There is nothing wrong with being a guy and wanting to pursue the nursing profession!
Nurses are needed, however, don't buy into that "there is a nursing shortage" mumbo jumbo. There *is* a shortage, but they mean a shortage of nurses actually working. There are plenty of qualified individuals out there but many places are increasing their staffing ratios (more patients per nurse) because it's supposedly "better for the budget;" however, research has shown that it is actually more cost effective to hire more staff because you're less likely to end up with errors or mistakes. Long story short, there are a lot of nurses but jobs can be hard to find, not just for new grads but for experienced nurses, too. I'm not trying to turn you away from the profession, I'm just stating the facts.
Back in the day, males were actually the dominant gender in nursing but then it shifted to become more female-dominant. Male nurses are making a come back, however. We have a lot of male nurses where I work and even when I was in nursing school
I came across a lot of male nurses.
Pay varies depending on the area. Areas with a higher cost of living will pay more compared to areas with a lower cost of living. I know places in New England pay $40+/hr...California may pay $50+/hr. That's because of the higher cost of living. Then you have shift differentials if you work evenings/nights and you might have specialty pay factored in if you work in a speciality unit. I know my base pay is more in my area (progressive care, basically an ICU-stepdown) than in the ER because my area is considered a specialty area. For the record, I live in central Texas and I started out at $23.50/hr as a new grad + I get shift differentials...I make nearly $30/hr with $35/hr being my overtime rate. As for the job description, nurses do a lot...there are a lot of threads regarding that here, just do a search
A two-year degree can be obtained at a community college and a four-year degree is typically done at a university. Education is pretty much the same and you take the same NCLEX...what separates a BSN from an ADN, however, is that you get your nursing theory and research with your BSN. You may also have more clinical opportunities, including a public health rotation. I have had rotations in that along with med-surg/geriatric med-surg, OB/peds, mental health, critical care & practicum (you get placed on a unit of interest and you precept with another for a certain # of hours). Having a BSN also opens up more opportunities for advancement, such as positions as a nurse manager, educator or positions in research. You can go on to get your MSN. As far as pay goes, ADN-prepared nurses are payed the same as BSN-prepared nurses.
If you decide to pursue nursing, do what is financially feasible for you. I highly suggest going for your BSN (four-year) degree, though. There are a lot of hospitals that are pushing for BSN-prepared nurses.