Men in Nursing are Taking Action to Improve Gender Diversity and Inclusion

Oct 17, 2011, 1:00 PM, Posted by


The American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) is taking a lead role nationally to increase the number and percent of men in the nursing workforce. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) nursing report clearly articulates that to improve the quality of patient care, a greater emphasis must be placed on making the nursing workforce more diverse, particularly in the areas of gender and race/ethnicity. But over the last 100 to 150 years, nursing has been almost exclusively female, even though men have had a long history in nursing. In the private sector, the percentage of men who are nurses continues to range between 5 and 10 percent. By contrast the armed forces enjoy a culture in which the balance between men and women nurses is nearly equal.

Creating greater diversity was also named or implied in several of the eight IOM recommendations.

Recommendation 4 identified the need to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020. To meet this goal, it was identified that leaders should work together to increase the diversity of students to create a workforce prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. IOM Chair Donna Shalala specifically cited that accelerated BSN and second degree programs have regularly demonstrated better gender diversity in student enrollment and completion. There is a need to show similar gains in traditional pre-licensure nursing programs regarding men in nursing recruitment and retention.

And recommendation 5 identified the need for schools of nursing to double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020 to add to the cadre of nurse faculty and researchers, with attention to increasing diversity. Doubling the number of men in nursing with a doctorate will add value to nursing science, and add men in nursing faculty as teachers and role models for male nursing students.

Introducing “20 x 20: Choose-Nursing” Campaign & Strategic Metrics

The AAMN leadership has taken the IOM recommendations seriously by timing and launching a campaign that aims to make 20 percent of nursing student enrollment men by the year 2020.” Hence it is called, 20 x 20.

AAMN has introduced strategic metrics and is seeking ‘men in nursing’ partners from nursing schools and employers. We are aiming for the following outcomes:

• 15 nursing schools: 30 percent men in nursing enrollment in five years with 90 percent retention

• 10 hospitals or health systems: 20 percent men in nursing employment with 90 percent retention

• 10 Long Term Care employers: 20 percent men in nursing employment with 90 percent retention

At our annual meeting and conference in Lexington, KY on October 19 to 21, we will introduce our call for partners and plans for selecting and securing them. The benefits of partnering with AAMN to improve gender diversity will also be introduced at that time.

How do you think that the nursing community, health care stakeholders and the public can work together to improve gender opportunity in nursing? Tell us your beliefs on how improving gender diversity improves cultural competence and outcomes for our patients.

How can both the health care system and schools of nursing serve as a catalyst for doubling the numbers of doctoral prepared nurses who are men?

Please register and comment below.


This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.