The World Health Organization reports that the nursing shortage is already critical and quickly heading into direct crisis mode with expected worldwide nursing shortfalls of 12.9 million in by 2035. Shortages were already extensive, exceeding 7.2 million in 2013. This shortage is forcing healthcare recruiters to think outside the traditional box when it comes to finding appropriate candidates to fill this growing need around the world.
One thing they are doing to address this growing concern is attempting to recruit more men to fill nursing positions. While women have historically been considered nurturing caretakers well-suited for the roles of nurses, the bottom line is that this is a skilled position that requires strength, dedication, and education. Besides, if we’ve learned anything as a society in recent decades it is that men are equally as capable as women when it comes to the role of a caretaker.
One campaign in the United States, designed to attract male nurses to positions throughout the country, asked the question, “Are you man enough to be a nurse?” The goal of the ad campaign was to debunk the gender stereotype that nursing is a woman’s field. The campaign went on to describe nurses as courageous, intelligent, and highly skilled before encouraging men to enroll in a course of study preparing them for a career that offers “unlimited opportunity.”
However, the fact remains that male nurses still account for only 9.1 percent of registered nurses in the United States and only 7.6 percent of LPNs. The UK fairs slightly better with male nurses accounting for 11 percent of working nurses.
In addition to flashy recruitment campaigns designed to attract male nurses, scrubs manufacturers are making Men’s scrubs in masculine colors, styles, and featuring artwork designed to appeal to men more than women. While a more masculine scrub shirt is only one small step toward making the nursing field more attractive for men, it is an important one for men who are concerned about stereotypes that remain about nurses.
While recruiters have spent the better part of a decade seeking to make nursing careers more appealing to men around the world, there is still work to do – especially if the goal is to put a massive dent in the nursing shortage sooner rather than later.