Change title of "Nurse"?

  1. Hello,
    I'm a junior year nursing student and this question seems to come up alot: why not change the title of "Nurse"?

    It doesn't bother me too much because I care more about taking care of patients than the title of my job, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little annoyed with the term "Nurse". So many men in nursing feel that they have to call themselves a "Male Nurse". Why is this??? You don't hear anything theses days like "Female Doctor" or "Female Lawyer" or even "Male Stewardess". Peolpe see the term nursing as a female caricature: a pretty woman in a white dress and white cap.

    How hard would it be to change the job title? Even a small change would help. How about putting the word "Medical" in front of "Nurse" so as a "Medical Nurse", a man could call himself a "Medic" if he so chooses. I've heard of polls that show a large majority of men would support this idea (Surprisingly women too). I think also that a title change to a non-gender biased name would bring in more men to the profession.

    So... what would it take? Let me know what you think.
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  2. 56 Comments

  3. by   jb2u
    This has come up several times on this forum. I don't think adding "Medical" is a good idea, because we do not practice "medicine", we practice "nursing."

    I probably am one of the few men that don't mind the term nurse. It clearly states what I want to do. Although one definition is to suckle, another is to take care of, watch over someone. That is what I want to do as a Nurse.

    To answer your question, "what would it take?" to change the title. I'd say...TIME, maybe! Most people feel they "worked hard" to EARN the title Nurse and would not, so easily, give it up.
  4. by   jb2u
    I found this article and thought you may want to read it. It's actually a letter to an editor about changing the title "Nurse." From NursingWorld.org

    He says that he thinks the title should be "Medical Nurse" and then you can just shorten it to "Medic" if you want. However, the problem with his idea is there are ALREADY "Medics" out there (paramedics). I am sure they do not want to share their title and this would also confuse the public. When you say that you are a Medic, they will no dought think that you work on an ambulance.

    Also, I don't think men are staying away from Nursing because of the title, although I could be wrong. I believe that men, especially young men, stay away from nursing because of their ignorance of what a nurse actually does. I am sure that if you ask a man, "why don't you want to be a nurse?", they will either say...."I don't want to wipe bottoms" or "I don't want to just take orders from a doctor." Many people do not understand/know that Nursing is more, a LOT more, than just wiping bottoms and "taking doctor's orders." They do not realize how much science, math, and independance nursing takes. The doctor is not always there and the NURSE must recognize S/S of disease processes, recognize when a pt is "going south," calculate drugs for administration, and many other task like these that require INTELLIGENCE. When the general public understands what all a Nurse does and how skilled/intelligent a nurse MUST be then I think you will see more men wanting to be a nurse; however, I do not agree that the title "Nurse" is what is keeping men away from nursing. Again, I could be wrong, but ask a male that says he doesn't want to be a nurse why and wait for his response. If he doesn't want to wipe someone's bottom....well, you can call him a Medical Specialized Skilled Life Saving Technician and he STILL would not want to be it...why? Because he doesn't want to wipe butts. However, If he "doesn't want to take orders from doctor's all day long" well then you can educate him on the fact that that's not what nurses do. Tell him exactly what a Nurse is and then MAYBE he will realize that men do belong in Nursing (if he can get past his ego, of course). I think education is the key and not name changing.

    Let's not forget there IS a paramedic shortage also! What is the rationale for that? IF being a "medic" would really flood the Nursing profession with men then why is it not doing the same with...MEDICS? Just a thought. Also, I am a certified nursing assistant because I assist nurses. I was a certified medical assistant when I assisted doctors in a doctor's office (nursing/medical). And, now a lot of cna positions are called "patient care techs"..that really hasn't improved the numbers of men becoming cna's. Just another thought.
  5. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I don't see the point.

    I'm an RN, male at that, and proud of what I've accomplished.

    If being a 'nurse' was an impediment to that, I wouldn't be here.

    If the title 'nurse' bothers you as a male, then changing the name isn't going to change all the connotations that you would still run into. AND the misconceptions people hold.

    I'm just not much into the concept of investing change in semantics alone. Words DO mean something - but only because WE decide what they mean. By themselves, words are only symbols for thoughts. Changing the name MIGHT be more unambiguous, but in the end, it's a change in the CONCEPT you seek.

    It's just as valid to change the 'meaning' of nurse as it is to change the word itself. And, less PC to boot.

    I'm reminded of a story about do-gooders in the D.C. area in the '90's wanting the city to fund 'grocery carts' for the homeless. Instead of dealing with the PROBLEM of the homeless, they just wanted to feel good about a decorational change. Seems a familiar concept here.

    Rather then demand that the very name of nursing must change to accomodate me as a male, instead, I'm changing the very NATURE of nursing by my participation.

    And I'm OK with that.

    Go ahead, change the name of nurse to something more sematically PC. 20 yrs from now, I'LL still tell my pts,"Howdy, I'm Nurse XXXXX (my last name there), I'm an RN, and I'll be your NURSE today. But, you may call me Timothy."

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 25, '06
  6. by   jb2u
    One more thought for all of you guys out there that "hate" being called a nurse....

    Think about it this way.....

    Nursing (breast feeding) is one of the most Loving, Caring, Unselfish things someone can do....So, the fact that our profession is named after this loving, caring, unselfish acts should be considered an HONOR! and not an embarrassment. For, as a Nurse, I want to provide and be thought of as giving loving, caring, unselfish care to all of my patients.
  7. by   jb2u
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    Rather then demand that the very name of nursing must change to accomodate me as a male, instead, I'm changing the very NATURE of nursing by my participation.

    And I'm OK with that.

    Very well said, and I agree 100%.
  8. by   Blueskies
    Originally Posted by ZASHAGALKA
    Rather then demand that the very name of nursing must change to accomodate me as a male, instead, I'm changing the very NATURE of nursing by my participation.

    And I'm OK with that.

    I like that too, although maybe instead of male nurse, we could be called "Hunk Nurse" or "Nurse Dude."
  9. by   Corvette Guy
    A Medic in the AMEDD is comprable to a civilian EMT. Plus, as RNs we practice the nursing model, rather than medical model.

    The more appropriate approach seems to me would be to educate the public to what RNs actually do. Many, many years have passed since nurses were merely hand maidens for MDs. I have no problem with being called an RN; Proud to be a Male, proud to be an RN, therefore proud to be a Male RN.

    :spin:
  10. by   nursemike
    It is my humble opinion that cats are the manliest of all housepets. My old tomcat likes to sleep all day, prowl, hunt, and in his younger days, chase--er, female cats all night. If he drank beer, we could be twins.

    This cat, who continues to chase dogs out of our yard despite having recently lost his teeth, has loved kittens all his life. He has been actively involved in raising two litters (not his) born at our house, and has been known to go to neighbors' houses to bathe and play with their kittens, too. He continues to groom our other grown cats and hacks up multicolored hairballs.

    My point, of course, is that even tough guys can be nuturing. Compassion is not an exclusively feminine trait. There is nothing unmanly about being a nurse. Frankly, I wonder whether anyone who might be put off nursing by its title or public image would last a week without crying or fainting, anyway.
  11. by   piper_for_hire
    How about "tank commander"? I'm going to start calling myself that tomorrow.

    -S
  12. by   nursemike
    Quote from piper_for_hire
    How about "tank commander"? I'm going to start calling myself that tomorrow.

    -S
    Not bad at all. I've lately been reading Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander novels, wherein the postscript RN signifiies "Royal Navy." Hmmm.

    "Hello, I'm Mike, and I'll be your Master and Commander, tonight..."
  13. by   shodobe
    I don't see the point either. It seems that most of these posts of this nature originate from new guys wanting to be a nurse or they already are one and want to start changing titles to fit their personalities. I think most of them lack a wee bit of confidence and probably are embarrassed to introduce themselves to the patient as their nurse. Maybe nursing isn't for them because of this. I have been a NURSE for almost 30 years, not a "medic" or whatever. I have no problem with being called a nurse and maybe the ones who want to change titles shouldn't either. I "only' have about 10 years left in me before retirement and I hope I can survive those without doing bodily harm to the young, new ones that are coming after me. I sometimes question the commitment of those to the profession because of their actions. Tomorrow I become, "SUPREME COMMANDER"!
  14. by   caba35
    "Meet the Parents" ruined the title "male nurse"

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