The history of nursing is rich with intrepid, inspiring women, but did you know that men dominated the profession through the mid-19th Century? In fact, the famed American poet Walt Whitman volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War, serving as a wound dresser. While the field of nursing has since remained the domain of women, male-identified nurses are making a strong comeback. Currently, about 12 percent of practicing registered nurses in the U.S. identify as male. That’s roughly an 80 percent increase since the 1970s, when male nurses represented less than 3 percent of the workforce. Even better news: the trend is continuing, and Barry University is at the forefront.
Barry’s Nursing program not only has a strong reputation for minority representation—which includes male-identified nurses—we were also recently honored by the National League for Nursing as a 2020 Center of Excellence in Enhanced Student Learning and Professional Development. That recognition is a direct reflection of the quality of mentorship and career training provided by our diverse faculty and staff, which includes many male-identified nurses. Dr. John McFadden, PhD, CRNA, and Dean of Barry’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, knows the significance of diverse representation among his faculty, which is unmatched by most university programs. “I think Barry is one of the very few institutions who have men serving at every level of academic nursing—dean, associate dean, program director, and faculty positions,” he says. “So, we have strong role models—both men and women—available to serve as mentors and coaches to our students.”
WHY ARE MALE NURSES CHOOSING BARRY?
Currently, Barry outperforms the field overall in gender diversity, with 19 percent of BSN graduates and 22 percent of MSN graduates identifying as male. The University also supports the American Association for Men in Nursing, an organization that aims to foster representation among males in the field. Overall, nursing is among the few professions that experiences consistent growth. Recognizing this need for highly trained nurses, Barry offers a variety of program options that cater to diverse experiences. “We offer several pathways for someone who wants to enter the profession,” says McFadden, “from our traditional baccalaureate program to an accelerated option for those who’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.” He also notes that, across the gender spectrum, students consistently seek out Barry for the diversity of specialized graduate programs, including the Family and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner programs, the Nurse Anesthesiology programs, and the PhD in Nursing program. “Our programs are driven by our core commitments—seeking truth, building an inclusive society, collaboration through service, and promoting social justice,” McFadden says. “We offer in-person and distance learning pathways, so offering students a flexible learning experience is a priority at Barry.”
IS BECOMING A MALE NURSE RIGHT FOR YOU?
As the field continues to diversify, you’ll find far more support and fewer tired stigmas associated with being a male-identified nurse. You’ll also find that salaries are stable and opportunities for growth are plentiful. Barry BSN graduates enter the field earning a median salary of $57,900 annually, while MSN graduates can earn upwards of $115K annually, depending upon their specialization. “The profession allows for flexibility in work and offers an array of possible specializations,” says McFadden. Of course, most of us dream of a professional life that provides stability, growth, and flexibility, but Barry nurses are equally driven by their humanity, empathy, and desire to make an impact on their communities.