The nursing industry is still dominated by women, about 90 percent depending on the type of nursing. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor, the number of men who work as nurses has tripled since 1970, rising from 2.7 to 9.6 percent.

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Nursing remains one of the essential careers in our health care system and the workforce should reflect the nation’s population. When it comes to gender, it does not, but it should, as Blake Smith, Blake Smith, MSN, RN, incoming president of the American Association of Men in Nursing, says in a video posted on Politico., says in a video posted on Politico.
Among reasons for men to enter the profession Smith provides is that it’s a career of integrity, it’s fulfilling, and it’s a way in which one can give back to the community. Men in nursing can also help increase awareness of preventable and relatable health problems among men and boys.

Some male patients appreciate a male nurse caring for them rather than a female, and more male nurses will also help to shatter the stereotype that nurses are female. Smith admits that men who go into nursing do face those obstacles sometimes, but those are going away as new generations come into play and have different outlooks and feelings.

Currently, men comprise 11.7 percent of nursing students in baccalaureate programs, 10.8 percent of master’s students, 9.6 percent of research-focused doctoral students, and 11.7 percent of practice-focused doctoral students, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. While there have been advances in promoting careers in nursing for men, there is still much work to be done.

This said, there are some states where the number of men in nursing is growing a little closer to the number of female nurses. For example, for every five female nurses in California, there is one male nurse. Nebraska is the only state that has more male nurses than female nurses, with approximately three male nurses to one female.
Campaign for Action is proud to partner with organizations like the American Association for Men in Nursing, part of its Champion Nursing Council, to encourage men of all ages to become nurses and partners in leading change and advancing health care. Men in nursing can help increase awareness of preventable health problems among men and boys.

Adriana Perez is an assistant professor of nursing and senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She is an adviser to the Campaign on expanding diversity in the nursing workforce.

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