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The number of male nurses has multiplied by 10 times in the past 40 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2022, over 12% of registered nurses in the United States are men. This shift in gender distribution is significant in a field that has been historically dominated by women.

A career in nursing provides an opportunity for nurses to help others. Additionally, nursing offers flexibility that few other careers can match, with a variety of work settings, schedules, and specialties to choose from. Job stability is another factor that makes nursing a great choice for men. Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, and with an aging population, the demand for healthcare professionals will only increase.

There is a growing demand for male nurses in healthcare. Some male patients may feel more comfortable having a male nurse, especially during intimate procedures. Male nurses can also play an important role in the care of male patients with mental health issues.

With the demand for healthcare professionals projected to grow, male nurses can play an essential role in meeting patient needs and improving the overall quality of care. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to start your journey toward this rewarding career. 

What Is a Male Nurse?

Male nurses are male-identifying healthcare professionals who provide care for patients who are sick, injured, or infirm.

Male nurses, like nurses of any gender identity, play a crucial role in a variety of healthcare settings, helping with both the physical and emotional needs of patients. Their daily tasks include administering medications, monitoring vital signs, assisting with bathing and dressing, and providing comfort and reassurance to patients and their families.

Nurses are also often responsible for coordinating care plans, collaborating with other members of the healthcare team, and advocating for their patients. They most commonly work in hospitals and clinics, long-term care facilities, and home health care.

In addition to their responsibilities in the field, nurses also hold positions within the U.S. healthcare industry that involve research, education, and leadership. As with any healthcare profession, these roles are multifaceted and require a specific set of skills as well as knowledge and compassion. 

Popular Male Nurse Specialties

Male nurses hold jobs in every specialty of nursing, but there are some disciplines that attract more male nurses than others. According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing, here are some of the most popular specialties for male nurses:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): CRNAs administer anesthesia to patients undergoing medical procedures or surgeries. This is an attractive role for nurses who regard high salaries as one of their main priorities.
  • Emergency room nurse: ER nurses provide urgent care to patients in emergency situations. This is a great choice for nurses who can perform under pressure and enjoy a fast-paced environment.
  • ICU nurse: ICU nurses care for critically ill patients in intensive care units. This specialty is a smart route for those who can handle a high-stress work environment and want to help patients who need critical care.
  • Critical care nurse: Critical care nurses work with patients who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries that require around-the-clock monitoring. This specialty allows nurses to work with cutting-edge medical technology and make a significant impact on patients and their families.
  • Flight nurse: Flight nurses provide medical care to patients who are being transported by air ambulance. This may be a great fit for nurses who enjoy adventure and travel.

Value of Male Nurses in Healthcare

Male nurses bring immeasurable value to the healthcare system in their ability to represent and care for male patients. Male patients often feel more comfortable with a male nurse, particularly in situations where they are dealing with diagnoses or conditions that are specific to their anatomy, such as prostate or testicular issues. An increase in male nurses on a healthcare facility’s staff can help male patients feel seen, heard, and represented in their healthcare experiences.

More male nurses in healthcare can also bring more diverse perspectives and experiences to the nursing profession. They can offer unique insights into patient care and bring an important perspective to medical teams that may otherwise be lacking. Male nurses are a vital part of the healthcare system, and their contributions are crucial in making sure that patients receive the best possible care.

What Male Nurses Have to Say About Their Job

Many former WGU students have had incredibly rewarding careers in the nursing profession.

Andrew Nagel, a case manager RN and veteran living in Indiana, appreciates how his military background helps him better serve some of his patients. “I can walk into a veteran's home, and we may come from vastly different worlds. Our upbringings may be different, we might be from different parts of the country, but because we have both served our country, we have that commonality. And as a nurse, that can be a very powerful thing because it helps build that nurse-patient relationship,” Nagel said.

Another WGU alumnus, Kentucky-based Robbie Reno calls nursing his ultimate calling in life. Robbie worked in an isolation unit at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, tirelessly administering medications, helping patients keep their blood pressure and heart rate up, and providing mental and emotional support when needed.

Benefits of Becoming a Nurse

Nursing offers many benefits and opportunities for men seeking stable, enriching work in healthcare. Here some of the most attractive benefits of becoming a nurse:

  1. Career stability: Nursing will always be a high-demand career choice, with an increasing number of job opportunities available in a variety of healthcare settings. 
  2. Career flexibility: Nursing is known as a highly flexible field in terms of scheduling and work arrangements. Nurses can work full-time, part-time, variable, per diem, or combination shifts, making it a great choice for those looking for an alternative to the 9-to-5 grind.
  3. Stable pay: The nursing field offers competitive salaries and ample opportunities for advancement. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $77,600 in May 2021.
  4. Travel opportunities: For those who’ve always wanted to travel for work, nursing is a great way to access those opportunities while making a difference in people’s lives. Travel nursing allows nurses to work short-term contracts in different locations across the country.
  5. Scholarships: There are many scholarships available for male nurses across the country, making it an affordable academic option for those who want to break into this profession. 

How to Become a Nurse

If you’re ready to become a nurse, there are several academic paths you can take. For the most part, aspiring nurses choose one of three options:

  • Diploma program: A diploma program in nursing is usually offered by hospitals and takes between two and three years to complete. These programs provide hands-on clinical experience and graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed as registered nurses.
  • Associate degree in nursing (ADN): An ADN program is a two-year program future nurses can enroll in at community colleges and technical schools. This type of program offers classroom instruction and clinical experience. Once completed, graduates can take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed as registered nurses.
  • Bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN): A BSN program is a two- to four-year degree program offered by colleges and universities. This type of program provides a comprehensive education in nursing, including courses in science, the humanities, and social sciences, as well as clinical experience. ADN and BSN programs both prepare graduates for the same licensure exam and the same job responsibilities. However, BSN programs typically provide a more in-depth education, which can lead to more advanced job opportunities and higher salaries. In fact, WGU’s Prelicensure Nursing BSN allows students to become an RN and earn their BSN in one program.

For those who have already completed an ADN program, there are also RN-to-BSN programs available, such as WGU's RN-to-BSN degree.

WGU’s RN-to-BSN program is entirely online, which provides flexibility and convenience for working nurses. The program is designed to be completed on a self-paced basis, which allows students to continue working while completing their BSN degree.

The program is also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This accreditation ensures that the program meets high standards for quality and effectiveness and that graduates are well-prepared for advanced nursing roles.

WGU’s RN-to-BSN program is designed to be affordable, with a flat-rate tuition fee that covers all course materials, textbooks, and assessments. Completing a BSN degree can lead to more advanced nursing roles and higher earning potential. Employers are increasingly looking for nurses with a BSN degree, as it provides a more in-depth education and prepares nurses for leadership roles in healthcare. By completing WGU's RN-to-BSN program, nurses can enhance their professional development and improve their career prospects. Invest in your future today and apply for WGU’s RN-to-BSN degree program!

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