Father’s Day: Why We Need Men in Nursing

NursingJune 01, 2022

With the coming “silver tsunami,” the US healthcare system is going to need many more nurses than it currently has. The year 2030 is the year when retired people are projected to outnumber children in the US. Meanwhile, the average age of nurses is 52, so they will be entering retirement, too.

What does that boil down to? The field of nursing is projected to grow about 9% between now and 2030. For men looking for a career in healthcare or possibly a second career, it’s a great time to consider nursing. 

Men bring valued diversity to the career, both in terms of their gender and their race or ethnicity. Studies show patients prefer healthcare providers who share their race or ethnicity, and the field needs many more men to meet that need. Male patients often feel more comfortable with male nurses, whether they’re discussing a personal issue or undergoing an intimate procedure like having a catheter placed. 

Most recently, the pandemic has highlighted the need for diversity in the profession to reflect the diversity of various patient populations, especially in cities like New York. It also highlighted the need for more nurses as demand for travel nurses spiked and put the profession on everyone’s radar. 

So, why haven’t there traditionally been more men in nursing? One gap for young men: many high school guidance counselors don’t discuss nursing as a career with them, and boys don’t learn about it as an option when exploring career pathways. Instead, they may be steered toward a career as a physician, physical therapist, or physician’s assistant when nursing might be the perfect fit. 

But as more men enter the field, biases about the nursing profession and who works in it are changing. In fact, men represent about one-third of all the nurses in the US armed forces. In the civilian world, about 12% of the RN (registered nurse) workforce is men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from just under 10% in 2014. The field is expected to expand substantially for men in the coming years as a result of opportunities emerging from the pandemic and more men choosing it as a career. Gen Z (born roughly between 1997 and 2012) is particularly interested in getting into nursing as a career to give back. 

Additionally, many young men like the fact that Nursing offers different avenues for practice and room for advancement. Nurses can work in different settings, such as fast-paced emergency rooms, urgent cares clinics, physician’s office, or a lab. They can also move into supervisory or management roles if that’s where their strengths lie, or specialize in a particular area, such as medical-surgical nurse, travel nurse, or flight/transport nurse. 

Men who work in nursing report job satisfaction, saying the career allows them to give back. They choose nursing for the same reason women do—they feel called to it. If you are interested pursuing this rewarding vocation, St. Paul’s School of Nursing can help you get started. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our admissions representatives.