More male nurses needed

male-nurseOnly 9 percent of nurses are male. This number has increased and according to nursing school enrollments, will continue to increase, but more men need to seriously consider nursing as a career choice. There is a current nursing shortage that is only expected to grow in the future as more people grow older and require medical treatment.

I know many of you think nursing is only for women…but this is not true. In my four years of nursing in the ICU, I have worked mainly only with men. Most weekends it is me and three male nurses. Men do tend to choose jobs in the critical care areas of the hospital such as the ICU or the ER. Male nurses are welcome in most all areas of nursing with the understandable exception of labor and delivery in most health care settings.

As I was looking online for more information on male nursing, I found that there is even a magazine specifically geared towards male nurses called Male Nurse Magazine. There are special scholarship opportunities for male nursing students as well. The American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) is dedicated to helping further the education of male nurses http://aamn.org/ .

They even have a forum for discussion of issues male nurses may want to discuss. Check out for more information on more potential assistance in paying for nursing school.

There are so many different areas in nursing that you are sure to find the one that is just right for you! So get up, turn off the football game and apply for nursing school today! Ok, just joking about the football….sometimes we watch it at work too…..I’m just sayin…

We hope all you male nurses, or potential male nurses, come back to NursesPTO.com and give us your perspective!

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Comments

  1. Ross says:

    Hi Wendy,

    Good on you for posting about the need for more males – I couldn’t agree with you more! 9 percent, wow that’s pretty bad… How are we ever going to break the ‘women’s profession’ label at that rate!!

    I work in emergency and the ratio of males is considerably higher, and I’ve found this to be the case in other critical care areas, as you suggest..

    Maybe we need to do more to break the stigma’s etc associated with nursing, ie name change?!

    As a male nurse with 10yrs under my belt I just want to add that emergency nursing is pretty cool – if you’re a guy and are interested in blood and guts etc, if you enjoy the old adrenaline rush and work well under pressure, check it out – it’s not an easy gig that’s for sure.

    • nursewendy says:

      Thank you Ross for your response and encouraging comments! Nursing is really a wonderful career opportunity for men as well as women. I understand the stigma associated with male nursing. Most guys consider it a “woman’s” job. As you said, there is plenty of blood, guts, and just plain gruesome work in nursing. Surely there are other men out there that can handle this kind of work…;)
      From my experience, men have a better chance of being hired and unfortunately for us girls, usually get paid more for the same work. There are so many opportunities in nursing to further your education and career possibilities. Maybe we can convince more men out there to give nursing a shot and come join our forces!
      Thanks again and good luck to you!
      nursewendy

  2. RehabRN says:

    Yes! More men please!

    We could get rid of some of the stigma that this is a woman’s only job if more caring, professional men entered nursing. Nursing is technique, science and finesse all the time…just like several sports. I work rehab and we currently have 3 males on our unit. We could use a few more. Many veterans identify with men more readily than women.

    It seems like things are changing. I surely hope they do!

    • nursewendy says:

      Thank you RehabRN for your response. You bring up an interesting point that there are some demographics that would respond better to having a male nurse. In my work as an RN in ICU I have actually had more men ask for a male nurse than women asking for a female nurse. Keep up the good work! Maybe we can all work together to get more men into the profession ;)

      Thanks again,
      nursewendy

  3. Sean says:

    Thank you for this post. The battle of we ‘male-nurses’ will be never ending. The stereotypes that the nursing profession have to battle is only magnified by the public’s lack of knowledge. Now we are battling hollywood’s warped ideas of what nurses do and how they act.
    I wish I would have chosen the nursing field years ago! This profession continues to give. I do my best to spread the word on how being a nurse, let alone being a male in the nursing profession is such a great decision.
    Even as ‘the minority’ the endless amount of opportunities continues to grow, both personally and professionally.
    Thanks again!

    • nursewendy says:

      Sean, glad you liked the post. I find male nurses are great to work with. I think the nursing field is becoming a place where men find their place more and more often these days. I hope that they continue to look to a career in nursing for all it offers. You are right, there are many warped ideas in Hollywood’s depiction of male nurses. I am personally offended by the NurseJackie show on Showtime for its portrayal of nurses, both male and female.

      Good luck in your future as a great nurse!
      nursewendy

  4. Dave says:

    Any thoughts on a career change into nursing for a guy in his 40s?

    I’m 43, have been working my whole adult life as a software engineer, which I have grown to steadily despise more and more every day. My wife is in health care (lab tech) and currently going back to school to get her nursing degree as well, so I have a good idea of what’s involved and I find it very interesting.

    At this point in my life, I’d be perfectly content to give up my 6-figure income to do something with some meaning. I’m in good shape and don’t mind working hard. I just don’t know how it would be for a guy my age to break into this. Realistically, it will be a couple more years before I can even start because my wife needs to finish her school first.

    I’m also thinking of taking a CNA class and working as a nurse’s aid for a while to get some direct patient care experience prior to and during school itself.

    • nursewendy says:

      Dave, sounds like you have given a lot of thought to this. I am sorry you are dissatisfied with your current job. Nursing is a very interesting and continually changing field to get into. I think you would love the change and the excitement you would find there. Don’t worry about your age! It is never too late to go back to school. When I was in nursing school there were more than a few students around your age or older. I am glad you realize you would be giving up your six figure income…at least initially. There are some career paths you can take as a nurse (granted with much more education) where you can make a living around the six figure mark, such as nurse practitioner or in administration.

      I think the idea of taking a CNA class would be good for you to find out if nursing is something you really want to do.

      Good luck to you and your wife in your studies! ;)
      nursewendy

    • Bradford says:

      Stay with your six figure income. I have been in the health field for 20 years, am a BSN, and BSRT, and most all the nurses I know want out of nursing. The pay sucks, hours are long, and administration will not help you. There is no nursing shortage, there is a shortage of practicing nurses, who left the field for various reasons, not the least of which is low pay. The gold ring of nursing is CRNA or NP. I would choose to become a physicians assistant, have more autonomy, not be under the tripolar board of nursing, and make a decent living. Training is intense, but in the end rewarding. You will always be able to get a job in nursing, the aging baby boomers will need care, but if you also need to make a living, better keep your job. Lots of nurses I know work multiple jobs to make ends meet. In the end, no matter how benevolent or self sacrificing you are, economics will win. It is good that there are those who do go to nursing to help others and this is noble. But being male, I am the primary bread winner. I would love to trade nursing for the six figure income, and have a life after work without the worry to make ends meet. I am now 50 years old. There is no retirement in nursing, have made mine in real estate rental property. Think hard about leaving the income you have. I find satisfaction volunteering at the local animal shelter, helping to care for all the
      “Babies” there, who need lots of love too. Also volunteer at nursing homes, as there are many seniors who have no one to love them. You can do this, keep your income, and help others.
      If you really want to do nursing, all the better, and go for it. Just understand that the income isn’t there, and like your present job, you could very well end up despising also, just with less income. Administration is full of back stabbing and politics, better think about a mba for that area in addition to BSN.

  5. Jerry Lucas says:

    Nursewendy

    I want to thank you for your posting and the fact that you have seen my web site. I started it to try to show that there is many different areas of nursing and the past of nursing was just full of females but many different men. I thank you for helping others to understand there is a need and men need not think of nursing as just women work, the truth is far from that.

  6. Steve says:

    I think one thing about getting more men into nursing (will we EVER get rid of the moniker “male nurse”-my license and diploma make no mention of gender) is that it will create more FULL TIME people in the profession.

    It’s pretty rare to find a man who is a nurse who works less than .8 or .9-at least that has been my experience. I think for a lot of reform to take place in healthcare and in nursing, we need more men in the nursing profession.

  7. David says:

    I’ve been reading many articles on this website, and I have to say they’re quite helpful. I’ve just recently made the decision to become an RN. I’m having a kind of anxiety, if you will, towards the matter and articles such as this along with many of your other ones reinforce my decision. My mom is a M.A. for a Cardiologist at the University of Tennessee. I had the privilege of shadowing said Cardiologist for a while, that’s when I came to my conclusion. I’ll be going back to spectate an operation very soon.

    I just thought I’d share this. I already have a degree in CIS, but I can’t visualize myself behind a 10×10 cubicle for the rest of my life. Not to mention the economy hasn’t been very kind either, however, it’s not a matter of money. I can say, that I’m already nervous. Is that normal?

  8. Brandon says:

    Hi, I have spent the past year beating around idea’s in my head, of what I want to do with my life. I earned an associates degree in business year’s ago and have never seen any real benefit from it. I recently got married to a wonderful and extremely sharp nurse. She is an RN in the ER, and is always full of interesting stories, day in and day out. I have met many of her co-workers both male and female, and have to say that the medical field seems really fun to work within. I have recently decided that I am going to take some classes to see if Nursing is right for me. I love the idea of helping people of all ages, as well as the ever changing environment. I think I handle myself well in highly stressfull situations, but am not sure the ER is someplace I’d want to start, can anyone give me some other good nursing field’s of work?? I am brand new to the idea and any advice for getting off on the right foot would be appreciated. Thanks so much, this is really an interesting page that has reinforced my thinking that Nursing is something I should do, thanks for creating this awesome information.

    • nursewendy says:

      Thank you Brandon for your response. There are so many areas in nursing. If you are not sure what area you might like you could try a float position where you can try out several areas until you find the one that fits you. Most hospitals have a nursing resource float pool.

  9. Dan says:

    I have found the posts on this website extremely helpful. I am a 26 year old male and am strongly considering going back to school to become an RN. I currently hold a Master’s degree in Spanish and taught high school for three years…Needless to say nursing would be a total change, but one that I am excited about. My dilemma is whether to enter an Associates program or an accelerated BSN program. I am leaning towards the accelerated program, but am concerned about the cost…the associates program is significantly less expensive. Do you have any advice regarding the two paths? Thanks in advance!

    • nursewendy says:

      Dan, this is a difficult decision…I personally chose to go through an ADN program first and then I went back for my BSN. I did this because I had 4 small children and needed to get through school as quickly as I could. If money is a big issue, I might say go ahead and do the ADN first…but if you can make it a little longer the BSN program would be more beneficial in the end I believe. Most hospitals today are looking for BSN prepared nurses, and I would imagine they would get hired over an ADN if the hospital had a choice. I am not saying an ADN does not make a good nurse….just that there is more education with a BSN and a little more understanding of the WHYS of nursing…whereas ADN focuses more on the HOWS…

      Ultimately it is your decision….hope this helps some ;) Thanks for reading!

    • Scott says:

      I’ve worked in hospitals for almost 30 years now and have been an RN with an associates degree for 20 years. Most of my experience is in Emergency but I have also held positions in ICU/CCU, OR, and PACU. I worked as a traveling nurse for 13 years, working a range of 2-bed ERs to 65 bed ERs. Inter-city trauma centers to extremely rural clinics. Having only my ADN has never hindered me from obtaining a job. I’ve started back twice to obtain my BSN but both times became discouraged with the curriculum and with what seemed like an encouragement to pull me away from hands-on, bed-side nursing which is what I value most. I have no interest in “moving up the ladder” into management which is where a BSN or Master’s degree is often preferred, though not always required. As for pay, each of the past 4 years I’ve grossed between 104K and 112K. Granted, I work nights, weekends, some overtime, but that’s where I get my “play” money. There’s something for everyone in nursing. I turn 50 this year and am glad I made the choices I did.

  10. Donald Wood says:

    Nine percent is probably double what the percentage was when I became a nurse (1973). I’ve never regretted my choice one bit. I worked ER as an orderly (talk about old terminology) and stayed there after graduation. Went on to work ICU after that and then went on to nurse anesthesia school in 1975. Still taking care of patients today.
    I believe nursing is gradually shaking its image as a ‘feminine’ career and we will start to see more men in nursing.

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