Nursing News: Male Nurses Help End the Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, April 2nd, 2013

According to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau study of men in nursing, male nurses associated with military and religious orders began to decline in the 1900s. The reason: laws prohibited some from entering the profession, and some nursing schools refused to admit men.

In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed this unconstitutional and since then the number of male nurses has seen a slow and steady rise from 2.7% to 9.6% in 2011. Among licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, the percentage of men grew from 3.9% to 8.1% in 2011. About a third of all nurses in the U.S. military are men.

There are a variety of reasons why men say they enter the field. Many were exposed to the profession as a child. Nursing has become more technical, and male nurses are often drawn to areas such as intensive care units. Nursing also offers relatively good pay, job security and a variety of career opportunities and specialties within the field.

More male nurses will help fill the increasing demand during the nursing shortage. As more young boys grow up watching their fathers or other role models take to the profession, the growth trend will likely continue.

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