The University of Virginia Nursing School has won a top honor from a leading industry group of male nurses.
The American Association for Men in Nursing has named UVa one of the “Best School for Men in Nursing” this year.
The 16-year-old award was awarded to 13 nursing programs across the country.
According to the association, it recognizes “significant efforts in recruiting and retaining men in nursing, providing men a supportive educational environment, and in educating faculty, students, and the community about the contributions men have made and do make to the nursing profession.”
A little under a quarter of UVa’s Nursing School faculty is men, according to the school.
Although historically dominated by women, the career path is growing in popularity with men.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2023, men represent nearly 12% of all licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. That percentage has grown by 59% over the past 10 years.
“I’m really glad the number of males in nursing is increasing,” Francis Atangan, a UVa Nursing School student, said in a statement released by the school. “There is a big need.”
Atangan, already a registered nurse, is part of the school’s Northern Virginia program and is working to attain his Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
UVa said that what motivates men to become nurses is often the same as what has historically motivated women.
“I had a male relative who was a registered nurse,” said Andrew Nguyen, a fourth-year student working to get his bachelor’s in nursing. “Seeing him work made me aware that I could do it, too.”
Close patient contact and the chance to build relationships were what fellow fourth-year Jared Hart said motivated him.
Nguyen and Hart are also the president and vice president, respectively, of Men Advancing Nursing, or MAN, Club, a student group formed more than 10 years ago at UVa to support, affirm and build community among male nurses and nursing students.
UVa said that diversity in a nursing workforce has many benefits, but at least one is that patients often feel more comfortable discussing their health with someone of the same gender.
“Many patients in the hospital expect to have a female nurse,” even as many male patients appreciate having a same-gender nurse, said Hart.
“I’ve had a male patient tell me how much better he felt since I was a male,” Hart said.
UVa said the recognition from the American Association for Men in Nursing is proof that the school is doing something right.
“This award positions us as a model for gender diversity in nursing,” said Melissa Gomes, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and an associate professor, and is “a recognition that will allow us to inspire a future generation of male nurses and solidify our presence as a destination for their education.”