The concept of diversity is important in all industries; perhaps especially in nursing where nurses attend to patients across the gender, ethnic, social and religious spectrums. Impacting the overall need for nurses in the medical profession is also the need for nurses from all demographics to fill positions that were classically designated for women based upon an antiquated, turn of the century belief that only women could be caregivers. Nurses, regardless of gender or other concerns, are a valuable addition to any medical facility, hospital or clinic and each bring a wide range of strengths into the nursing profession.
Historically speaking, until the early 1900s, nursing was a profession for men only. Today, only around six percent of working nurses and around 10 percent of baccalaureate and master’s nursing students are men. Given the current nursing shortage that continues to challenge the medical profession from LPN through doctorate- level nursing programs, the demand for qualified and dedicated nurses is high and for men, a career in health care that offers competitive pay, flexible hours and the ability to combine science and care giving in the hospital or clinical setting can be a rewarding career path.
One of the solutions to the nursing shortage, as well as for men interested in pursuing a career in nursing is to take advantage of the online nursing programs available from different colleges and universities. Because of the lack of faculty in college and university nursing programs, nursing school students are being turned away at an astounding rate, adding to the lack of nurses currently employed in hospitals, clinics and medical facilities. Men who may hesitate to enter into a nursing program because of implied prejudice can also take advantage of the online nursing programs, getting a feel for the profession and academics before entering into the educational environment with some experience.
It is the professional nurse, regardless of gender or other concerns that can make the difference in a patient’s life. From the youngest pediatric patients to senior caregivers, men in nursing are continually proving that they are just as able to provide high quality health care to patients with the bedside manner of a nurse. With the slow, but steady increase of men in the nursing profession, the ability to continue to provide the best health care possible can increase, adding a male perspective to care giving and professional nursing duties.