• Gender;
  • nurse;
  • nursing supply

PROBLEM.  The health and long-term care systems in the United States rely heavily on the services of registered nurses, but concerns exist about the adequacy of the current and projected supply of registered nurses to meet the nation's needs. One way to increase the nursing supply is to increase the retention rates of nurses, especially men nurses who are much more likely to leave nursing than are women. The study hypothesizes that the different retention rates of men and women can be explained in part by their different gender roles and careers goals.

METHODS.  A secondary analysis was conducted of the registered nurses who left nursing for other occupations in the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, 2000.

FINDINGS.  Three reasons for leaving nursing were cited most often by the male and female nurses who left nursing: better salaries available in current type of position, hours more convenient in other position, and find current position more rewarding professionally. Results of a multivariate logistic regression analysis show that men were 2.5 times more likely than women to cite better salaries as a reason for leaving the nursing profession, but no more likely to cite more convenient hours or to state that the non-nursing position was more professionally more rewarding.

CONCLUSIONS.  Thus, the men differed from the women in their attitudes toward the financial aspects of nursing but not the professional aspects. Suggestions are provided to redress the dissatisfactions of men nurses.