The number of male students enrolled in the University of Arlington’s Nurse Practitioner Program has risen more than 9 percent in the past three years. The upsurge at UTA, which ranks in the top 15 largest schools of nursing in the United States, reflects a trend noted in a recent New York Times article, which reports that the number of male nurses working in the field has nearly doubled in the past decade.
Mary Schira, associate dean and chair in the department of advanced practice nursing at UTA, said the number of males in the master’s program has been increasing, as has the number obtaining their undergrad increases.
Both Schira and Mary Mancini, professor and chairperson in the College of Nursing, said the curriculum hasn’t changed with the upturn of males in the program, but admit it may change areas of discussion in classes, as men and women bring different experiences and perspectives.
“Students bring with them their life experiences and so may feel that ‘male’ and ‘female’ roles must be applied within the profession,” Mancini said. “I don’t think that more males equals more leadership or more technical abilities, nor that females are more emotional or empathetic to patients.”
“More men seem to come with a background in healthcare—military, paramedic, etc.,—and business than their female counterparts,” she continued. “These prior life experiences can serve as an asset to them as they become a registered professional nurse.”
Mancini said the change in enrollment demographic is not only male-centric, but includes more minorities, older students, as well as second-degree students.