FSCC sees shortage in men in the nursing program

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Instructors at Ft. Scott Community College say they’re seeing a shortage of a particular kind of student in the nursing program.

They’re looking for students from all walks of life, but there’s a particular demand for men. There are several reasons men are in higher demand, and opportunities for work nationwide. I spoke with a couple of the male students in FSCC’s nursing program today about why they chose the field. Austin Fain told me that for him, it’s about family tradition.

“My grandmother and my mom were both nurses, and now they’re both advanced practice nurses,” says Austin Fain, Nursing Student, Ft. Scott Community College.

Now, Fain works at a hospital as a CNA, and says he wants to carry on the family tradition, even if men aren’t typically thought of as nurses.

“Especially nowadays with the acuity of patients, they really like to have men in there to help,” says Austin Fain.

Ft. Scott Community College Director of Nursing Jordan Howard says the need for students like Austin is high nationwide.

“Nationally, men in healthcare, nursing especially, is about ten percent of the national workforce, so we also see that in our nursing program,” says Jordan Howard.

Howard says there are about 70 students in the nursing program this semester, and eight of those are men. And while the stigma of nurses being women may play a role in that, he says those old thoughts are slowly going away.

“Times are changing, and, you know, men have been in healthcare for many, many years, and actually the first nursing school for men was created in the early 1900’s,” says Howard.

Benjamin Aellemang says he’s hoping to eventually become a nurse practitioner, but does admit being part of such a small group is a bit intimidating.

“I’m the only guy in my class, so it is a little different. You get used to it,” says Benjamin Aellemang.

And he says anyone, male or female, who is thinking about nursing as a career shouldn’t let old stigmas about the profession be an issue, for one very big reason.

“We need good nurses. I think there’s an overall nursing shortage, first of all. I would recommend anyone that is considering nursing, male or female, to look into it, consider it as an option,” says Aellemang.

According to the Health Career Institute, women make up 91 percent of the nursing field, amounting to about 3.2 million nurses, while men account for about 330 thousand nursing jobs. And while there is a shortage, there’s also some good news. HCI says in 2011, 9.6 percent of registered nurses were men, compared to only 2.7 percent of registered nurses in the 1970’s.

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