Many economists refer to the nursing field as a “pink-collar career,” a term used to define jobs typically dominated by women. These pink-collar careers include elementary school teachers, social workers, counselors, and many more – most often careers in human service fields. Only 10% of all registered nurses are men, although this number seems to be slowly, but steadily growing.
Scott Lamprecht, a nurse practitioner in Nevada, used to be the only man on the nursing staff at the hospital where he was employed. However, since he first began his studies in 1980, the amount of men in his department has been slowly but steadily on the rise. Lamprecht recognizes some of his patients may not initially be comfortable with having a male nurse, but he has enjoyed winning them over and doing his part to provide service to each of his patients.
The percentage of men in the nursing field used to be only about 2%, but a survey in 2011 showed that this number has risen to 10%. Lamprecht encourages more men to join him in his field, but warns that it may not be for everyone: “It’s got to be a real draw. If you are person coming into nursing for a paycheck, you’re not going to last. It takes a real commitment to stick with this.”
Maureen Matteson Kane, a professor at the UNLV College of Nursing, expresses that she believes that men in the nursing field will become more and more common in the near future: “The image has changed. There are more role models.” Professor Kane noted that many of the men who came through the nursing program often moved on to other fields such as firefighting or military careers. In the UNLV program, men currently account for one third of the nursing program participants – a number that has doubled since 2009.
The rising number of men in the nursing field is encouraging, yet the still great disproportion between genders in nursing is something economists warn against. Many economists believe that the more a field or career becomes integrated between genders, the more efficient an institution’s staff will be.