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    The nursing profession has witnessed a growing number of men entering the profession in recent years as well as new and exciting opportunities for men already working in this growing field.

    Contrary to the long-held public perception, the idea that only females choose the nursing profession is simply an outdated myth. According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report, "Men in Nursing Occupations," the percentage of men in the profession has more than tripled since 1970. In 2011, males made up 9.6% of all registered nurses, compared to only 2.7% in 1970, and that number continues to rise slightly each year.

    With nursing opportunities expected to rise, now could be a great time for men to pursue a nursing career. In fact, there may be higher demand for certain nursing specialties. Although some may suspect that men can be well-matched to the often physical demands of the profession, the truth is, nursing requires a specific skill set, intellectual dexterity, and a strong knowledge base of its practitioners.

    Nursing offers a wide range of areas in which to specialize. According to a study by the American Academy of Men in Nursing (AAMN), the top nursing specialties for men include critical care, emergency, and surgical. Other popular areas of expertise include home health, long-term care, and nursing informatics. Additionally, some specialties have higher concentrations of men. For example, 41% of nurse anesthetists are men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau survey.

    In addition to the demand for specific specialties, a widely publicized global nursing shortage means that men who are considering pursuing or working toward a nursing degree could see a greater need for qualified nurses upon graduation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment of registered nurses to increase 19% by 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

    With so many benefits to a nursing career, one may wonder how to become a nurse. Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of men take a nontraditional route toward becoming a nurse. According to the AAMN survey, just 20% of men enrolled in a college or university nursing program directly after high school, while 44% entered the nursing profession after pursuing a different career path, and 17% of men entered the profession after serving in the military.

    As more men continue to pursue a nursing career, many institutions proactively recruit qualified male students, and several scholarships exist to draw more men into the profession.

    An associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing can be the first point of entry to the nursing profession.  After earning the RN licensure, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, or even a doctorate degree, such as the increasingly popular Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), could help provide a nurse with the requirements, knowledge, and understanding to move up in the profession.  In addition to earning more responsibility, a nurse might even choose to move laterally to take advantage of a flexible schedule or a less stressful work environment, or even to start their own business within the nursing profession.

    There are many flexible educational opportunities in the nursing field. Many nursing programs offer full- and part-time options, as well as online learning. Students can even complete or advance their degree while continuing to work, since so many men choose a nursing path following another career or military service. For men considering their future career options, the advantages of nursing could make it a great choice.*

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    And if you are considering pursuing a nursing degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Nursing and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.



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  • * Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. National long-term BLS projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

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