Why nursing is a great career for men

There are more than 10 times the number of male nurses today than in 1977, and the numbers are climbing

A distinctly female-centric profession is getting injections of testosterone.From 1977 to 2018, the number of male nurses increased tenfold, to 314,195.More than 12% of the country's registered nurses are now men, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.“You can’t put a gender on tender loving care,” one male nurse said. .“The good thing about nursing is that I’ve never been out of work,” a Chicago male nurse said

Close your eyes and conjure an image of a nurse. You pictured a woman, didn’t you? Most people would, considering the field has been female-centric since Florence Nightingale.

That image is slowly but steadily changing, however. As of 2018, there were more than 10 times the number of male nurses — 314,195 — than there were in 1977 — 27,254. And U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that, as of 2019, more than 12% of the country’s registered nurses are men. Currently, the president of the American Nurses Association is Ernest Grant, who has more than 30 years of nursing experience.

“Nursing, and healthcare positions are professions that aren’t traditionally even considered by most student-athletes” Roosevelt Davis, MSN, RN, told Nurse.org. “And, in my experience, even less football players and men of color are exposed to the nursing realm. I encourage men, especially black men and people of color, to 100% consider nursing as a career option.” Davis was inspired to become a nurse after a close friend died in a car accident. He earned his MSN when his football career was over, and is now a pediatric cardiovascular ICU nurse in California.

Larry Meneghini of Chicago decided to follow in his mom’s footsteps instead of his dad’s. He told Nurse.org he as seen many of the stigmas and stereotypes associated with male nurses fade over the years. “Some people out there think that guys who become nurses are doing it because they can’t get into medical school. If you truly care about nursing, you’re not going to care about what people think,” he said. “You can’t put a gender on tender loving care.”

Why should more men consider becoming a nurse? Mostly for the same reasons they would consider any job. According to Minority Nurse Journal and Nurse.org, the perks of being a nurse include:

Career demand and stability: The demand for general nurse practitioners is expected to grow 45% though 2030, while the need for registered nurses is predicted to exceed 3.19 million by 2024.

Stable pay: Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $75,330 as of 2021 — in Georgia, it was $71,510 — but that’s just an average across all specialties. The highest paying specialty currently earns about $183K annually.

Flexibility: Hospitals are staffed 24/7, so there is a shift for everyone. Not a morning person? There’s a night shift with your name on it. Need to work part time? Not a problem.

Travel opportunities: A lot has been written about travel nurses since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The pay can be higher than normal salaries, and you can explore new areas of the country.

Scholarships: To entice more men to join the profession, the American Association for Men in Nursing and numerous other groups offer scholarships to pay for schooling.

“The good thing about nursing is that I’ve never been out of work,” Chicago’s Meneghini said. “I never worried about where my next paycheck would come from. If I ever lost my job on a Monday, I’d line something up on a Tuesday.”

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