Male nursing calendar tackles nursing gender gap

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new group on the University of Virginia Grounds called the MAN Club, or Men Advancing Nursing, is changing perceptions and helping to bridge the gender gap in the nursing profession with a unique fundraiser.

"It's very female dominated and in order to allow more men to enter this professional field, I feel like our representation is important," said UVA nursing student William Burris.

The MAN Club was officially recognized by UVA last week, and so far it consists of about two dozen male nursing students.

The group doesn't discriminate, and females are more than welcome to join.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91 percent of nurses are female, while just nine percent are male. At UVA, about 15 percent of nursing students are male.

"There's this idea that when you're a male and you go into health care, you become a doctor," said Burris. "There are alternative routes and we enjoy what we do."

The census numbers and swirling stereotypes inspired the creation of the MAN Club, which Ryan Thomas, the group's president, says is all about inclusion.

"It's about outreach to the community, teaching people about health care and nursing," said Thomas. "Also just medicine in general."

The men are stepping into classrooms, teaching kids about hand washing and germs, as well as the community with a unique fundraiser.

In the spirit of the infamous "firefighter calendar," the MAN Club created its very own, but it's a lot more wholesome as Burris, Mr.May, would agree.

"Guys in our scrubs with something everyone loves, puppies," said Burris.

The newly released 2018 calendar features male nurses photographed with cute dogs. You might recognize some familiar faces. For example, Charlottesville's Fire Chief Andrew Baxter, who graduated from the school of nursing years ago, is in there.

"The response has been more than we thought," said Thomas. "We ordered 250 and we've sold almost 140 right now and orders just keep on coming."

The calendars are for purchase for $15 and can be bought at the UVA School of Nursing. The proceeds go toward the MAN Club and toward the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA.

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