Online Education Opportunities Increase Quantity of Male Nurses
Nursing is a predominantly female-centric occupation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) put thepercentage of female registered nurses at 92.1% in 2003. But five years later, the 2008 National Survey of Registered Nurses showed a decline to 90.4%. In the contest of a dramatic increase in the population of RNs from 2.4 million to 3.06 million during the same five-year period, this means that male nurses grew from 190,000 in 2003 to roughly 294,000 in 2008, indicating a 54% increase over a five-year period. In short, there is significant growth among males in the nursing profession.
Men in Nursing Filling the Shortage
The shortage in nursing professionals is a global concern felt acutely in the U.S. While the BLS projects a 27.3% annual growth of nursing jobs, the reality is that there are more people today needing health care services than there are nurses graduating every year. But it is comforting to note that, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), men are enrolling in nursing courses at a higher rate than ever. This promises increased gender diversity in the nursing profession. As off 2011, 12% of students in a nursing degree course were men and the percentage is expected to grow within the short term.
Can male nurses fill the shortage in the profession? There is no reason to doubt that greater gender diversity in nursing can address the shortage. There is just the attitudinal barrier that men have to weather to become registered nurses. For instance, there is the social gender role perception and expectation that women are more apt as nurses than men. A recent study showed that women prefer female nurses when providing care of an intimate or invasive nature. These are mostly in the areas of prenatal, delivery, and post-natal care. While statistics show that male nurses have increased, there are hardly any male nurses in the obstetrics and gynecology disciplines. On the other hand, there is no similar bias when it comes to female nurses attending to the intimate care of men.
Online Education in Nursing and Health Care
There is now a growing social acceptance of the irrelevance of stereotyped gender roles in the choice of career which has slightly eased the shortage of nurses. The recent economic crisis has opened the eyes of many about the rewards of getting into the nursing profession. According to Tony Forrester, professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Medicine in New Jersey, more men have taken advantage of the relatively high and stable salaries as well career advancement opportunities in the nursing profession, which has shown itself to be impervious to the ups and downs of the economy. This realization has made a nursing profession a more rewarding career option for men and online education opportunities increase quantity of male nurses.
But there is a lot more needed to fully address the shortage. The AACN has pointed out that the nation needs to strengthen its capacity in nursing education and increase gender diversity as a major strategy to relieve the shortage in nurses. To this end, the internet has become increasingly instrumental in making the nursing career more accessible to wider and more varied segments of the population. Online education in nursing, along with other allied heath online training programs, is helping to accelerate gender diversity in the nursing workplace, while creating a new channel in delivering competent nursing education to more people. Earning a diploma or degree in nursing can proceed right in the comfort and privacy of home, and students progressively earn their degree at their own pace.
Over the last five years, traditional campuses have embarked on online degree and diploma programs that reached more students to become registered nurses. In addition, internet-only educators have further widened the appeal of online nursing education and allied heath online training. Current online education in the nursing profession benefits from broadband internet connections that provide home-bound students with the authentic learning experience related to real-world health care situations. Faculty time once spread thinly between classroom and online instructions is now dedicated in optimizing student-teacher interaction online. Apart from ready access to case materials, online exams, RSS feeds, real time chat sessions, and downloadable eBooks, online education harnesses collaborative online technology that allows students to share files, interact with fellow online students, and attend virtual meetings and conferences with nursing experts and health care lecturers without ever leaving home. It’s an entirely new and effective teaching paradigm that has made earning a nursing degree a significantly rewarding experience.
Men Can Change the Face of Nursing
With online education made accessible to a wider group of home-bound students and adults eager to advance in their chosen nursing careers, we can see the day when gender role barriers to men in nursing are done away with. The compassion toward a patient and the ability to provide adequate nursing care is never a function of gender. Online education can hopefully open the door to a future when there are just as many men as women who can take care of patients who need adequate nursing care. Whether or not men will equal the number of women in the nursing profession is not as important as knowing that gender will never figure as a deciding factor in choosing one’s career but online education opportunities increase quantity of male nurses.