Despite stereotypes of male nurses, male enrollment in the nursing program at Cal State Long Beach has increased.
According to Loucine Huckabay, director and professor of the nursing program, the increase in enrollment is because of diminishing stereotypes and the opportunities offered by the nursing program.
Huckabay said the stereotype against male nurses is a cultural thing and a cultural change that takes time to eliminate. “Little by little [people] are getting the idea that nursing is not only for women,” she said. She believes the stereotype is diminishing in the United States.
Malenursemagazine.com states that 6 percent of about 2.1 million nurses are male. Huckabay agrees with those numbers and believes the percentage may even be smaller.
At CSULB, the nursing program consists of 3 male and about 40 female faculty members according to Huckabay. The sharp contrast can also be seen in the classrooms. Tommy Hughes, a senior nursing student, said that out of the 60 or so people in his group in the nursing program, he thinks there are about eight guys total. 10 to 14 percent of males make up the nursing student body according to Huckabay.
Even though stereotypes that say nursing is only for women still exist, Huckabay says the opportunities offered by nursing attract males into the program. There is a shortage in nursing and the pay is good. Huckabay said she can guarantee students a job even before they graduate.
Male students in the nursing program at CSULB embody the change taking place. Garrick Fujii, a first year nursing student at CSULB, was attracted to nursing because of the job availability. He said nursing has many fields of study and offers stability.
When it comes to the stereotype, Fujii says that although there are a greater number of girls in the program, male nurses are becoming more accepted and he doesn’t feel the stereotype.
Hughes, a senior, doesn’t feel the stereotype either. He works alongside with women and is treated the same way. Hughes thinks male nursing is “a new thing catching on.” He does admit he gets different reactions from people when they find out he is a nursing major but doesn’t mind. “It’s a good profession,” he said.
“There are so many opportunities in nursing and it’s worth it if you feel capable,” he said. “There’s a high demand and people can get a good pay.”
Henry Ly, first year nursing student, went into the nursing field because of the security. He doesn’t worry about the stereotypes and said it doesn’t bother him; that he also makes fun if it in good fun.
“It’s up to the person’s personality,” he said. “They need to have a high self esteem.”
All three students plan to get their masters in nursing, which also reflects the male nursing trend. Huckabay said many go on to get their masters and that there are more males in accelerated programs than females. “There’s immediate employment and good pay,” she said.
For now, Huckabay hopes there will be more males enrolling in the program and that the nursing building will be able to accommodate to all the students by expanding. She said the nursing program tries to recruit many students, making sure to state males are welcome in nursing.