CCN Men In Nursing members with Joe Burrage Lectureship guest speaker David Carden

The number of men pursuing nursing careers has grown dramatically over the past two decades, and The University of Alabama is doing its part to continue increasing those numbers.

In 1980, there were 45,060 male nurses, according to a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine. That number grew to 168,181 in 2004. Despite the growth, the report stated that men only make up 7 percent of all registered nurses.

For years, the stigma of being a male in a female-dominated profession has contributed to the lower percent of men entering the field, but that opinion is changing.

In 2010, the American Association for Men in Nursing launched an initiative to increase the number of men in nursing programs and in the workforce to 20 percent by the year 2020. In order to get there, colleges have increased recruitment efforts, and many have had great success. UA stands at about 12 percent, while some colleges are in the 20 percent range, he added.

The 2010 Institute of Medicine report emphasized the importance of recruiting male nurses, not only because men provide unique perspectives and skills that are important to the profession, but also to help contribute additional diversity to the workforce.

The men in nursing concept is not solely aimed at male recruitment. It is also about increasing the discussion of men’s health issues and providing more education about those issues. The Capstone Chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing does just that. With an active membership of about 35 students, the organization has held health screenings geared toward men and raised funds for those screenings.