Changing Careers to Nursing as 35 year old man

Nurses Men

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I am currently employed in IT but hate it. I've been considering a career change. My wife is a nurse and I am 35 with two young children. There is a local tech school that has an ADN program. I already have a Bachelors in Healthcare Management from a reputable school and have several questions about my possible career change?

Is there still a stigma toward male nurses?

Would my bachelors in Healthcare Management combined with an ADN put me on equal ground with new BSN grads as far as the job market for new nurses?

Do male nurses tend to specialize in certain areas? I know one thing I absolutely am not interested in is long term care.

Any other advice for someone in my situation? All advice would be greatly appreciated.



2 Posts

If I where you, I would check in your local area and see if there is any accelerated BSN programs available. If so, complete the prerequisite requirements and apply. I see no reason to settle for an ADN when you could complete your BSN just as quick... being that you have already completed your bachelors, you could also check and see if there is a physician assistant program in your area.


38 Posts

My wife is a new RN, and I am 31 and starting the last 2 years of my BSN at nursing school. I have not encountered anything but positive reactions regarding being a man, and a career-changer.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Female nurse here. I encourage you to look into an accelerated BSN. I work with a few male nurses and they are awesome. They are in may different areas of the hospital and I don't think there is a stigma atached to male nursing. Best of luck and welcome to nursing.

FMF Corpsman, MSN, RN

1 Article; 191 Posts


i've been in the civilian healthcare related fields since the early 80's. i've been in nursing, education, and administration. i much prefer the hands on nursing, but in specialty units, particularly emergency medicine, or trauma care. to be quite honest, i actually loathe sick people. i do not deal well with vomit. i can handle being up to my elbows in someone’s chest and doing open heart massage, but if someone pukes on me, forget it. i have to go shower. i have always said thank god, there are those nurses who love med-surg nursing or pediatric nursing, and i've heard them say the same thing about er and trauma, because it just isn't for them either. i am the kind of person who likes to see the immediate result of nursing, given a code or trauma situation, i can get that quick result, whereas on a regular floor, outside of the occasional cardiac arrest, or post-op complication such as pulmonary emboli, etc., i’d have to wait for several days or up to a week to get the kind of result to medical response i can get inside of an hour where i work. don’t get me wrong, it isn’t for everyone and it isn’t always blood and guts all the time. it just is more times than it isn’t and that’s what i prefer. i like it when i love what i do more often that i hate it. for me, that’s what made it worth getting out of bed and going to work every day, because i loved what i did. today, i’m retired, and i seriously miss it. actually, i’m disabled retired and there is a big difference. had i not been forced out, i’d be like any other marine; they would have had to pry my cold dead fingers off the door to get me out.


39 Posts

Specializes in PCU/Telemetry.

I've noticed a lot of male nurses in ER & ICU's but overall I just wish there were more male nurses everywhere. I think nursing could be improved in many ways if the workforce were more equal instead of remaining vast majority female. I really haven't noticed a stigma against male nurses at all. Once in a while a female pt may not want a male nurse to bathe her or something like that but it's rarely a real issue.


23 Posts

Specializes in RN-OB, Postpartum, Neonatal Nursing.

You need the BSN to be marketable. There is a huge movement toward a majority BSN nursing workforce. My husband was an IT guy in the Marines and then got out and went to nursing school. He has his BSN and is now a commissioned officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. He went back to school when he was 28 and graduated when he was 32. We have a son! It is very doable!!!! I also have my BSN and am making a lot more money as a BSN RN. Best wishes to you!


21 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric.

I've been an LVN working in Psych for over 6 years. I actually became a nurse at 35 years old. It's been my experience that most men tend to gravitate towards Psych or Emergency. You can find male nurses in almost every specialty, though. There are some difficulties that men might find working in maternity or L&D, but from certain patients, not the staff.


2 Posts

I agree to look for an accelerated BSN program. I also had a previous BS before going in to nursing, but hospitals want the BSN. Magnet hospitals are hiring almost exclusively BSNs. I just graduated a few months ago and went through an accelerated program while having two young children - it's tough, but definitely doable. I agree with the previous poster: I would love to see more male nurses in the mix! Good luck!


2 Posts

I was also employed in the IT industry before moving to nursing. I worked as a Unix system administrator for over 15 years for a laboratory company.

I was 36 when I graduated with an ADN (and had a previous BS in Computer Science).

I didn't do a BS accelerated program because of my work scheduled; I worked full-time in my previous position as a sysadmin while going to school full-time. I'll do a bridge in the next couple years and eventually my MSN/DPN (depending on how quickly my state implements the change over).

Where I live there seems to be a statistically large number of male nurses, many of them transplants from the IT industry. I personally work with two male nurses who were in the tech industry - one a programmer and the other one a network admin.


DB7721 said:
. . . Is there still a stigma toward male nurses?

Perhaps, but if so it's virtually imperceptible.

DB7721 said:
Would my bachelors in Healthcare Management combined with an ADN put me on equal ground with new BSN grads as far as the job market for new nurses?

Unlikely. The BSN is the new holy grail of nursing. Though this varies somewhat across the US, the trend is toward the BSN as the minimum educational credential. Virtually every hospital nursing position now states "BSN required" where in the recent past it may have been "BSN preferred." Increasingly, even nursing homes are restricting hiring to BSN's (at least in my area). Plan for the BSN. One route is to get your ADN, pass the NCLEX and do an on-line RN-BSN. If you do the ADN at a CC and choose a RN-BSN program at UT-A, U Wyoming, OU (or any one of dozen reasonably priced programs) you could wind up spending less than $18k for both the ADN and BSN. That's less than most BSN programs in 4 year schools.

DB7721 said:
Do male nurses tend to specialize in certain areas? I know one thing I absolutely am not interested in is long term care.

I think you see more guys in ED's and Pscyh settings. Though I feel the same way about LTC, I would caution you that the with the current nursing surplus situation (the case in most parts of the country), the odds are good that you may wind up working in a nursing home. I graduated from a very well-known, highly respected CC nursing program that actually is significantly more selective than most of the 4-year programs in the area. Hospitals across the area are filled with ADN's from this CC and prior to 2008, they actively recruited from the program, with many students being offered positions prior to graduation. Something on the order of 80 to 90% of those who passed their boards worked at hospitals with few going to LTC. That's all changed now and for my 2010 graduating class, those percentages are reversed. This is not a unique situation and is not meant to discourage you, only to let you know that it may no longer be realistic to expect to have much of a choice about not working in LTC.

DB7721 said:
Any other advice for someone in my situation? All advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

You can do it. I was older than you are now when I started nursing school and worked 60+ hours per week while in school. I would advise that you do not take any student loans if at all possible. At 35, it's possible you could be saddled with paying those loans off even when you retire - take a look at this article: College loans follow some to old age - Sun Sentinel As suggested above, the least expensive route to RN is through your local CC. You will likely need the BSN but once you are an RN, there are a number of options open to you to do that. You may even be lucky enough to land a nursing job with your ADN and have your employer pay for your BSN. Finally, make sure that whatever school and program you choose is fully accredited. This means not only nursing accreditation like NLNAC and CCNE but also regional academic accreditation such as Middle States, Western Association, New England, etc. This may turn out to be very important should you decided to continue your nursing education.

Best of luck to you.

Orca, ADN, ASN, RN

2,066 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC.

The type of program you attend may be decided by the time commitment. In my case, I had a bachelor's degree in a social science going in. The BSN programs in my area essentially expected me to be available all day, whereas an ADN program in my area had just started a track geared toward people like me, who couldn't afford to quit their day jobs while they went to school. I'm an administrator now, so it hasn't hurt my career at all. If all things are equal, though, go for the BSN.

As far as stigmas, those are pretty much gone. Men have been in nursing long enough and in large enough numbers that we are just part of the environment now. Women are still the majority, but not by as wide a margin as was once the case.

Good luck on your career change. You got an earlier start than me. I finished at 40.

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