Men Are Filling The Gap In The Burgeoning Demand For Nurses
February 26, 2013

Numbers Of Men In Nursing Occupations On The Rise

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

As the United States transitions out of the industrial-based economy that dominated the last century, some aspects of the economy are changing and some are staying the same.

A recently released survey by the US Census Bureau, titled "Men in Nursing Occupations," found that ratio of male-to-female nurses has been growing, and, like in almost every other field, these men tend to earn a higher average rate of pay.

The report was based on data from the 2011 American Community Survey and of the employed nurses in that survey, 78 percent were registered nurses, 19 percent were licensed practical or licensed vocational nurses, and 3 percent were nurse practitioners. One percent of those involved in the survey were nurse anesthetists.

The study showed the proportion of male registered nurses has jumped from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent since 1970. Also, the proportion of male licensed practical nurses, known as licensed vocational nurses in Texas and California, has more than doubled from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent.

According to the report´s author, Liana Christin Landivar, the nation's changing demographics are driving the demand for more nurses and men are rushing in to fill the gap.

"A predicted shortage has led to recruiting and retraining efforts to increase the pool of nurses," said Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch. "These efforts have included recruiting men into nursing."

The study also found male nurses made an average of $60,700 a year, compared to an average of $51,100 a year for their female colleagues. This inequality is slightly less than the pay discrepancy seen across all professions.

The findings highlight the phenomenon sometimes referred to as the “glass escalator” – when men advance faster and make higher wages in fields traditionally dominated by women.

Several reasons not related to gender-bias could explain the pay discrepancy. Men in the survey were more likely to work full-time than women. Also, men tended to work disproportionately more in the higher income areas of the field. Males make up 41 percent of nurse anesthetists – a position with the average income of around $148,000.

The study also found the nursing field has enjoyed robust employment levels. Nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists saw the lowest rate of unemployment at a miniscule 0.8 percent. Registered nurses and licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses rates were slightly higher, at 1.8 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

Although the unemployment levels for nurses are extremely low, the study seemed to suggest men tend to find a job more easily than women. Among licensed practical nurses, the unemployment rate for men was 4 percent versus 5.1 percent for women in 2011.

The study also found male nurses are more likely to have a doctoral degree, more likely to work evening or night shifts, and more likely to be immigrants. Female nurses are more likely to be found in doctor´s offices or schools, and are far more likely to be over age 65 – a sign of the field´s female-dominated history.