Bringing in the Boys: How to Attract More Male Nurses

  1. How do you feel about men in nursing? Do you support the growth or do you have concerns? This article will explore a few of the ways experts support more men entering the profession.

    Bringing in the Boys: How to Attract More Male Nurses

    Men in nursing - it's a simple phrase that can bring many emotions to the surface for nurses of both genders. You might feel that we need more men to level out the amount of estrogen on units across the country. Or, you may believe that the pay inequalities between male and female nurses are already enough of an issue that advocating for more men will only compound the discrepancy.

    No matter what side of the aisle you land on, it's an argument worth discussing. According to the United States Census Bureau, the proportion of male registered nurses has increased from 2.7% in 1970 to 9.6% in 2013, and for licensed practical and vocational nurses, it has risen from 3.9% to 8.1% during the same time. And, whether you believe we are in the midst of a nursing shortage or not - there remain many nurse vacancies that could be filled by men.

    So, what are some of the ways experts advocate using to increase the number of men in nursing? Let's discuss them below.

    Starting Conversations Early

    High schools help our young people choose professions. They complete personality tests that identify their strongest traits and passions to help determine a career that aligns with the strengths identified. But, are young men and women supported to break down the gender walls to choose the profession that is right for them? Are young men who score high in compassion and helping others encouraged to consider nursing as a career or are they encouraged to find a health and human services field more suited to men?

    To increase the number of men in nursing, we must continue to break down gender roles. One strategy is to begin conversations with men from an early age about entering nursing school right out of high school or in early adulthood. Discussing non-traditional nursing roles with men might also be helpful. A few of the areas of nursing that tend to see a higher male population include intensive care, cardiac care, emergency rooms, and flight nursing. If we can attract men to enter nursing at an early age and sustain a long career, we will see diversity within the profession.

    Offer Support in College

    The first day of nursing school might be when many men receive the first glimpse into the future of their careers - one of being the minority. Whether you are in the U.S. or across the pond, nursing vacancies continue to be an issue, and many feel that attracting more men to nursing is a viable option to fill these vacancies.

    So, how do we support men and offer encouragement to enter nursing school? Coventry University in the UK is offering male nursing students a $3,800 stipend for school to encourage men to choose nursing. The Oregon Center for Nursing launched their "Are You Man Enough to be a Nurse" Campaign in 2002 to inspire men to enter the profession. And, many schools around the globe are using their marketing dollars to run social media campaigns to attract young Millennial and Generation Zee's men to nursing programs.

    Provide Mentoring

    Every nurse needs a mentor. Finding a quality mentor is one of the best professional relationships you will ever have, regardless of your gender.

    The University of Texas Arlington Online offers support for mentoring in nursing and states that one role of a mentor is to support minority and male students. Diversifying mentors and future nurses can lessen future health disparities in our society by providing diverse role models. It might also be a good idea for male nurses to find a fellow male nurse as their mentor. Offering strong male role models to new graduates can provide guidance in regards to all aspects of a successful nursing career.

    Set Goals

    If you want change in any area of life, you must set goals. Advancing Men in Nursing (AAMN) believed this and initiated a campaign to encourage men to enter the nursing profession. Their goal?

    The AAMN wants to increase the number of men enrolling into nursing programs by 20% by 2020 - also known as the "20 X 20" initiative. As part of the program, they have created the Best School for Men in Nursing Awards Program. To be eligible for this award, AAMN will review the school's marketing material, strategic plans to increase gender diversity in nursing, course syllabi, and other information highlighting the program's dedication to expanding the diversity in nursing.

    On Target?

    Are we on the right track by offering stipends to men who want to become nurses? Should we continue to run campaigns and tell young men the benefits of a career in nursing? Or, should we stop and allow whatever happens to our profession happen? Tell us your thoughts about this important subject, we would love to hear them.
    Do you like this Article? Click Like?

  2. Visit melissa.mills1117 profile page

    About melissa.mills1117, BSN

    Melissa is a Quality Assurance Nurse, professor, writer, and business owner. She enjoys empowering other nurses to find their passions and create a unique nursing career that fits their passions, desires, and gifts. She is the owner of melissamills.net where you can see more writing samples and read her blog and co-owner of enursingresources.com, a start-up Nursing CE company that will offer online courses soon.

    Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 185; Likes: 569
    Freelance Writer, Nurse Case Manager, Professor; from OH , US

    Read My Articles

    149 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    Good article! Personally, I don't think anything "special" should be done for men who go into nursing; especially offering a monetary dangling carrot...that would be insulting to the girls. Men should apply and be accepted into nursing programs according to the same criteria and standards as females. I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for this statement but I think most women could be a nurse but a large number of men, maybe most men, could not. So "enticing" someone into the nursing program is likely going to end up as a failed endeavor...especially nursing. I went into nursing because construction had dried up and it was the fastest degree I could earn that payed the most money; graduated at age 43. And since I came from an industrial construction background I enjoy working inside, on the ground, and with a majority of women - which has been a pleasant change. I'm not particularly compassionate, I'm not a hand holder, and I'm no good at offering words of comfort at someone's time of need...that's why I stuck with pediatrics - elementary school level. Otherwise nursing would not have worked out for me.

    I enjoyed your article and I hope it generates a lot of diverse discussion. Thank you!
  4. by   klone
    Until such time that women's salaries are dollar for dollar the same as men's instead of $.86 to their $1.00, I don't feel particularly compelled to entice more men to the nursing field.
  5. by   Dranger
    I am a male nurse, there should be NO artificial push to get men into nursing just as there should be NO artificial push to get women into STEM fields.

    This diversity/inclusiveness BS is getting out of hand. I cringe every time I see that we "need" more female engineers or male teachers....people go where they want.
    Last edit by Dranger on Aug 29
  6. by   Daisy4RN
    Quote from Dranger
    I am a male nurse, there should be NO artificial push to get men into nursing just as there shouldn't be any artificial push to get women in to STEM fields.

    This diversity/inclusiveness BS is getting out of hand.
    Yea, no offense to males out there but I agree. I don't see the need to entice males into nursing. If you want to, go ahead, if you don't, don't.
  7. by   Dranger
    Quote from klone
    Until such time that women's salaries are dollar for dollar the same as men's instead of $.86 to their $1.00, I don't feel particularly compelled to entice more men to the nursing field.
    Salaries vs wages vs overall earnings

    Negotiation

    The studies I have seen are so full of holes I wonder how they even got published. I am not going to delve into this topic but it has been debunked so many times ad nauseum I grow tired of seeing it.
  8. by   Dranger
    Quote from Daisy4RN
    Yea, no offense to males out there but I agree. I don't see the need to entice males into nursing. If you want to, go ahead, if you don't, don't.
    Right, same thing for pushing women into male dominated fields.
  9. by   Davey Do
    Quote from OldDude
    I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for this statement but I think most women could be a nurse but a large number of men, maybe most men, could not.
    No flack here, OldDude! I'm in agreement.
    Quote from OldDude
    "enticing" someone into the nursing program is likely going to end up as a failed endeavor.
    Yeah! You could even go as far as to deter some men who go into nursing for the wrong reason!

    mel-nurse-2-
  10. by   klone
    Quote from Dranger
    Salaries vs wages vs overall earnings

    Negotiation

    The studies I have seen are so full of holes I wonder how they even got published. I am not going to delve into this topic but it has been debunked so many times ad nauseum I grow tired of seeing it.
    That's a convenient response.
  11. by   FolksBtrippin
    I think we all know how to bring more men into nursing...

    Elective OB class

  12. by   broughden
    Im a male nursing student. Im also a feminist and advocate strongly for women's rights and equality.
    But for the life of me I can't really figure out what the point of this is?
    Is there a specific role or need that only men can fulfill for which we need to recruit more?
    Are there nursing schools with empty spots, that could be filled if they recruited more male students?

    Sure there are some rural hospitals and community health centers across middle America that could use more staff, but Im not sure how recruiting men into nursing will solve that. No one wants to live in bumfudge nowhere, male or female, which is why they already have those openings.
    So I guess I dont see the problem, that the author's advocacy is trying to solve. What will recruiting specifically more men fix?
  13. by   Dranger
    Quote from klone
    That's a convenient response.
    No sense delving into a conversation where people are just going to bring emotions into the fray. The studies are blatantly skewed for an agenda, but most people either have very little knowledge of statistics or didn't bother to actually read them.

    Not worth debating.
  14. by   tnbutterfly
    Quote from Dranger
    No sense delving into a conversation where people are just going to bring emotions into the fray. The studies are blatantly skewed for an agenda, but most people either have very little knowledge of statistics or didn't bother to actually read them.

    Not worth debating.
    Perhaps you need to look at the interactive results from the allnurses 2018 Salary Survey in which almost 17,000 nurses (including males) showed that male nurses do indeed make more than female nurses.

    How Much Do Nurses Make? - 2018 Salary Survey Part 4

close