Nursing is a field that has long been dominated by women, and while women still make up the majority of the workforce, new research has shown that more men are starting to enroll in various nursing degree programs. This is promising news, considering the fact that more nurses, both male and female, will be needed to meet the rising demand for qualified healthcare professionals to provide care for America’s aging baby boomer population and men can bring many qualities to the nursing profession. So just how many men are being educated as registered nurses?
In 2013 the Consensus Bureau looked over data gathered in the 2011 American Community Survey that showed that the percentage of male registered nurses in practice more than tripled from 2.7 to 9.6 between 1970 and 2011. Despise this swell, it will still take some years for the number of male nurses to become equal with the number of female nurses, especially since there’s already such a large gap between the two groups. This growing number has been partially contributed to the Title VIII funding changes put in place by the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002.
Higher Degree Programs
In terms of advanced degree programs, the beginning of the 21st century saw a decline in the number of males enrolled in masters-level programs in 2001 when compared with 2000. In 2003, there was also a decline in the number of males enrolled in doctoral nursing programs. Between 2004 and 2005, the number of males enrolled in master’s programs for nursing became stagnant but seemed to increase afterwards. It should be noted that 17 fewer schools reported data in 2005 when compared to 2004, and there were no signs of similar slowdown with female nurse enrollment.
Connecting the Dots
The growing number of males enrolling in nursing programs is promising for the profession. Since 2004, the increase in male nursing education program enrollment has correlated to a growing number of males graduating from those programs and becoming part of the healthcare workforce.
More men are realizing the need for qualified nurses to meet the steadily growing demand. Hopefully this trend will continue as more men start to realize just how satisfying and varied the field of nursing truly is.