This blog post excerpts an article in the Spring 2015 issue of HealthStream's PX Advisor, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for improving the patient experience.
One of the issues (as it relates to a potential nursing shortage) is that nursing is, for the most part, a single gender profession. Many have called for an increase in diversity in the nursing field and to recruit from previously untapped populations. Interestingly, women have made inroads into formerly male-dominated professions. Yet, the ability of men moving into the nursing field has lagged significantly behind.
Current Status of Men in Nursing
In 1970, only 2.7% of registered nurses were men. By 2011, that number had only increased to 9.6%. In the same year, it is also interesting to note that 16.8% of nurses were non-Caucasian. One article has reported that we are further behind in gender diversity in nursing than in racial and ethnic diversification.
Despite this gender gap in nursing, men tend to make more money than women. Men out-earned women as nurses in 2011—$60,700 to $51,100. This gender pay gap, however, is smaller in nursing than in other professions. Men are also more likely than women to enter leadership roles and specialized fields, such as nurse anesthetist, where salaries are much higher and pay approximately $160,000/year.
As might be expected, the percentage of men enrolled in nursing programs is also small, but it is growing. Correspondingly, the percentage of registered nurses who are men is also increasing in a slow, but steady, rate.
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