of men have seen the importance and career potential of becoming a nurse. They are entering the profession at higher rates than seen before in modern times.
Of course, men haven’t always been outnumbered as nurses. In centuries past, men had a larger role in assisting doctors and caring for those ill enough to need medical care. With the growth of the industrial revolution, however, more men began to enter the factories. Beginning in the 19th Century, Florence Nightingale helped to lead the charge to train and educate women in the importance of nursing so that they could provide medical services to those in need. By the First and Second World War, the field was seen as a woman’s domain.
Now, however, more men have begun to enter the challenging classrooms of nursing school to gain the skills needed to take care of patients in a variety of settings. This has led many to ask, are male nurses in demand? Here is what everyone should know about men in nursing.
Why Are More Men Entering the Nursing Field? What Percentage of Nurses Are Male?
Let’s examine the second question first. After all, the percentage has changed dramatically. Although only about 2 percent of nurses in the United States were men back in 1960, today that number is closer to 12 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of men who have decided to enter the nursing field has been growing in countries all around the world.
As for why? The simple is they want to make a difference. Like the women who choose to enter the nursing field, they decided to pursue a career that will offer them the chance to help others and do good in their daily lives. There are likely any number of specific reasons for why they decided to enter this career path, but a few do stand out:
1. The Growth of the Nursing Field Is Rising
The nursing field, as a whole, is poised for tremendous growth. The United States has a large number of people that will need age-related care in the near future. Healthcare improvements that allow people to live longer mean that the elderly will need medical assistance across the country.
Additionally, healthcare crises and various chronic conditions, including obesity and arthritis, also increase demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also references financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients, which leads to more people admitted to various long-term care facilities where they will need nurses to help them recover.
This anticipated increase in healthcare means more nurses are needed. In fact, some states face potential nursing shortages. For men who want to work in a field that allows them to make a difference, nursing, therefore offers an excellent and in-demand opportunity.
Between 2019 and 2029, there is expected to be a 7 percent increase in the number of nursing jobs available, which is faster growth than most other occupations in the United States. This translates to 221,900 more jobs being added. There are also thousands more added when people retire or otherwise leave the profession. This creates an appealing environment for those interested in finding an excellent job.
2. There Is No Longer Any Stigma to Being a Male Nurse
As confusing as it may seem that any stigma would be attached to a man becoming a nurse, remember that it was, at one point, a female-dominated industry. Those social mores can be hard to overcome.
Nevertheless, the anticipated high job growth rate makes nursing an attractive opportunity for professionals, both male and female. Plus, things change—less stigma is attached to the thought of a male nurse today. Shifts in cultural expectations and perceptions of gender roles have made men feel freer to take on nurturing roles both and home and in the workplace. This helps to open doors to careers, like nursing, that call for these types of skills.
Many men find that people see more value in nursing as a career itself, rather than simply viewing it as a stepping stone to becoming a doctor. And patients recognize the importance and value of the care they receive from the nurses they interact with throughout their time in a healthcare setting.
3. There Are Benefits to Becoming a Male Nurse
The men who decide to enter the nursing field also discover that the career choice can offer them a number of benefits that are worth examining. Many professionals interested in nurturing fields or professions, especially those with a desire to help others, can find this career path to be personally fulfilling. There are also some less subjective benefits to explore, including:
With the previously discussed potential shortage of nurses, alongside the anticipated growth in need, the demand for trained, quality nurses will be high across the country. For men who want to find job opportunities with stability, this offers an excellent industry.
The heavy demand for nurses means that those with the necessary credentials and experience will find this career path provides stability and regular work options. Men will have an easier time finding particular jobs that fit their personal interests in a variety of geographical locations. And they will have less risk of losing the job once they secure it.
The field of nursing also offers an incredible amount of flexibility. Consider all the different environments where nurses work—from schools to hospitals to doctor’s offices. Qualified nurses have a number of job opportunities in front of them. They’re able to select the options that fit their interests and strengths best.
These different environments are also often dedicated to a specific patient type, which can also play a role in determining a career path. For example, nurses with a desire to help children can work anywhere from a pediatrician’s office to a school. Or they may prefer to work with the elderly and decide to pursue career options in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Hours can be another consideration for those looking at career flexibility. Nurses who prefer regular working hours can seek jobs, such as those in doctors’ offices, that follow a business-like schedule. Others might prefer to work only 3 shifts per week—typically of the 12-hour-straight variety—allowing them to be considered a full-time employee but still have more time to spend with the family. Jobs in hospitals and other 24-hour-a-day medical facilities often have these types of shifts and rotations available. Other nurses might also prefer night shifts or other atypical hour preferences.
Nursing can also provide those interested in the field with a regular income that will continue to rise. The training involved and demand for nurses means that this profession is consistently well-compensated. The median income of a nurse is over $73,000 with opportunities for higher pay for those who:
- Pursue higher education to become a nurse practitioner
- Specialize in certain areas
- Build upon their experience and rise through the ranks of seniority
Bottom line: Men who become nurses will find that they can earn a good living in this field across the country.
The Variety of Specialties Available
Nursing offers rich and varied situations, making it an appealing field for aspiring professionals. In addition to the different environments, as described above, nurses can also think about the different specialties available in the field. Some may elect to become a nurse-midwife while others decide to become an anesthetist. Men can also pursue higher education in nursing and become nurse practitioners.
Each nurse can look at their different rotations and courses, consider where their strengths and interests are, and seek jobs that will help them thrive. Pursuing hands-on training and any specialty certificates are the best method for building a career in the desired specialty area.
How Much Do Male Nurses Make?
Those interested in entering the profession of nursing often want to know what male nurses make. Across the profession as a whole, the median annual wage was $73,300 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent in the field make less than $52,080, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $111,220.
Interestingly, and regardless of fairness, although most nurses continue to be women, men often out-earn women in the field—a similar situation to many other job fields. One study found that the pay gap between men and women is just over $5,000. The width of this gap varies depending upon the specialty of nursing as well as the ranking of the individual within the organization.
The rate of men entering the nursing profession continues to grow across the country as the benefits of this patient-care work continue to inspire prospective male nurses of all ages. The industry continues to grow and the demand for qualified nurses increases, making this a stable and well-paid field with potential for long-term career growth.
Here at Post, we offer an RN to BSN degree, which can help further the education and career possibilities open to nurses. Consider how improving your credentials can enhance your career and the paths you can pursue. If you want to know more about our online programs and how they can help grow your career, reach out to us today either online or by phone.
Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!