According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of male nurses has more than doubled in the past three decades and is expected to triple within the next few decades.
Even with this growth, only nine percent of all nurses are male — that’s about 330,000 men in the profession. As the population continues to age and changes in healthcare law provide new wellness opportunities for millions of Americans, the need for men in nursing careers is expected to get increasingly intense.
“Healthcare has witnessed unprecedented growth and demand,” Kathy Guarino, vice president nursing, chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York, says. “It isn’t a place to worry if your investment in education is going to be wasted. You will find a job!”
Here are three reasons men should take a long look at nursing when considering career options:
- Get your heart racing. Nursing can be an intense experience. Work in an emergency room, urgent care center or even outside of the traditional healthcare setting for employers like the U.S. Army can provide a powerful adrenaline rush while saving lives.
- The market is only growing. Bottom line — Americans are living longer. The number of people ages 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million in 2050, nearly doubling the 43.1 million elderly Americans living in 2012. With this increase of in lifespan comes a real demand for quality healthcare professionals, including nurses.
- Enjoy job stability. "The relatively high wages and expanding job opportunities makes (nursing) attractive, offering stability even during recessions," writes Liana Christin Landivar, author of the U.S. Census Bureau report Men in Nursing Occupations.
Men entering the nursing field still have to deal with sexist stereotypes — but these old-school ideas are beginning to fade. A decade of military intervention has shown a new generation of American men the critical role of nurses firsthand. A major recession reminded everyone about the importance of a steady job. As time passes, the antiquated misconceptions of past generations will hopefully disappear.
"I guess my friends thought, since I played sports in high school, that I would take on a more manly job," Nashville, Tennessee nurse Ryan McFarland told USA Today in 2013. "But this is a manly job. There are so many things in this field that aren't easy — most people don't have the stomach for it."