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Young Men Embrace Nursing at Southwest

Photos of three male nursing students

Over twenty young men are enrolled in Southwest Virginia Community College’s nursing program.  As members of the nursing profession, men enjoy a high level of respect within the healthcare industry. While old beliefs about nursing being a profession solely for females are still relatively prevalent, acceptance of male nurses is rapidly growing.

In fact, when it comes to pay and advancement, male nurses seem to be keeping pace and sometimes outpacing females. For instance, 41% of nurse anesthetists are now males. The national average annual salary for a CRNA is $162,000. Both males and females can earn excellent salaries. Median salary for nurse practitioners in VA last year was $108,381. The national median salary for flight/RNs is $74,855.

Three male nursing students recently talked with us about pursuing a nursing career. Michael Belcher of Rosedale, VA plans to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.  Michael believes that any bias toward male nurses is a thing of the past and should not be a cause for concern.

Tristen Epperson from Abbs Valley, VA, has always had a very strong interest in the medical field and a passion for helping others.  His life’s goal is to eventually earn his master’s degree in nursing and open his own practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  Tristen said that he will not let traditional, outdated gender stereotypes hold him back from what could be the best decision of his life.

Joshua Proffitt of Richlands, VA is following in his mother’s career path. His goal is to impact lives and be an inspiration to others.  Joshua says that he really doesn’t notice any stigma in male vs. female nursing career.

Regardless of whether you’re just getting started or looking to change careers, a nursing degree might be just what you’re looking for, especially if you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with the latest technology and equipment. Southwest offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree, as well as a Certificate in Practical Nursing. The College’s state-of-the-art Simulation Lab offers students the latest technology with which to gain hands-on experience.

For more information, contact Neyia Beavers, Program Advisor at 276.964.7659 or

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