Male nurses on the rise in Tennessee, across the U.S.

More men in Tennessee are entering the nursing profession, a trend reflected across the nation, reports The Tennessean.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2011, 9.6 percent of all registered nurses in the United States were male compared to only 2.7 percent in 1970. The reason for the increase? The social stigma is not a factor anymore and men are more attracted to the profession due to the economic realities of the last decade, Peter Buerhaus, a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University, told the newspaper.

"We saw the nation lose hundreds of jobs during the recession, but healthcare grew in the number of jobs it produced, and nursing played a huge part," Buerhaus said. "People notice that when they come out of high school, there's no longer a negative stigma."

The U.S. Census Bureau report notes men have not flocked to the field because of the stereotype that nursing was a women's field. However, history shows that in the 1800s men often worked as nurses to fill a military or religious role. The shift, the report says, started in the 1900s with the emergence of modern nursing and more women entered the profession.

But Ryan McFarland, a registered nurse at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin, Tenn., told The Tennessean nursing is a "manly" job. "There are so many things in this field that aren't easy--most people don't have the stomach for it," he said.

Although men represent only a tenth of all nurses, the U.S. Census finds they earn more than women doing the same jobs, as previously reported by FierceHealthcare. Men earned, on average, $60,700 per year, while women earned $51,100 per year,

To learn more:
- read the article
- here's the U.S. Census report (.pdf)