Nursing degree becoming more popular for men

Justine Stump

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Male nursing student enrollment has more than doubled in the past decade. Stereotypes are diminishing, and more students are choosing nursing for employment opportunities.

In 2000, about 7 percent of the 781 students enrolled in the nursing program were male. This year, nearly 15 percent of the 3,017 students are male.

“Ten years ago we had very few male nursing students,” said Curtis Good, academic program director for nursing. “Now, I think the stigma has been removed.”

Nursing lecturer Tim Meyers said society has historically been accustomed to males being physicians and females being nurses.

“Sometimes patients don’t feel at ease right away with a male nurse,” Meyers said. “But if a nurse gives good care, then it isn’t an issue.”

Meyers said he thinks the reason many men don’t choose to go into nursing is because of societal pressures.

“I think, for the traditional students, their peer group is the most influential in their lives,” he said. “You have to be self-confident and self-secure to be a male in nursing.”

Good said he has noticed a significant increase in the number of males in the accelerated nursing program. He said those students are more mature and know what they want.

“I definitely think there will be a continued growth in the male population,” Good said. “Right now, people are thinking ‘What is going to get me a job when I’m done?’”

“I was actually signed up for pre-med before nursing, but I switched to nursing before classes started because I thought it would be easier. I work at Akron City Hospital, and every time I walk into a patient’s room they ask me if I’m a resident doctor. They assume that males are doctors.”

“I think guys bring something different to the nursing field. When a guy walks into a room he has more of an assertive presence.”

“At first my family wanted me to go into nursing for financial reasons. Then I did an internship in high school, and I loved taking care of patients. And as a male in the nursing profession, I think it will be easier to climb to the top.”

“There is somewhat of a stigma with some of the elderly patients. They don’t want a male nurse, but for the most part it has changed. You see more people accepting of it now. I think having both male and female nurses can help with uncooperative patients. People tend to respond differently to a male nurse.”

Contact Justine Stump at [email protected].