Guys vs. Gals: How Does the Number of Male and Female NPs Compare?

Admittedly, I hesitated to publish this blog post. I mean, does it really matter what percentage of nurse practitioners in a given location are men or women? When you get down to it, not that much. Some aspiring healthcare providers may consider gender distribution in selecting their careers, for example. Entering a profession where you could be singled out based on sex has the potential to be intimidating. Quality of care and professional opportunities, however, should not depend on gender distinctions. Looking at demographics based on profession is just plain interesting, so I decided to move ahead with the post. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation contains a host of demographic information on its site regarding nurse practitioners, including stats about gender distribution of nurse practitioners by state. Here’s a look at the organization’s NP gender distribution data.

It’s clear based on this data that the overwhelming majority of nurse practitioners are women. Just a handful of states are home to a nurse practitioner population that is more than 10 percent male. Idaho has the highest percentage of male nurse practitioners, at 17 percent. Illinois and Nebraska have the lowest proportion of male NPs, at just 5 percent of nurse practitioners certified in those states.

While this data shows us the percentage of nurse practitioners certified in each state by gender, it does not give insight into professional trends. Is the percentage of males in the nurse practitioner profession growing or shrinking? How is gender distribution projected to change over the next several years? The number of men entering nursing as a whole is on the rise, so we just may see these numbers start to even in coming years.

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Does the NP gender distribution data for your state fit with what you see in your practice?


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