For centuries, nursing had been considered a role for women, and today, the occupation is still largely filled by females. But things are changing.
More men are joining the field and finding it to be a rewarding and lucrative career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 406,923 men were in nursing in 2022. By specialty, 12.1% of registered nurses (RNs), 11.3% of nurse practitioners, 10% of nursing assistants, and 11.1% of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses were men.
If you’re a man who’s considering a career in nursing, you’ll find stable job growth and opportunity. The BLS projects that employment in health care occupations will grow 13% through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, with RN listed as one of the top seven occupations expected to add the most new jobs through 2031.
What’s behind such growth? This article examines the factors that are drawing men to the field, including the national nursing shortage, significant career opportunities, and focused recruitment efforts to bring more men to nursing.
National Nursing Shortage
There are several reasons why nurses are in such demand, including the following:
- Baby boomers are living longer, and an aging population drives a need for more health care services.
- The number of people developing and/or living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, is dramatically increasing.
- There are about 1 million registered nurses over age 50, according to the National Institutes of Health, which means one-third of the workforce could be retiring in the next 10 to 15 years.
- A shortage of nursing school faculty is causing nursing schools to turn away large numbers of qualified applicants, according to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
The BLS projects that employment of RNs will grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, adding 195,400 new jobs to the U.S. economy. Employment for nurse practitioners is projected to grow 46% in the same time period.
Career Opportunities in Nursing
Nursing offers diverse opportunities as far as where you can work and areas of specialization. With a nursing degree, you could pursue opportunities in community education and public health, nursing management and leadership, health care administration, and care coordination.
Nurses are needed in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, correctional facilities, hospice care facilities, in-home care, and flight transports.
Most fellow Americans trust nurses’ judgment and appreciate their care. For the 22nd year, Americans say they trust nurses more than any other profession, according to this 2023 Gallup report.
And no matter your specialty, as a nurse, you’ll be among good (and satisfied) company. According to a 2021 survey by AMN® Healthcare, 81% of nurses are satisfied with their career choice.
Support Systems for Men in Nursing
The idea of pursuing a career in nursing as a man can be exciting for some and daunting for others. Luckily, several organizations exist to help attract male nurses to the field and support their professional growth.
One of the most prominent organizations is the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN), which has a goal to increase male enrollment in nursing programs throughout the U.S. and the world. As part of this recruiting initiative, the association makes posters featuring male nurses who have combined their interests and hobbies with their nursing jobs. These real-life stories of male nurses who “Do what they love and love what they do” are meant to encourage people like you to find your niche in the nursing field.
AAMN also offers nursing resources for males, including mentor programs and a list of schools and colleges that have been recognized for their efforts in offering excellent nursing programs for men.
Requirements to Become a Nurse
To become a nurse, you must earn a nursing degree, such as an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN), and pass the national licensing examination that gives you RN status. This can include 2–4 years of classroom study and hands-on, clinical experience. While the ASN can help you qualify to take the exam that allows you to be an RN, many students start with their ASN and then return to school through an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) program.
From there, you can earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) to pursue advanced practice roles such as a nurse practitioner. With a master’s degree, you may also wish to become a nursing administrator or educator.
Lastly, if you choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), there are two types: research-focused programs and practice-focused programs. While both are designed to produce clinical experts who are leaders in their areas of expertise, your preference of research methodology or evidence-based application will determine your choice in program.
Get Started With Purdue Global
More men are entering nursing and finding it to be a rewarding career with a wide array of specialties and opportunities. If you want to get started on pursuing a nursing career or further your education in nursing, Purdue Global’s School of Nursing can help. Request more information today.