Although the majority of physicians and surgeons in the U.S. are male, nursing has traditionally been seen as a female profession. While the gender gap is getting smaller in other areas of healthcare, men are still underrepresented in nursing. In fact, 93% of Registered Nurses in the U.S. are female, which highlights just how few men choose to enter this field.

While women were barred from entering medical school in America until the mid-19th century, men haven’t faced the same barriers when it comes to nursing. In fact, male battlefield nurses were in high demand throughout conflicts and were highly respected for their skills and abilities. So, why is there still a gender divide when it comes to nursing?

Perhaps the characteristic traits associated with nursing – compassion, empathy and care – remain stereotypical female. Maybe this view being reinforced by society has dissuaded men from entering a profession that could provide them with a wealth of career opportunities and unrivalled job satisfaction.

Fortunately, things are beginning to change. As healthcare organizations actively seek to redress the gender gap in nursing, more men are being encouraged to consider it as a healthcare career. If you’re looking for a new career and are interested in working within the healthcare sector, take a look at why becoming a nurse could be the perfect career choice:

1. Job Opportunities

Demand for healthcare services will never cease, so you can be confident that there will be a relatively high degree of job security in the industry. However, there are also a significant number of job opportunities and these are set to increase in upcoming years.

Industry growth for Registered Nurses is predicted to increase by 7% by 2029, while Nurse Practitioner roles are expected to grow by 45% over the same time period. With new roles being created all the time, nurses entering the profession now will enjoy a wealth of job opportunities and choice when it comes to where, how and when they work.

2. Career Development

Becoming a Registered Nurse may be the first step in your healthcare career, as there lots of ways you can choose to enhance your skills. Undertaking advanced study and completing a Master of Science in Nursing gives you the qualifications you’ll need to work as a Nurse Practitioner, for example. To learn more about making the transition from RN to Nurse Practitioner, take a look at this blog post.

Alternatively, you might choose to take a different route and become a Nurse Educator, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or Nurse Administrator. With numerous paths to consider, it’s easy to find a role and specialty that matches your interests and provides an exciting and challenging working environment.

3. Increased Leadership Opportunities

If you aspire to reach the top of your profession, you’ll be pleased to know that nurses are welcoming increased leadership opportunities. In a bid to ensure that everyone is well represented at the top, healthcare organizations are actively seeking out nurses for leadership roles.

What’s more – you can establish yourself as a leader as you work your way up the career ladder. From becoming a Nurse Supervisor to qualifying as a Nurse Educator, there are a variety of ways you can combine nursing with healthcare leadership.

In addition to this, working as a Nurse Practitioner in a Full Practice state gives you the opportunity to work autonomously, if you choose to. You may decide to launch a healthcare business and open your own clinic as a Nurse Practitioner, for example, or you may decide to take on an executive or managerial role within an existing practice.

If you want to secure a leadership position, a career in nursing could certainly match your aspirations. As well as delivering patient care, working with other healthcare professionals, and continually enhancing your own skills, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in healthcare management and leadership, if you choose to.

4. Travel Opportunities

As a nurse, you’ll be able to work anywhere in the U.S., providing you have the appropriate licensure. If you relocate to a new area, finding a job should be a relatively easy process. With nurses in consistently high demand and new roles being created at a rapid pace, a decision to relocate to a different state or region shouldn’t have a negative impact on your career at all.

However, nurses aren’t only in high demand in the U.S. As a qualified nurse, you’ll have the credentials you need to work anywhere in the world. You may choose to emigrate and live abroad in the future, for example, or you may decide to enroll in an overseas placement. Alternatively, volunteering your time and expertise to work in developing countries can be a valuable experience. If you’ve always dreamed of travelling the world, a career in nursing could give you the skills and flexibility you need to turn your plans into reality.

5. Chance to Specialize

Not all nurses undertake the same duties or have the same responsibilities. In fact, there’s a significant difference between nursing roles and the day-to-day tasks you’ll undertake. As you advance your career, you’ll have a wider range of choices when it comes to specializing in a particular area or working with a specific patient demographic.

You may decide to specialize in critical care and become an ICU Nurse Practitioner, for example. If you feel at home in the Operating Room, a role as a Nurse Anesthetist could be your dream job. Alternatively, if you’re passionate about delivering outstanding healthcare services to young people, specializing in pediatrics could be the right option.

Is a Career in Nursing Right for You?

With so many benefits associated with a career in nursing, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice for people who aspire to work in the healthcare sector. As demand for male nurses increases, it’s expected that more men will choose to enter the profession too. If you want to deliver enhanced patient care, work closely with colleagues and potentially lead your own team, there’s a good chance that a career as a nurse can fulfil your professional ambitions and provide the challenge you’ve been looking for.