Why Nursing Needs Men

As I listen to nurses, one of the things that inevitably gets brought up as a searing challenge in their career is feeling like there are not enough nurses to give the one on one care and attention to their patients that they want to give. Across the board, this is not necessarily a business decision in an attempt to save costs, but rather a consequence of a critical nursing shortage in the US.

One of the ways to overcome this critical shortage is to get more males interested in this demanding, yet highly rewarding, career. Although nursing has historically  been a female dominated field, that stereotype is slowly decreasing as more and more males enter the profession. Just to give you some perspective on the gender gap, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2011 there were 3.2 million female nurses, compared to only 330,000 males.

Groups such as the American Assembly of Men in Nursing create forums to combat this discrepancy. The  group has chapters where  nurses–male or female– can support, encourage, and advocate for ways to increase the number of males succeeding in nursing.

Derek Drake,  Director of Nursing, Emergency and Trauma Services at Renown Health, is leading the way. He helped create Nevada’s first American Assembly of Men in Nursing chapter. In an interview published by Renown Health Best Medicine, Drake explains, “I want to provide a framework for nurses in Northern Nevada, as a group, to meet, to discuss and influence factors that affect men as nurses,” he says. “I want the group to help expand on the expertise of men in nursing, promoting gender diversity and inclusion and leading to improved gender balance in nursing school and the workplace.”

There are so many reason why this is an incredible career path for men, including competitive salaries, a solid and stable career that shows no signs of slowing down, appealing retirement benefits, and flexible schedules.  In addition, there are many different areas of nursing to choose from, including but not limited to:

  •  Registered nurses: assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, maintain medical records, and administer care. Licensing or registration is required.

  • Nurse anesthetists: administer anesthesia and monitor patients’ recovery from anesthesia. Specialized graduate education is required.

  • Nurse midwives: diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process and provide gynecological care. Specialized graduate education is required.

  • Nurse practitioners: diagnose and treat illnesses and may order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests. In some states they may prescribe medication. Specialized graduate education is required.

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses: provide patient care and may work under the supervision of a registered nurse. They must be licensed.

Source: Men in Nursing Occupations American Community Survey Highlight Report

Some of the best nurses I know are male. They are smart and caring and bring so much to the profession and to the team. I’d like to interview a couple of them in my series The Courage of A Nurse in upcoming blogs.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about what you all think about males in the nursing profession by leaving a comment for me below.
And if you know of  someone who you think would make an amazing nurse, male or female, encourage them to look into this incredibly needed and rewarding field. Our communities need them!




  1. I have a great deal of respect for male nurses ever since I started working on a unit that has many of them. Ps, why can’t they just be called “nurses”… Why “male nurses”? Hate the stigma! Personally, I’ve had several instances where patients have become verbally and/or physically aggressive toward me whether it be from confusion or just plain non-compliance. Sometimes being a 5’3″ girl doesn’t cut it. Having the guys around makes me feel safe and I always can count on them to step in and give me extra help, support me, and stand up for me. On the other hand, they can be some of the most sensitive people – delivering the utmost compassion to patients and their families when its needed. My unit wouldn’t be the same without them.


    1. Hi Tori! Absolutely! I think having guys around bring a wonderful element to the floor. And they are, like you say, some of the most sensitive and caring people. We could definitely use more of them around. Perhaps one day we won’t have to call them “male” or “female”; perhaps one day the distribution will be so equal it would be silly to differentiate between them. That will be a good day. Thanks for commenting!


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