Nurse Shortage Creating Jobs for Men

For years a nursing shortage has been sweeping the nation, making nurse recruitment a full-time and tedious job. A job that often means leaving the country to find help.

Unless more students enroll in nursing programs, the problem will only get worse. By 2008, the government expects to have over 400,000 nurse openings.

But can hospital administrators find a hidden pool of job applicants by making the profession more attractive to men.

In just the last month, one East Texan went against stereotype, quitting his job as a jail officer and becoming a nurse. Now Andrew Holden of Tyler has a larger paycheck and sees room for growth--whether it be Med school or other health care occupations.

"I knew there was a shortage," said Holden. "So I knew it would provide me with a career when I finished school. The possibilities are limitless."

For three years, Andrew was an officer at the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

"As a male, I feel we're vastly underrepresented in the (nursing) field. I hope to be an innovator and a leader for future generations to follow."

Andrew is not at all irked by the stigma that many male nurses face.

"A few of the guys (at the Sheriff's department) laughed and joked with me, but you know for the most part I think they were congratulating me."

The stigma is fading and hospitals are happy to find nurses of any gender, but male nurses still make up 6 percent of the profession.