Why Men Should Consider a Nursing Career
Sep. 17, 2015
Nursing has long been thought of as a female profession, and for many years, it was actually one that was barred to men. In fact, some schools still banned men from their nursing programs as late as 1981, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the practice unconstitutional. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the real driver of change has been supply and demand in the nursing field. For the last several years, demand has exceeded supply enough to force some major changes in recruiting and hiring practices. Today, we know that men are just as eager as women to begin this exciting career!
THE ORIGINAL GENDER DIVIDE
What caused nursing to once be almost completely limited to women? It turns out that the Civil War played a big part. As men either went to war or had to work on the farms to cover for those who were fighting, women stepped into nursing roles. According to USA Today, this started a trend that came to full fruition in the early 1900s. By then, schools were only accepting women, and the same was true of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. It wouldn’t be until after the Korean War that the Nurse Corps would accept men.
Despite these things, some men managed to make it into the nursing fields in civilian hospitals before the Supreme Court forced schools to open their doors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf), 2.7 percent of registered nurses were men in 1970. Now, 9.6 percent are men. For nurses overall (regardless of specialty or classification), men hold 9 percent of positions. The specialty with the most men is nurse anesthetist, with a whopping 41 percent.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE UPSURGE IN MALE NURSING?
What drives men to enter nursing? USA Today presented the story of Ryan McFarland, a registered nurse working for a hospital in Tennessee. McFarland says that he was drawn to nursing by a fascination with the human body and a family history that involved nursing. He notes that it’s a far manlier job than it may seem. Bandaging patients and dealing with bedpans, according to McFarland, are things that many people “can’t stomach.” Moving patients from bed to bed is another manly aspect of the job. It requires plenty of physical strength if the patients aren’t able to walk or at least help move themselves.
Another interviewee, Tom Marquart, is a senior nursing student at a local college. Marquart says that he has dabbled in other fields ranging from history to construction, but realized that nursing was his calling after starting his education in the field. To him, some of the main drawing points are nursing’s emphasis on prevention and its ability to help the community.
Nursing is a career filled with opportunity and career satisfaction for everyone. Let Concorde help you realize your potential in the exciting world of health care. For information about becoming an RN, VN, or LPN — or to enter our programs — call us for the information you need to make a good decision.
Ready to join the growing ranks of male nurses? Concorde has a program for you.