More Men in Nursing: Is Trend Enough to Solve Shortage?

by NewsUsa

(NewsUSA) - Higher wages and job security are prompting more men to enter the field of nursing.

According to a Vanderbilt University School of Nursing study, the number of male nurses in the United States has nearly doubled since the 1980s - growing from 5 percent to 9 percent of the nation's 1.8 million nurses.

Just as the number of men in nursing has steadily climbed, so has the public's perception of the profession. A recent Gallup Poll ranked nursing as the most trusted profession, above teachers, military officers and even doctors.

This is promising news for those working to end the nationwide nursing shortage and stave off an impending health-care crisis. According to the Vanderbilt study, the nursing shortage could approach 800,000 positions by 2020.

To recruit and retain more nurses, educators must address the shortage of nursing faculty in the nation's colleges and universities.

According to an enrollment survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, more than 26,000 qualified applicants were turned away from undergraduate programs last year due in large part to faculty shortages.

Hospitals, universities and nursing organizations are working to end the nursing shortage with help from private-sector initiatives, such as The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future.

The goals of this $30 million public-awareness campaign are to enhance the image of the nursing profession, recruit new nurses and faculty and retain nurses currently in the profession.

"Building awareness of the shortage of nurses and nurse faculty, as well as the benefits of a career in nursing, has had a big impact," said Andrea Higham, director of The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future. "But concerted efforts must continue if we're to head off what is predicted to be a huge problem well into the next decade."

The campaign sponsors fundraising events called Promise of Nursing galas, which have raised more than $7 million for nursing scholarships, faculty fellowships and specialized nursing program grants.

Higham said men are a key target of the awareness campaign, noting that if the number of men entering nursing each year grew to anywhere near the number of women entering the field, the nursing shortage would cease to exist.

Will the growing number of men entering the profession be enough to eliminate the shortage in time to accommodate the surge of baby boomers in need of increased medical care? Only time will tell.

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Feb 15, 2010
Updated Data on Men in Nursing
by: Jerry Durham

According to "Findings from the 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses" (HRSA), the number of licensed registered nurses in the U.S. grew by almost 8 percent between 2000 and 2004 to a new high of 2.9 million. The total number of RNs employed full-time in nursing nearly doubled from 854,813 to 1,696,807 between 1980 and 2004. According to the same report, men still comprise a very small percentage (5.8 percent) of the total RN population although their numbers have continued to grow. Of the estimated 2,909,357 RNs in the US, 168,181 are men. This represents a 14.5 percent increase over the 2000 national survey estimate, when 146,902 RNs were male. This also represents a 273.2 percent increase over 1980, when the number of men in the RN population was estimated at 45,060. According to the Natinal League for Nursing's Annual Nursing Data Review, the percentage of male graduates from survey participants' pre-licensure RN programs held steady at 12 percent in 2007.

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