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Growing Number of Men Becoming Nurses

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Men only make up about 10 percent of the registered nurse workforce today. While that may be a relatively small percentage compared to other industries, it’s a quickly growing number that’s nearly four times what it was 45 years earlier, according to the U.S. Census. The trend of men becoming nurses is likely going to continue rising for the foreseeable future.

A growing trend
As of 2011, about 330,000 of the 3.5 million RNs, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and licensed vocational nurses in the U.S. were men. Among RNs, men represent 9.6 percent of the workforce. Over time, that number has climbed significantly from 2.7 percent in 1970, 4.1 percent in 1980 and 7.6 percent in 2000 to where it is today.

There are a variety of reasons for this substantial growth of male nurses in the past 45 years, including an increasing demand for nurses, the loss of social stigma related to nursing and a legal case. In the past, some programs were resistant or refused to admit men to their programs. However, in 1981 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state schools required to allow men in, according to Healthline. Now, many programs actively recruit men to join.

Although the number of men in nursing is trending upward, the American Assembly for Men in Nursing is looking to increase that rate. The AAMN’s “20 By 20″ campaign is trying to get men to make up 20 percent of the students in nursing programs across the U.S. by the year 2020. If successful, this could help boost the number of male nurses in the workforce as well.
Other organizations have also run programs to include more men in the nursing world, specifically targeting people who had been medics or armed services members. They may already have some experience and nursing can offer a more stable career with different hours, good pay and opportunities for upward mobility.

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Men in nursing
Although men make up a relatively small percentage of the nursing workforce, they do make more money per year on average than women in nursing. This disparity is due to the relatively high number of male nurse anesthetists, who earn higher salaries than most RNs or LPNs.

According to the U.S. Census, 41 percent of nurse anesthetists are men and they make an average salary of $162,900. The overall average salary for all male nurses is about $61,000 compared to $51,000 for women.

For men who are considering studying nursing for the first time or upgrading their careers by earning their Master of Science in Nursing, there are a number of pathways to success. Get started today, because the trend of men in nursing is expected to continue growing, explained Bruce Bailey, human resources employment manager for UnityPoint Health-Trinity in Iowa and Illinois.

“The trend of males entering the nursing ranks has been steadily climbing for many years, and the stigma once associated to male nurses has long been forgotten, as they are a trusted resource right alongside the female nurse,” Bailey told Healthline. “This is evidenced in that we also are seeing an uptick in males in nursing in leadership positions.”

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