The nursing profession has been considered to be a traditionally female dominated field. However, while it is true that males currently only make up about 5% - 8% of the nursing workforce, this number reflects a 71% increase over the last 20 years. There are several factors which suggest that this pattern will continue.
A 2006 survey of male nurses conducted by American Mobile Healthcare found that among respondents, 85% were “mostly” or “very” happy with their jobs, 82% would recommend nursing to other males, and over 91% responded that they planned to remain a nurse throughout the next five years. The survey also found that most men find nursing to be a desirable occupation for the same reasons that most people find other jobs to be desirable: it offers good job security (the unemployment rate for registered nurses is less than 2%), nurses are needed everywhere, it offers good pay, and helping people makes a rewarding career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a mean annual income of $66,530 for registered nurses in 2009, which is over $15,000 above the mean U.S. household income. The average salary for nurses is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years as the demand for registered nurses continues to increase as well. Males will make up a larger portion of this growing workforce, as some studies found that over 13% of students enrolled in nursing programs in 2000 were men.
The arbitrary stereotype that nursing is only for women is quickly being undone. As more men realize that nursing is a very respectable profession and that there is no essential reason for it to be seen as an exclusively feminine role, the numbers of male nurses will continue to grow. It can be expected to follow the pattern that is emerging around most roles that have typically been assigned to one or the other gender for arbitrary or historical reasons.