ST. CLOUD -- "Murse" used to be a derogatory term for male nurses, now we're seeing the stigma surrounding men in nursing disappear more every year.

More men than ever are going into the nursing profession over the last decade. At St. Cloud State University, around 15% of their nursing students each year are men.

Dr. Randy Huard is Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing Science at SCSU.  He says that number follows a national trend, which has seen a jump in the number of men in nursing over just the past few years.

"There's about 3-million registered nurses in the country at any given time. A few years back, it used to be roughly 2-3% was a demographic makeup of male (nurses). Now it's around 10%."

That number is right in line with a study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, which says the number of men in nursing today sits at 13%, a ten-fold rise from the 1960's when it was barely over 2%.

Huard adds men used to dominate the nursing field, from essentially the beginning of recorded history.

"From the beginning of time, we can look at it until about the end of the 1800's. Nurses were men, mostly faith-based sectors, but typically the nurse was a male."

Huard says the stigma around men in nursing has dropped off in recent years. Troy Switajewski is a Registered Nurse at CentraCare Health and was a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy for six years.

He says, while he enjoys his career, and there are more men in it every year, he does still feel some of the old cultural stigma from when there were only a few men in nursing.

"I would have to say I do feel somewhat of a stigma. When I talk to patients, a big question that I get, is, are you going to go be a doctor? And I think obviously that's kind of the culture."

If you're a young man who wants to get into the nursing field, Switajewski has a simple pitch.

"Going into nursing and being around all the different cultures in nursing helped me break out of my shell. So I really thought that was a great thing for me, so I'd encourage those who may be in that shell, or want to see something different to do that."

If the "breaking out of your shell" argument doesn't sway you, consider, in Minnesota, the average RN makes around $66,000 a year, male or female.

CentraCare Health currently employs 188 registered male nurses.

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