By Christina Orlovsky, senior staff writer
The number of nurses may be on the rise in the United States,
but one population remains highly underrepresented: males. In an effort to
increase the number of men interested in the nursing profession, schools,
organizations and corporations are devising a variety of unique recruitment
methods aimed at demonstrating the benefits of nursing for both genders.
In 2005, statistics from the Heath Resources and Services
Administration’s National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) reported
that just 5.5 percent of the nation’s nearly 3 million RNs were male.
Certain states have a higher percentage of males in the
profession, including Oklahoma, where 8 percent of the state’s nurses are men.
For the past two years, Oklahoma’s efforts to increase that number took the
shape of a “Men in Nursing” calendar, designed to depict nursing as “a real
career for real men.” Similar calendars have been created by the Mississippi
Hospital Association and the Nebraska Hospital Association, which aimed to
eliminate stereotypes of the nursing profession and open the eyes of males in
the state to the diverse opportunities available to men in nursing 365 days of
In North Carolina, where the percentage of males in nursing is
6.4 percent, efforts are underway to recruit military men into nursing careers
once their military duty is fulfilled. In Aug. 2005, the North Carolina Center
for Nursing awarded a $10,000 grant to the school of nursing at East Carolina
University, in Greenville, North Carolina, a school recognized in 2004 by the
American Assembly for Men in Nursing as the best school in the nation for male
nursing students. This grant allows the school to partner with area military
bases to encourage men with military training and experience in health care to
consider nursing as a post-military career, and to persuade military nurses to
continue their health care practice in the civilian world. The program will be
led by Phil Julian, RN, BSN, MSN, an East Carolina University clinical nursing
instructor and former Navy corpsman and Air Force nurse.
Statistics show that while state percentages of males in
nursing are low, the United States military boasts a high percentage of male
health care providers. Roughly 30 percent of nurses in the military are men, in
addition to about 60 percent of the military’s corpsmen and orderlies—military
ranks that are targeted as potential civilian heath care candidates. Military
nurses also reflect high education rates, with educations at the baccalaureate,
masters and doctoral levels, putting them in the valuable position of potential
faculty candidates. According to Billy Bevill, RN, MSN, associate director of
recruitment and retention for the North Carolina Center for Nursing, the grant
project aims to encourage the transition from the military into both civilian
health care professional and faculty roles.
While state-by-state efforts are in full swing, in 2005 the
American Assembly for Men in Nursing launched a nationwide effort to recruit
males into nursing when it began production on a documentary designed to promote
the field of nursing to men. The 27-minute program, produced by Davis Gray
Productions with funding from Kaiser Permanente, the Johnson and Johnson
Campaign for Nursing’s Future, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
and the Nursing2006 Foundation, will feature interviews with 10 males in nursing
careers or education. Career Encounters: Men in Nursing will be made
available for broadcast by public television stations and for distribution to
high schools, colleges, libraries and career counseling centers.
“We expect that this program will go a long way toward
changing some of the stereotyping and misplaced perceptions that can discourage
males who might otherwise become professional nurses,” said Jim Raper, RN, DSN,
CRNP, JD, AAMN president.
For more information, visit the American Assembly for Men in Nursing Web site.
© 2006. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.