Nursing was once a predominately female profession, but it has become popular for men as well in recent years.
Although this is now a common career choice for men, there are still many misconceptions and stereotypes associated with being a male nurse.
There are male nurses in every nurse specialty from obstetrics to geriatrics to sexual assault examiners. But there seems to be certain specialities which attract a larger number of men.
Although widely seen as a female profession, and mainly portrayed as such in the media, nursing is gradually becoming a more inclusive profession. Males make up around 10% of the taskforce in the UK, 11.2% of nurses in Nigeria 6.4% of nurses in Canada, and 23% of nurses in Iran.
== History ==
While the current structure of the medical field, including nursing care, does not directly translate to historical provision of care, there is a history of male presence in caring for the sick and infirmed. The term nosocomial originates from the latin nosocomi, the name given to male caregivers, meaning that men were prominent in Ancient Rome.
Nine misconception that needs to be busted
- Not all male nurses are effeminate
Male nurses have been long considered as effeminate, and this perception is not aided by portrayals of male nurses in popular Anti-Nursing media which is not true.
- Male nurses are no less caring than female nurses
“I think there is a misconception that men bring strength and mainly physical differences,” says a registered nurse. “Males bring just as much critical thinking and clinical skills as they bring caring and compassion,” he adds. “Thinking that one sex has or lacks capacities to be a good nurse or is naturally a better nurse is just untrue.”
- Not all male nurses are gay
Male nurses often face the perception that they are gay. One study of 498 men in nursing in 2005 by the American Association of Men in Nursing, found that 51% felt that the major misconception about men in nursing is that they are gay. This was echoed by the participants of a study involving 18 New Zealand nurses in 2004, who believe that the majority of male nurses are heterosexual.
- Male nurses are not failed doctors.
Many relegate the occupation of doctor as a higher order of professional. Subsequently, they see male nurses as aspiring medical students, or ones who failed to get admitted for a MBBS Degree, who then directed their academic credits towards nursing. Others think men becoming nurses is just a way for them to ease their way into medical school.
- Male nurses are not perverts who want to see women naked
Reservations towards receiving the care of male nurses are common, due to the stereotype of men as being sexually aggressive. patients in maternity wards and paediatrics “are sometimes uncomfortable with a male nurse helping them.”
Yet, two small-scale qualitative studies examining the experiences of six male registered psychiatric nurses (RPN) and five male registered general nurses (RGN) when caring for the opposite sex, found that they were often apprehensive about using physical touch as it could very easily be misinterpreted. To protect themselves from being accused of using touch inappropriately, they used coping strategies including always having or offering to have a female chaperone during interventions, or by not engaging in interactions that could be deemed as inappropriate.
Nursing was not traditionally a woman’s job
Male nurses often find themselves having to explain themselves. They sometimes even feel pressure to overtly express their masculinity and defend their heterosexuality. But paid nursing was, historically, a male profession. The first nursing school, which opened in India in 250 B.C. only considered men “pure” enough to be nurses.
There were many male nurses in history, including St. Benedict (480-547), founder of the Benedictine nursing order, and a patron saint with many hospitals and care units named for him. A biographer of Florence Nightingale, the first modern female nurse, male ‘orderlies’ had helped provide nursing care at the Crimean front before her. It was Nightingale who later promoted nursing education reform and nursing as a women’s occupation.
To be continued