Article spotlights shortage of males in nursing
It was men who attended the world’s first nursing school in India in 250 B.C., yet today, the percentage of practicing male nurses in the United States hovers at a mere six to seven percent. How can that be?
“Men in Nursing” is the featured article in the Fall issue of Innovations in Nursing & Health magazine, published by ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. The article discusses the gender disparity in the nursing field, why stereotypes endure and what can be done to encourage more men to join the profession to correct the imbalance.
The reasons for the imbalance stems from the simple fact that nursing is traditionally perceived as a “woman’s job.” The nursing profession needs to place greater emphasis on recruiting men for a variety of reasons, particularly the projected shortage of 260,000 nurses in the United States by 2025.
Teri Pipe, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation says, “At ASU we are always looking for more ways to provide an inclusive learning environment. We look for ways to provide positive role models. We need to do a better job of getting the word out about all of the roles in nursing, the variety of things people can do and the flexibility that comes with a nursing degree.”
Pipe said opportunities abound in everything from informatics to working in communities critical-care units and emergency departments, and performing research, as well as administrative roles.
For Joshua Stark, 27, who is in his final year at ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, it’s a way to connect with his fellow man. Stark recently completed an OB/GYN rotation and said the new dads were appreciative of having a male nurse on-hand during labor and delivery. “The dads loved having a male nurse because they weren’t the odd man out,” Stark said. “Nursing is a field for intelligent, passionate people who truly care about others. None of those qualities are specific to either gender.”
The article suggests that nursing’s academic leaders should partner with schools and community-based organizations to reach potential students, offering loans and grants that target students in accelerated-degree nursing programs where the students are more likely to be male. The American Assembly for Men in Nursing recently introduced the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action, pushing for an increase in the percentage of male nursing students from its current 12 percent to 20 percent by 2020.
To obtain a copy of the Fall issue of Innovations in Nursing and Health magazine, visit https://nursingandhealth.asu.edu/magazine