More men turning to nursing, economy to blame?

News 12 at 11 / Thursday, June 6, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Gentle hands and a nurturing touch -- it's a stigma the field of nursing is trying to cure.

Michael Myers has been a nurse for 20 years, and he says that girly stereotype couldn't be further from the truth.

"There's nothing feminine at all about nursing. There's not," he said.

Other guys seem to agree. The number of men in nursing has doubled over the past 20 years.

GRU is seeing that same trend. In 2008, only 51 male nursing students were enrolled. This past fall, that number jumped to 113.

Over the years the role of nursing has expanded, and now it's much more than just bedside nurture. Now it can be very technical or even heavy lifting.

"It's physically demanding, its' mentally taxing. There's a lot of excitement, there's a lot of upside downs, and it's tough. It really is," nursing student Ryan Teheng explained.

Teheng recently turned to nursing, but before this, he used to be a chef.

"That career is something you could help people, but I wanted to help people in a different way," he said.

While the change in gender is steadily increasing, Nursing and Anesthesia Director James Masiongale remembers when male nursing wasn't always so accepted.

"When I was in nursing school, when I walked into the floor for the very first time to start a clinical, they were shocked that there was 9 female students and myself that walked in," Masiongale said.

From shocking to filling the halls of the Shock Trauma Unit, times aren't what they used to be. Masiongale says that could be part of the reason for the change.

"Nursing is still one of the professions where you can still about go anywhere in the country and find a job, and there's pretty good job security. And there's not many jobs with that now," he said.

Just like we're seeing more men in nursing, more women are dominating the medical field. According to the latest data, females are making up almost 40 percent of physicians these days.

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