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More Men Entering Nursing, Earning More than Women

Update Date: Feb 26, 2013 08:12 AM EST

Nursing, traditionally considered a female profession, is seeing an increase in number of male nurses in the past few decades, according to study released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The study found that prevalence of male nurses has grown from 2.7 percent in the 1970s to 9.6 percent now, registering a threefold increase.

In the year 2011, there were more than 3.5 million people working as nurses in the U.S., with about 3.2 million females and 330,000 males. Also, the proportion of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses increased from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent between 1970 and now.

The demand for nurses is high, which explains the low unemployment rates in this profession. Men typically reported earnings of $60,700 per year, with male nurse anesthetists earning double that amount with $162,900 per year.

"The aging of our population has fueled an increasing demand for long-term care and end-of-life services. A predicted shortage has led to recruiting and retraining efforts to increase the pool of nurses. These efforts have included recruiting men into nursing," said the report's author, Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, according to a press release.

The study also found that like most other professions, men tend to earn more than women in the field of nursing; with a woman making just 91 cents for every dollar earned by a male nurse. However, the gap between salaries is smaller when compared to other professions, where women make 77 cent for every dollar earned by men. Female nurses earn about $51,100 per year compared with men who earn $60,700 per year.

In the past, some studies have looked into how male nurses are perceived by the society. According to one such research published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, feature films portray male nurses as negative characters, which may influence the public perception of male nurses.

Main findings of the study "Men in Nursing Occupations" can be read here.

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