Rochester, N.Y. – At Nazareth College, one out of seven students studying to become nurses is man.
“I think it’s awesome,” said sophomore Alberto Santiago. “I was surprised how many guys were actually in my classes when I transferred and it’s been much more comfortable for me.”
Assistant Professor of Nursing Marie Bell has noticed more men in her classes.
“I think because of job stability in nursing. There’s a little more autonomy in nursing,” said Bell. “It’s not the way we used to think of nursing as handmaidens.”
The U.S. Census released a study Monday showing the number of men in nursing has jumped. In 1970, men made up 2.7 percent of nurses. In 2011, they made up 9.6 percent of nurses.
“It’s not just a women’s field. It’s a field for everybody,” said Frederick Mbuyee, a Nazareth nursing student.
There are a number of reasons men are entering nursing. The growth of the health care field has created a demand for more nurses. Nurses have a low unemployment rate and job stability. They also earn relatively high wages. The Census study showed men earned an average of $60,700 across all nursing occupations. Two out of five male nurses are nurse anesthetists, who earn an average $162,900.
“I was originally thinking medical school and I think I preferred nursing because it was much more personal with patients,” said Santiago.
At the University of Rochester, Roberts Wesleyan and St. John Fisher, between 9 and 15 percent of enrolled nursing students are men.
The study also found a wage gap in the nursing field. Women nurses earned 91 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gap persisted even in the same nursing occupations.