More Demand and More Opportunity

For centuries, nursing had been considered a role for women, and today, the occupation is still largely filled by females. But things are changing.

What’s behind such growth? This article examines the factors that are calling more men into the field, including the national nursing shortage, significant career opportunities, and focused recruitment efforts to bring more men to nursing.

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.

A large portion of the nursing workforce is approaching retirement age. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 1 million RNs will reach retirement age within the next 10 years.

A shortage of nursing school faculty is causing nursing schools to turn away large numbers of qualified applicants, according to an American Association of Colleges of Nursing report.

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, and hospice care facilities, and for in-home care and flight transports.

Most fellow Americans trust nurses’ judgement and appreciate their care. According to a 2017 Gallup report, for 16 years in a row Americans have ranked nurses at the top of the list of occupations with the most honest and ethical standards, especially when compared to other professionals.

And no matter your specialty, as a nurse you’ll be among good (and satisfied) company. According to a 2017 Kronos survey, 93% of U.S.-based nurses are satisfied with what they do.

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 have 20% male enrollment in nursing programs throughout the United States and the world by the year 2020. 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 loving what they do” is 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.

To become a nurse, you must earn either a Prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (PLBSN) or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and pass the national licensing examination that gives you RN status. This can include 2 to 4 years of classroom study and hands-on, clinical experience. While the PLBSN and ADN can help you qualify to take the exam that allows you to be an RN, many students start with their ADN 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.


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