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Six prominent nurses speak out about why so few men choose nursing as a profession.
BY THE EDITORS OF Nursing2003
FOR DECADES, the figures have changed little: In 1980, 2.7% of RNs were men. By 2000, the figure had doubled to 5.4%, but men remained only a small minority of nurses.
In this first installment of a continuing series on issues in nursing, we asked six prominent nurses to tell us why they think so few men enter the profession-and how nursing can attract more men to its ranks. Here's what they had to say.
Most people have no idea of the opportunities available for nurses. In my health care career, I've been in the military and worked in primary care, emergency departments, spinal cord and head trauma rehabilitation centers, intensive care units, and even an air medical transport service. Variety certainly is the spice of life for a nurse!!
I can't think of a more rewarding experience than saving someone's life. That may be one of the reasons that so many men work in emergency departments and critical care units. Nurses are the "front line" of patient care, and our work has a huge impact on survival and complication rates.
Educating the public about the value of nurses will help change some of the stereotypes that keep men out of nursing. The Johnson & Johnson campaign is an outstanding example and a step in the right direction. We should start educating young people early-in elementary, middle, and high schools-to help them understand that nursing offers opportunities for everyone. For older males, scholarships, college credit for life and job experience, and more attention focused on men looking for a career change will help recruit men into nursing.
My 20-year nursing career has been challenging, rewarding, and lucrative. Given how well nursing has treated me, I'm amazed we don't have more men in nursing.
Nursing is rewarding. Let's make sure this message isn't lost on men who could be the nurses of tomorrow.
"Given how well nursing has treated me, I'm amazed that we don't have more men in nursing"
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