Walk down the halls of several nursing homes, hospitals and clinics and you’ll see the smiling faces of several female nurses scurrying in and out of rooms, helping patients along with their activities. Look a little closer and you’ll also begin to notice a number of male nurses popping up in these same facilities. There are several reasons for this influx of testosterone in the nursing field.
A 2004 study conducted by Federal Health Resources and Services Administration found that approximately 5.8 percent of all practicing nurses were male. Fast forward four years and a 2008 poll found this number jumped to 6.6 percent. The subject of male nurses is still somewhat controversial even in this day and age, including several fallacies about why males seek employment in this competitive and rewarding field.
Where Guys No Longer Fear to Tread!
No matter how many strides men are making in the field of nursing, there are still several commonly held mistruths and myths that are making it difficult for many of them to succeed. Here are a few of the most common fabrications and the truth really behind them:
• Men who become nurses do so because they couldn’t make it in medical school. One of the most typical stereotypes about male nurses is the idea that these talented and dedicated individuals only followed this career path because they flunked out of medical school. The majority of male nurses are thriving in this field because they are compassionate, caring and genuinely enjoy interacting with their patients, not because they couldn’t make it as doctors.
• The best nurses are female. Making a sweeping generalization about the benefits of gender when it comes to career success is a dangerous statement. Men are just as capable as women in the field of nursing and are showing just how skilled they are every day. Many men who formerly succeeded in “manly” professions, including law enforcement and even the NFL, are seeking a second career in nursing.
• Men aren’t compassionate enough to become nurses. Once again, the idea that men don’t have the benevolence and empathy to care for patients dealing with intense situations is completely false. If it’s ok for a man to get a masters in psychology which requires high levels of compassion, then why not nursing. Thankfully this erroneous gender stereotype is being overwhelmingly debunked by the caring male nurses that are helping patients survive and thrive across the country, and world.
Reasons for the Surge
The reasons why men and women are attracted to the nursing profession are wholly similar. Here is a short sampling of the several motivations that lead both men and women into the nursing profession:
• Job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the registered nursing profession is expected to grow at a rate of 26 percent until 2020, which is much higher than several other professions. With the baby boomer generation rapidly aging, many hospitals, nursing homes and hospice centers are actively seeking the services of talented male nurses.
• Prospects. Many male nurses are finding their destiny lies in specialization and this is achieved through earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Once they find employment, many of these nurses stay with their current employer for several years.
• Salary. The average salary for an ADN is anywhere from $33,000 to $66,000, which is astounding when you realize this pay scale is achieved with only two years of schooling. Male nurses are finding this field rewarding as either a part-time or full-time option as they seek other career paths as well.
• The need to care for others. One of the main reasons many men are seeking employment as a nurse is simply because their passion is caring for others and helping them through the healing process.
Facing the Stereotypes
The proverbial glass ceiling is finally cracking, but many men are still facing the stereotypes that come along with seeking employment in this female-dominated career. In order to combat this issue and lure men into the profession, several colleges and universities are actively recruiting males into their nursing programs. If you’re a man and are interested in reaping the benefits of this challenging and rewarding profession, speak to an admissions counselor at an online or campus-based university to discover if this career path is right for you.
The next time you walk down the halls of your local hospital or clinic, really start to pay attention to the number of men scurrying in and out of rooms, helping their patients thrive during a harrowing experience. Don’t be surprised when one of these nurses cares for you and rest assured that he will provide you with the same level of care as any woman.
This article was written by Justin Davis, who over 5 years ago decided to make the change from RN to MSN. He expects to finish his degree next year.