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Why the Number of Male Nurses is On the Rise

  • Article by:Health Career Center

When you picture a nurse in your mind, what do you see?

If you’re like most Americans, you see a confident, take-charge person wearing scrubs, maybe with a stethoscope or clipboard in hand. They could be any ethnicity, with any combination of hair length and color. But no matter the details, with very few exceptions, the person you picture is almost always a woman.

According to a joint study by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Louisville, that may change soon.

Men are migrating to nursing in record numbers, driven by a variety of economic and social factors. Below are a few of the most prominent ones from the study, explained by our career experts.

You’re about to find out why nursing is such a smart career choice, no matter your gender. So when you’re finished reading, visit us at to see how you can kick off a successful career in one of America’s fastest-growing occupations.

A rise in nursing pay scales
Nursing is a much more attractive career path than it used to be. In 2016, the median annual wage for nurses was over $68,000, with the top 10 percent earning in the six-figure range. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s far above the average American worker’s salary, which is a little over $37,000 per year.

Compare that to the 1960s when nurses earned less than the average American, and it’s easy to see why more men have flocked to the profession. Nurses of all genders are finally being compensated in accordance with the great value they offer. Whether you’re male or female, it’s smart to capitalize on that trend.

The blurring of gender roles
For years, women have been making incredible progress in attaining positions that were traditionally reserved only for men. In doing so, they’ve proven that women are just as competent as men in any field. But at the same time, we’ve learned an unexpected but welcome lesson: Men are equally as competent in industries traditionally reserved for women.

The efforts of national organizations like the American Assembly of Men in Nursing, which has been active in promoting hospitals’ recruitment of male nurses since the 1970s, have also played an important part. Combine that with the increasing physical nature and rising occupational injury hazards of nursing, and it’s no surprise that men have been able to find a foothold in the field.

Skyrocketing demand for caregivers
Of course, we’d be remiss if we ignored the most obvious reason for the rising number of male nurses: There aren’t nearly enough caregivers to go around.

The aging Baby Boomer generation is putting more strain on the healthcare field every day, as age-related issues and chronic illnesses consume more of nurses’ workloads. Even worse, this is happening just as many boomer-generation doctors and nurses are retiring, creating a shortage of talent in a talent-hungry industry. Healthcare needs help like never before, and it doesn’t matter what size, shape or gender that help comes in.

Male nurses have jumped at the opportunity, using accelerated nursing programs to fast track their education and earn the necessary certificates. If you’re a male jobseeker who’s considering a career in nursing, there has never been a better time to get started.

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