It’s no secret. The field of nursing is a female-dominated profession. Statistics don’t lie. The last time I checked, men make up about 7% of the combined nursing work force. That number has only risen about 1% over the past decade. I’m not one to discuss the line drawn in the sand when we talk about ‘male’ nurses versus ‘female’ nurses, but I at least acknowledge its existence.
In my opinion, a nurse is a nurse, gender is of course a biological conclusion, but it does not define us.
Why aren’t more men in nursing?
I have to admit. Up until I entered this profession, I followed the majority. I too thought nursing is only for women. It wasn’t a bigoted or biased thought process, it was just all that I knew. I had no idea what I was missing. Since I’m already a nurse, I have a good idea of what we do, and how it differs for a man. There are a ton of barriers and challenges men will face when making the choice to either pursue our career or to continue on in our career. If I had to choose two, it would be social misinformation and negative stereotyping.
Social misinformation is mostly related to population age and/or societal rearing.
“You’re a nurse? Why didn’t you become a doctor?”
Many have been ‘taught’ Men = doctor and Woman = nurse. It was something that was just ‘assumed’ during the first half of the century. I believe it’s not a person being bigoted, it’s just how the world was ‘made’ for them. And since the surge of men in this female-dominant profession, they’ve had a difficult time adjusting. It’s not that they don’t agree, they just don’t have a good understanding. I’m pretty sure Women who have pursued/pursuing a medical degree have experienced the same sort of disconnect.
Negative stereotyping stems from the social misinformation. It’s assumed that if you are a man, you should be a doctor. If you are a man that is a nurse, than of course something is wrong with YOU, not the profession. Apparently society wants to revoke your ‘man-card’ for working in a female-dominant profession. You MUST have female tendencies in order to work as a nurse, right?! You can’t be manly and be a nurse, can you?
I guess I have a problem with my manhood being defined by my career choice. The last time I checked being a ‘man’ has so much more to do with my worth to my family, my friends and of course my country. I am defined by my actions, not by what you think my actions should be.
While being ‘manly’ is popularly termed alongside ‘strength’ and ‘braun’, I for one think the manliest of men exude their strength from something more than just their muscles.
Oh, and not that it matters, but I’m married to a beautiful woman who just so happens to be a nurse. How does that make me look now?
Image Source: Google