Why are male nurses looked down on? - page 8

I am a female nursing student but I dont understand why male nurses are looked down on. They are human beings too.... Read More

  1. by   deftonez188
    Still a student, but i've never encountered any kind of discrimination based on gender, if anything it's helpful because i'm needed as a human hoyer

    Male, female, whatever, your brain is what I care about.
  2. by   wlb06
    Well I tend to think they are looked down upon at least in the area I am going to school.
    I have already had one girl say "so why are you wanting to be a nurse, being a guy and all??"
    and it might just be me but I get a strange vibe from a few older female nurses/instructors when they are dealing with me vs the female students....on that note
    i cannot wait to get out of this small town and move to the city when im done with school
  3. by   Batman24
    The male nurses I know are respected and beloved. I went to NS with a few and the instructors adored them. Don't let the ignorance of some get you down.
  4. by   bradons
    third year nursing student here and im not looked down upon. im the only male in the class and get look up to. this past week i tended to get through to clients better then my class mates and actually got one client to open up more and got him to be excited about getting better.
  5. by   hayven1
    I ask myself the same question on this thread...
  6. by   e-dice
    I think it might also have something to do with which part of the country you are in. I live in southeastern PA and I would say 99% of the people I come in contact with respect and admire a male who is willing to take the role of an RN.
  7. by   lchrist2
    I look up to male nureses. They have such a different approach which is great. I actually hear some nureses complain male nureses are lazy. but these nureses complain about everyone! Thank goodness its a job that both parties can enjoy now adays!
  8. by   Dr. Tammy, FNP/GNP-C
    Quote from USCUAmber
    I am a female nursing student but I dont understand why male nurses are looked down on. They are human beings too.
    I'm not sure if men are looked down on as nurses as much as men are viewed as oddities in the context of their minority status in nursing. Here's the back half of a paper I wrote a while ago that will help explain.


    "There are many reasons for this, all of which include gender segregation, overt discrimination and the professions acceptace, historically speaking of same. At present, there is an estimated 2.9 million practicing nurses in the United States (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2006). Presently, the composition of male nurses is estimated to be between 5% and 6%, which is an increase from less than 1% of 1966 (Men in American Nursing, 1997).

    Why are the numbers significant, and why is this issue so significant? It is very clear that there would be no nursing shortage, or even an anticipated nursing shortage for the future if the total population of men in nursing was the same as women. If there are 2.9 million nurses, and women represent 94% (2,784,000) and this number would double to represent 50% of nursing composed of that of men, then the total number of nurses would be 5,568,000! This would represent a surplus of 2,542,000 nurses above and beyond what is present today (2.9 million) (The Center for Nursing Advocacy, 2006) and what is currently needed to meet the shortage (126,000) (AACN).

    From 1966 to present, the growth of male nurses has increased from less than 1% to 6% (Men in American Nursing, 1997). Currently if there was an increase in men in nursing that represented 50% growth from the current percentage of 6% coupled with the same numbers of nurses presently, there would be a total of 3,074,000 nurses, providing the country with a surplus of 48,000 nurses after the current vacancies had been filled. Over the last 40 years, the growth of males in nursing has only averaged a 0.125% yearly growth (Men in American Nursing, 1997), If this historic trend would have doubled (0.250% growth), than nursing would not only have a different face, but also we would not be in the nursing shortage we are in today.

    Why is there such an underrepresentation of men in the nursing profession in America? If the first nurse in America was male (Men in American Nursing), and the first documented school for nursing was strictly for males, and there is such a rich history in the evolution of nursing regarding men, why are men such a minority in contemporary nursing? This has been a question of much debate and the topic of a great deal of research.

    There is a clear pattern of gender segregation and subsequent stereotyping that began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was the time when there was unambiguous departure from men participating in nursing. Florence Nightingale made it very clear that "women who were in nursing training were only doing what is natural" (Evans, 2003). Subsequent to the Nightingale reforms, "men were often excluded from general nursing and relegated to asylum nursing, where their superior strength was required to restrain violent patients" (Evans, 322). It's curious, even today some, women in nursing indicate that they enjoy working with male nurses because they are great for when patients need to be moved or lifted.
    In the early twentieth century, nurses' residents were formed that specifically housed only women, which was in line with the contemporary social values of the time, which perpetuated the division of men in nursing (Bradley, 1989 as cited by Evans). The status of the work of nursing was considered low insofar as social status, and men who participated in such activity did so at there own social status peril (Evans).

    Gender segregation has transcended through generations and is evidenced in today's society. One man who chose the nursing profession as a career, from a recent study, commented that people sometimes think of him as less successful and has received comments that he lacks direction because of his chosen career (Hart, 2005).
    Through the Nightingale reforms, society became more comfortable with the norm of gender segregation and descrimination against men in nursing, which extended to other parts of the world (Evans). The Nurses Associated Alumnae of The United States and Canada formed during the turn of the twentieth century and prohibited men from membership (Men in American Nursing). Gender segregation was even evidenced in the associations' name. The term alumnae refers to the feminine of alumni (Answers.com, 2006).

    The Nurses Associated Alumnae of The United States and Canada eventually evolved into The American Nurses Association (A.N.A.) in 1917 (Men in American Nursing). In keeping with the former organizations' tenets, the A.N.A. specifically excluded men from membership until 1930 (Men in American Nursing). One of the first accomplishments of the A.N.A. was to aid in the policy construction that excluded men from military nursing service (Men in American Nursing). Men were banned from military nursing from 1901 until after the Korean War (Men in American Nursing).

    Through open and active gender segregation, coupled with the notion that nursing was initially considered a low social status profession, the natural progression for men in nursing was to suffer stereotypical responses from colleagues, patients and family (Evans). The stereotypes crossed genders, cultures and continents. A report of male nurses in Taiwan provided evidence that male nurses were considered anomalies, homosexual and were repeatedly subject to answering questions such as, "Aren't there any female nurses available?" (Yang, Gau, Shiau, Hu, & Shih, 2004).

    Gender segregation and stereotypes are also present in other female dominated professions. There is evidence to support that male dental hygienist have suffered equivalent gender based discrimination in this profession that consists mostly of women (Kipp, 2004).

    The numbers as previously outlined support the notion that if the number of men in nursing would double what it is today, there would be no shortage. The cited research makes it very clear of why men are underrepresented in nursing. So what can we, as a profession, do to increase the number of men joining the ranks of nursing? It is clear that we can do nothing about the past, yet we can use the past as a guide of what not to do in the future. Past actions can serve as direction for our future, as individuals and as a profession. There are six separate actions we can take to increase the male population in nursing.

    First and foremost, we need to move in the direction of eliminating any and all forms of gender bias and discrimination from the profession. The term "male nurse" denotes that the term "nurse" needs a clarifier when applied to men. We should all be thought of as nurses. We all need to take an active role, both men and women, in promoting this notion.

    In addition, the members of leadership within the profession of nursing also need to take on an additional role in reaffirming the notion that gender discrimination is an evil that cannot, and will not be tolerated presently nor excused historically, former contemporary values notwithstanding. The largest professional association of nurses in this country, The A.N.A. as an association, needs to formerly acknowledge its prior bad acts of barring men from the profession. Without such acknowledgement, it forms the ideation that the current leaders of the A.N.A. feel that although these actions may have been egregious, it is acceptable because it represented normal sociological values of the time. The United States Army Nurse Corps, in contrast, made it very clear of their historical discriminatory practices (Office of Medical History, Army Nurse Corps Historical Documentation, 2003).

    From my research, the A.N.A. has not made public comment of the associations prior position and actions. Again, we cannot do anything about the past except use former actions as a basis for future directions. Until the A.N.A. takes such action, the organization will have great difficulty in affirming its position in society as representing the nursing profession as a whole, with any substantial credibility.
    The second active action involves the elimination of stereotype of men in nursing. Clearly, men in nursing would prefer to be referenced as an asset to the team for other reasons that abilities related to physical strength as note by Evans (2003). Next, a movement needs to address the Nightingale contentions that women are "natural nurses" and that when women learn nursing, they are just learning behaviors that are intrinsic and characteristic of women (Evans). This doctrine, although considered appropriate for the time, serves only to hurtful to the men who have chosen nursing as a caring profession. This should be the focus of nurse educators within all generic nursing programs. And lastly, our society as a whole needs to recognize that men in nursing are not oddities. Unfortunately, with over 50 years of overt gender segregation and discrimination in the last century, this may take several generations of child rearing to develop new sociological values.

    Third, specific campaigns need to target, and actively recruit men into the profession. The A.N.A. needs to take an active role in this process. The A.N.A. is taking an active role in working on the nursing shortage, yet their actions have fallen short to include targeting and recruiting men within their ten domains of concern (ANA, 2002, as cited by Blais et al., 315). Campaigns for recruiting men into the profession should be led by the professional associations, and not exclusively by commercial companies, such as Johnson & Johnson (Linkous, 2002). Comments such as, "If you exclude men from recruiting, then you reduce half the potential population to recruit from" (Linkous) should be coming from A.N.A. leadership.

    Fourth, generic nursing programs need to take action to acknowledge men in nursing
    from not only a historic perspective, but also to the vital contributions that they have made. Before Linda Richards became the first "trained" nurse in American, Fray (Friar) Juan de Mena who was noted as being the first American nurse (Men in American Nursing), yet I have not seen this fact listed within any nursing books that are inclusive of nursing history. Moreover, the provision of nursing care by men was noted in virtually every plague that occurred on the European continent (Men in American Nursing). The Alexian brothers of the fourteenth century provided direct care of victims of the Bubonic plague, and like St. Alexis, are still organized and operational today. The Alexian Brothers opened their first American hospital in 1866, which focused on training men to provide nursing care (Evans). Historically, men have been involved in nursing ever since its inception. Again, these noteworthy events that relate specifically to nursing remain conspicuously absent from nursing textbooks that identify other historical events in nursing. The general lack of acknowledging contributions of men in nursing perpetuates and enhances the idea that a man in nursing is not only a rare occurrence, but also a sociological anomaly (Evans).

    The fifth and last action relates to the establishment of professional male role models and support systems for men within nursing programs and the profession. Men who are within nursing programs are faced with the prospect of being automatically a minority. Isolation is an inherent consequence of being a minority. Men should be encouraged to seek peer groups, and belong to support groups and professional groups that provide reinforcement and encouragement for their chosen profession (Yang, et. al). Male faculty members should be assigned in a mentoring relationship with male students to effect positive role modeling. Male students should be encouraged to explore memberships with associations such as The American Assembly of Men in Nursing. The mission of the A.A.M.N., as well as the organizations benefit to not only students and nurses is evident in the organizations published purpose. "The purpose of the A.A.M.N. is to provide a framework for nurses as a group to meet, discuss, and influence factors which affect men as nurses." (The American Assembly for Men in Nursing).

    References
    American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2005, October). Fact sheet. Retrieved February 15, 2006, from http://www.aacn.che.edu?Media?FactSh...ngShortage.htm
    Answers.com (2006, February), Retrieved February 15, 2006 from http://www.answers.com/alumnae&r=67
    Blais, K. K., Hayes, J. S., Kozier, B., & Erb, G. (2006). Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
    Evans, J. (2003, November 28). Men nurses: a historical and feminist perspective. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 47, 321-328. Retrieved February 15, 2006, from EBSCOhost database.
    Hart, K. A. (2005, October 4). What do men in nursing really think? Nursing, 35, 46-48. Retrieved February 15, 2006, from EBSCOhost database.
    Hilton, L. (2001, May 14). A few good men: Male nurses defy stereotypes and discrimination to find satisfaction in a female-dominated profession. Retrieved February 10, 2006, from http://www.nurseweek.com/news/features/01-05/men.html
    Kipp, A. (2004, February). On a Man Hunt: Why Aren't There More Male Dental Hygienists. Access, February, 12-21. Retrieved February 15, 2006, from EBSCO database.
    Linkous, J. (2002, March 25). Program calls for male nurses . Retrieved February 17, 2006, from http://www.enquirer.com/editions/200...calls_for.html
    Men in American Nursing (1997). Retrieved February 14, 2006, from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/6011/
    Office of Medical History, Army Hurse Corps Historical Documentation (2003, January). Proud to serve: The evolution of Male Army Nurse Corps Officers. Retrieved February 16, 2006, from http://blackboard.indstate.edu/webap...se_id=_12828_1
    The American Assembly for Men in Nursing (2005), Retrieved February 15, 2006 from
    http://aamn.org/
    The Center for Nursing Advocacy (2006, January 14). How many nurses are there? Retrieved February 17, 2006, from http://www.nursingadvocacy.org/fax/rn_facts.html
    Yang, C., Gau, M., Shiau, S., Hu, W., & Shih, F. (2004, March 10). Professional career development for male nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 48, 642-650. Retrieved February 15, 2006, from EBSCOhost database."
  9. by   wlb06
    you get an A for your paper
  10. by   xxcdplayaxx
    Wow nicely written
  11. by   truern
    Are they?? I've certainly never noticed any of the great male nurses I work with being looked down on....if anything they're appreciated for being terrific help when you need a strong assist.
  12. by   Dr. Tammy, FNP/GNP-C
    Quote from truern
    Are they?? I've certainly never noticed any of the great male nurses I work with being looked down on....if anything they're appreciated for being terrific help when you need a strong assist.
    Male nurses are also great for changing light bulbs and taking out the trash too. Sorry, I thought in 100 years or so, stereotyping would at long last come to an end.

    Quote from Tammy79, RN
    Subsequent to the Nightingale reforms, "men were often excluded from general nursing and relegated to asylum nursing, where their superior strength was required to restrain violent patients" (Evans, 322). It's curious, even today some, women in nursing indicate that they enjoy working with male nurses because they are great for when patients need to be moved or lifted.
  13. by   truern
    Quote from Tammy79, RN
    Male nurses are also great for changing light bulbs and taking out the trash too. Sorry, I thought in 100 years or so, stereotyping would at long last come to an end.
    Stereotyping?? Hardly.

    Maybe you can pull up a 250 pound patient but I can't. And I'll continue to look for the strongest most able-bodied person to assist me....male OR female.

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