Percentage of male nursing students on the rise

Emily Harris/The News
Matt Griffith (left) and Gavin Nall (right) are seniors in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, which has seen an increase in male graduates.Emily Harris/The News Matt Griffith (left) and Gavin Nall (right) are seniors in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, which has seen an increase in male graduates.

Story by Alicia SteeleStaff writer

Emily Harris/The News Matt Griffith (left) and Gavin Nall (right) are seniors in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, which has seen an increase in male graduates.

Emily Harris/The News
Matt Griffith (left) and Gavin Nall (right) are seniors in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, which has seen an increase in male graduates.

Male nurses make up about 33 percent of the December 2015 graduating class from Murray State’s School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Murray State’s School of Nursing and Health Professions has had a large increase in male enrollment over the past few years – with 11 of the 34 graduates being male.

“I think that the constant growing job market for nurses is the reason that more men are beginning to fill the ranks of the nursing staff,” said John Myers, junior nursing major from Paducah, Kentucky.

Myers said that he chose the Nursing Program at Murray State because of its exceptional quality and access to the area’s hospitals, and the constant growing job market for nurses around the world. He also said he chose to go into nursing after the impact nurses had on him.

“I felt a calling to go into this field after I had several great experiences with nurses during some of my hospital stays,” Myers said. 

Marcia Hobbs, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, said as other professions begin to see a greater diversity in their work force, so does nursing. 

“A career in nursing offers fairly stable employment opportunities while also providing pretty decent economic return immediately after graduation,” Hobbs said.

Like most professions however, there is a gender gap in the salaries of male and female nurses. Men in this profession make nearly $5,000 more annually than women, according to a report by USA TODAY.

“Over a long career, it adds up to more than $150,000,” said study author Ulrike Muench, professor and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, in USA TODAY. 

With the growing number of male nurses, females still occupy a majority of the jobs in this field. In Kentucky, female nurses outnumber male nurses 12 to one, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, a magazine for hospital business news and analysis for hospital and health system executives, based on 2015 numbers.

“No states have an equal distribution of gender in nursing, but a single state – Nebraska – has more male nurses than female nurses,” according to Becker’s Hospital Review.

In Nebraska, there are approximately three male nurses for every female nurse.

Myers said with the high demand for male nurses today, he knew he could easily find a job.

The American Assembly for Men in Nursing, aimed at encouraging men of all ages to become nurses, is currently running a campaign to see a 20 percent increase in male nurses in the United States by the year 2020, according to their website.

The United States is expected to experience a shortage of nurses as the baby boomers age and the need for health care grows, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses.

“The shortage of nurses is constantly growing, and I knew I would always have a job in this field,” Myers said.