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Equal Opportunity: Not All Nurses Are Women

Alicia Robinson

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    Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and nurses are in high demand. However, what is surprising is that men remain a minority among nurses in the United States, even though more men are choosing to enter the nursing profession.


    Men as Nurses

    Prior to the 1500s, the nursing profession was dominated by men as women were not considered suitable to be nurses. After the 1500s, nursing was considered as women’s work, and the idea of male nurses was not looked upon favorably. In fact, male nurses were frequently discriminated against all the way up to modern times.

    Consider these statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau:

    • Out of 3.2 million nurses, only 330,000 are men
    • Over the past 40 years, the number of men working as RNs has increased from 2.7 to 9.6 percent of all employed RNs
    • The number of male LVNs has increased from 3.9 percent from 1970 to 8.1 percent in 2011
    • 41 percent of nurse anesthetists are male
    • The average wage for male nurses in 2011 was $60,700 a year
    • Male nurses earn almost 10 percent more than their female counterparts, which helps raise wages for both genders

    Advantages to Being a Male Nurse

    With the demand for nurses on the rise, and healthcare facilities trying to provide equal opportunity for both genders, more opportunities will be available for male nurses.

    As a male nurse, you can follow in the footsteps of famous trailblazing male nurses throughout history, including:

    • James Derham – first African-American to be recognized as a medical practitioner after forming a medical practice in 1783 after purchasing his freedom from slavery.
    • Walt Whitman – the famous poet who volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. Many of his writings were inspired by his time as a nurse.
    • LeRoy Craig – fought for male nurses to be commissioned as officers, just as female nurses were in the military.
    • 2nd Lt Edward T. Lyon – first man receiving a commission with the U.S. Nurse Corps as a reserve officer.

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