Men in Nursing (paper)

  1. Men in Nursing

    The United States of America started out as a nation composed of all white human beings. As time went on, and people from other countries heard about how promising the new world was, they decided to migrate. Also slavery was the reason many other non-white people came over. After a while there were all these different colored and/or different cultured people existing throughout the U.S. in small percentages. These small percentages at one point were the same as the percent of today's nurses who are male. Male nurses today still only make up 5.9 percent of the total number of nurses in the United States (m in n 2), and may be stereotyped by some people because of this fact. This number has gone up and will continue to rise in the future while the amount and severity of discrimination continues to fall. The fact of the matter is that nursing has changed dramatically from when it was a "hand holding" job- as Millard from The Patriot Ledger would say- for the submissive women of the time, to a profession for strong, intelligent, responsible, and caring individuals, who do not need to be submissive anymore. As the different races and nationalities are becoming more and more prevalent in the United States of America, so are male nurses. The first nurse on the land that would become the U.S., was a man named Friar Juan de Mena. He got shipwrecked and ended up in Texas in 1422(M in N 9). From then, all the way up until the mid 1800's, nursing involved a sufficient amount of men. In 1808 a hospital in San Antonio only employed men as nurses (M in N 9). Then the civil war started in 1861 and lasted four years. Since we were fighting against each other, lots of American men died. Many men who were nurses died in the war, and if they did not die, many of them moved out west. Since there was a lack of men to help their families tend to the farming work, the wives packed up their stuff and moved into the city. Then came the early 1900's and women were taking over nursing, forbidding men to join associations, clubs, and companies. For example, in 1901, the Army Nurse Corps was formed and men were not allowed to join. Also, men were not allowed to join the American Nurses Association until 1930. Even though they were allowed to join in 1930, men were slow to joining and becoming nurses in general. Thirty-six years later, in 1966, only one percent of nurses were males (M in N 9). This one percent of nurses has slowly gone up until today where it continues to slowly rise at six percent (m in n 2).

    Discrimination does not just happen between whites and blacks as we sometimes think as a kid. It happens between whites and Asians, Canadians and the Spanish, the straight and the homosexual, computer geeks and jocks, and close-minded people and male nurses. These people who are discriminating against a certain group, are all used to a certain life style or way of things happening. When these things are changed they come up with biased opinions and illogical way of thinking. If the Asians are doing as good as the whites in keeping America a great country then what is the problem with them being here? If male nurses can do the job as good, if not better, than female nurses, then what is the problem with them in the nursing profession? People have to realize that males in nursing are not only a good thing, but an essential part of the profession. Essential; meaning that in order for nursing to be effective and for the huge shortage that will continue to rise, and therefore mutilate the profession, men need to start using the initials RN after their names.

    One day my mother received a phone call from my grandmother, who was in the hospital at the time with a broken hip and had a weird story to tell. She was dumbfounded because one of the janitors had come in and "rolled her." It definitely was not a doctor and it was not a woman, so it couldn't have been a nurse. My mother went to visit her the next day and asked if a male nurse was taking care of her the previous night, and sure enough, that was the case. She explained that she had not been in the hospital for the longest time, and when she was, a "regular" nurse took care of her. I suppose male nurses are not regular nurses, but irregular to some people.

    There are even books and movies about how biased people are about male nurses. In the movie, "Meet the Parents", a male nurse named Gaylord Focker meets this beautiful girl Pam. They fall in love, but when Gaylord and Pam go to visit her parents, everything goes wrong for Gaylord, or Greg, as he would like to be called. Pam's dad, unlike her mother, does not like Greg at first just because he is a male nurse. When the whole family comes over for dinner, they all harass and make fun of him. They all continue to pull and pull on Greg's emotions until finally he ends up burning down their house by accident and screwing everything up for himself. This movie is obviously a very extreme case, but this does happen to all males in the nursing profession at some point in their career and with varying amounts of severity. Whether or not it is someone looking surprised when you answer their question of what do you do for a living with, "I am a nurse," or it is your girlfriend's parents not allowing her to see you anymore because of your profession.

    Out of the 3,218,182 nurses in this country today, 187,463 are men. States across the U.S. vary widely in the amount and the proportions of males in the nursing profession. New Hampshire has 11,865 nurses, while 623 are men. This means that we have 5.2% men, which is very low compared with other states. Even worse than NH, Nebraska has only 4.3% males in nursing. Massachusetts is better than NH and NY, and .6% above average, but not as good as some of the southern states. Florida, California, Texas, and Louisiana have more than 7%, LA having an amazing 8.4% (M in N 8).

    These numbers may be affected by things such as climate, living conditions, cost of living, benefits and salaries, advertising, strength of biases, and quite possibly by chance. It seems when you look at the data, that some of the northeastern states that are calculated had a lower percentage of men than most of the southern states. The first thing that seems obvious is climate and living conditions. Living in Florida or California would be like a permanent vacation in a way. You don't have to deal with snow and blizzards and all the things that northern states have. The cost of living would be cheaper, but you would in general make less and/or have fewer benefits. Maybe the populations of the south and the other states that have a higher percentage have less strength in their bias opinions.

    Out of these things that would attract men to practice nursing in that area, none of them can compare to the attraction of the Army. The Army, which is mostly men with strengthening numbers of women, has 36% men in nursing (M in N 8). This is a large percentage in this case that should become even higher as other men see that it is actually a profession for men too. Some might hear nursing and think it would be a chunk out of their manly ego's, but then hear "Army nurse" and think again. This is a great way to get the numbers up and drive the prejudice thoughts out.

    Besides the Army, the next best area that attracts men to the nursing profession is critical care. Critical care is a fast paced setting where nurses have to go through additional training to be sufficiently prepared to care for the extremely sick people. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses the critical care nurses' role is to:

    Respect and support the right of the patient or the patient's designated surrogate to autonomous informed decision making.
    Intervene when the best interest of the patient is in question.
    Help the patient obtain necessary care.
    Respect the values, beliefs and rights of the patient.
    Provide education and support to help the patient or the patient's designated surrogate make decisions.
    Represent the patient in accordance with the patient's choices.
    Support the decisions of the patient or his designated surrogate or transfer care to an equally qualified critical care nurse.
    Intercede for patients who cannot speak for themselves in situations that require immediate action.
    Monitor and safeguard the quality of care the patient receives.
    <li>Act as a liaison between the patient, the patient's family and other healthcare professionals. To break it down, 59% of nurses work in hospitals. 31%, or 403,527 nurses work in these critical care settings, which means that more than half of the nurses that work in hospitals choose to work in the more intense and exciting environment. 201,833 nurses work in the intensive care unit, or ICU, 94,912 work in emergency departments, or ED, 70,241 work in a step-down unit, and 36,541 work in a post operative/ post anesthesia care unit, or PACU (M in N 6). One forth of the 94,912 that work in the ED are males, which means there are 23,728 male emergency department nurses in this country (M in N 2). Therefore, a little less that 13% of male nurses work in ED's around the country. This number is more than half of the percentage of males in the nursing profession generally.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Feb 25, '05
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    About Thunderwolf, MSN, RN

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    Charge Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 32 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health