HOUSTON - The face of the UTHealth School of Nursing is changing as more men join the nurse force.
"There are a lot more males walking the halls of both institutions and educational facilities," said Myron Arnaud, assistant professor of Clinical Nursing.
An American Community Survey supports Arnaud's observation. According to the study, the number of male registered nurses has tripled since 1970 from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent.
"Two things really drive males to enter nursing. The first, of course, is the desire to help people. But with the desire to help people is also the stability that's afforded by nursing," said Arnaud.
First semester nursing student Nick Matthew told Local 2 nursing runs in his blood.
"My mother's a nurse, and so I always kind of grew up around it," said Matthew.
The study credits an aging population with fueling the demand for short term and long term care. As a result, recruiting efforts have strengthened.
"I was going to school actually in North Dakota, and they actually give you 'extra points' if you're a male to get you into the program. So that was interesting for me," said Matthews.
The study found 91 percent of the nursing workforce is comprised of women, but male nurses make more money on average. The average salary of a male nurse is $60,700 per year. By contrast, female nurses earn $51,100 per year.
According to nursing graduate doctoral student Michael Potosky, sex is not the only factor that determines a nurse's salary.
"There's so many variables to it -- which hospital you work at, which city you work in, if you're day shift, night shift, what department, if you're critical care, if you're outpatient," said Potosky.
Potosky said earning potential and lifestyle options influenced him to give up being an EMT for a career in nursing.
"It's very exciting and challenging. There's a lot of problem solving and critical thinking and I think guys get drawn to that," said Potosky.
The study also found male representation was the highest among nurse anesthetists at 41 percent. The group's average annual income was more than $162,000, about twice as much.
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