Commentary: Getting more men to become nurses would help address labor shortages


Many regulatory and professional bodies monitor men’s participation in nursing. Some organizations offer incentives. For example, the American Association for Men in Nursing offers scholarships, awards, and training to attract and retain men in the profession.

It is important to recognize that some barriers for men come from the nursing profession itself.

Some nurses perceive that men are on a career “glass escalator”. Unlike a “glass ceiling”, which inhibits career progression, the “glass escalator” allows men to be accelerated through the nursing workforce to higher positions in an effort to retain them.

This may lead some people to perceive male involvement in nursing as a negative, reducing inclusion.

But this glass escalator phenomenon, which can also occur in other sectors, can only be overcome if the participation of men in the workforce is normalized. And it is extremely important to examine the structural, gender-related factors that prevent women from assuming leadership roles.

It should also be noted that women in the health and care sector face a larger gender pay gap than in other economic sectors. A joint report by the International Labor Organization and the WHO found:

“Women in the health and care sector face a larger gender pay gap than in other economic sectors, earning on average 24% less than their male counterparts…Within countries, gender pay gaps Gender pay tends to be greater in higher pay grades, where men are overrepresented. Women are overrepresented in the lower wage categories.

Michael A. Bynum