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Men in Nursing Research


Hi Everyone,

I may be a little out of place on this forum, but I was wondering if I could possibly get your help. I am a female student nurse, and will be graduating next May. One of my classes has me doing research on men in nursing. My topic is to determine whether or not overcoming the stereotype of male nurses is preventing more men from entering the nursing field. I am looking at the stereotype that all male nurses are gay, how female nurses treat their male colleagues, as well as the misconception that men cannot have the caring abilities to be a nurse just because they are masculine.

I myself have no men in my graduating nursing class, and those that we came in with got weeded out over the past couple of years.

I am interested in any information you can give me concerning my topic as well as personal experiences in these areas. My project is due in a couple weeks so any help I can get will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

It is so difficult to group certain characteristics and come out with a generalization. Putting personality traits into any area results in numerous outcomes. I guess that's why we keep statistics- in order to find a mean score.

I've known of very few Nurses who are male and proclaim their sexuality. I believe some are gay and some are not. I don't know for sure, as I've never had sex with a Nurse who was male. But then again, I've never seen a Nurse who was male having sex with a female. (Except me.) So, empirically speaking, I don't know if "all male nurses are gay" or not. (Except me.)

As far as "how female nurses treat their male colleagues", it's all a matter of individual personality. Some people will find any reason they can to dislike another. Other people are open and acccepting of just about anybody. So it has been with my experience in nursing.

Now for the "men cannot have the caring abilities to be a nurse just because they're masculine": Again, it's the individual personality, not the gender. I do not believe myself to be a warm fuzzy touchy feely kind of guy. However, I know techniques that can be used in rendering my professional sevices which could be interpretted as "care". It's not as much "caring abilities" as it is reading the individual; knowing what kind of care they want, and how they want it rendered.

I hope my answers help. Good luck to you on your research, StudentnurseG.




Thank you so much for your opinions and personal experience. This information is very helpful and helps to support my research.

Thanks again,


Rob72, ASN, RN

Specializes in Infectious Disease, Neuro, Research.

In general, you have a stratified sub-population. Because it is a female-dominated field, and it requires more interpersonal skills than many traditionally "male" professions, male nurses will (generally) be more introspective. Not "quiet", but self-assessing. Pretty much like Dave, I'm not "touchy-feely", but I assess how I may best interact with individual personality types( i.e., being "sociable", being "business-like", being "firm", etc..)

We tend to be team-oriented, but more individualistic, i.e., we are capable of working towards a common goal, but we are very conscious of our particular professional strengths and how those may be optimized in problem solving. This is why men specialize more and sooner in the profession than the majority of our female counterparts.

There is a thread about the "gay" perception running in the forum, and I think you'd get a fair cross-section of perspectives, there.;)

Male-female dynamics are what they are. I'm happily married, and comfortable in letting that be known, so its pretty much sibling-relational for me, or, God help me, paternal-mentoring, as I have 3 daughters the same age as many co-workers.

morecoffeepls, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 5 years experience.

I've had several careers, including managing an after-school program for children with special needs, being a used car salesman, a banker, and running a restaurant. When my wife and I had our first child, we decided to sell the restaurant so I could actually see my son once in a while, and I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for a living. There are certainly stereotypes and misconceptions about my past professions (the ones about being a used car salesman are true & I had to quit so I could sleep at night), and I could honestly say that the ones about nursing never affected my decision to become one. I wanted a career that was fulfilling is all. Despite the fact that I am married, and large, and my arms and legs are sleeved with tattoos, I would have a hard time letting my "masculinity" get in the way of caring. I've been referred to as a "murse" in a derogatory way, and many times people will ask why I didn't just become a doctor, but the principle of treating the patient or the person and not the diagnosis appealed to my nature, and still does by all means. Without coming off like a jerk, I would say that as a student, the females deferred to me at times despite our shared level of experience/knowledge, and I could only assume it was because I was a guy. Also, to be honest, there are definitely a fair share of gay men in nursing. In my graduating class, there was a 10:1 girl/guy ratio, and a guy or two didn't count as far as the romantic potential for those numbers because of their orientation. (I told my wife that in my next life I would be single in nursing school, and she said fine.) Compassion, to me, hardly seems like a gender-based characteristic; maybe I was raised a certain way, or maybe I'm naive, or maybe I'm just gay. Who knows?


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

I'm gay and that didn't affect my decision to become a nurse, nor did I feel I was entering a particularly "gay" profession. I've had gay and straight colleagues of both sexes. Nursing may be a female dominated profession, but I don't think it's a necessarily feminine rôle. "Caring" may traditionally have been considered a "feminine" trait, however the technical precision needed in many modern nursing tasks is actually more akin to to the level of technicality and manual dexterity associated with more traditionally viewed "masculine" technician rôles, though I personally shy away from stereotyping masculine or feminine rôles as I don't think that's helpful. However some people may still think in this way, yes.

In the 25 years I've beeen a nurse I've seen a distinct paradigm shift in the way we're viewed. Old stereotypes about us being workshy have largely disappeared, as have stereotypes about it being a strange career choice for a man. The term "male nurse" is used less and less I'm glad to say. I no longer feel oddly or differently viewed by colleagues or patients. One bugbear is being asked to help with heavy lifting "because you're a man" - there is separate thread on this that might be helpful to you. Another annoying assumption, less prevalent than before but still sometimes there, is that you didn't have the brains to be a doctor hence became a nurse by default. Again there is another thread devoted to this that might be useful.

I did leave nursing for a couple of years to teach English in a language school, and I don't believe the dynamics with my colleagues were any different on a gender level in teaching than they are in nursing. I do feel people reacted with more respect when I said "I'm a teacher" as opposed to when I say "I'm a nurse" however I don't think that's gender related.

You might want to look at why for such a minority in nursing, men disproportionately rise to senior positions and have more rapid career advancement. This a well documented phenomena if you do a literature search. I don't know how broadly you want to pan out your discussion and analysis, but to see this in the context of mens work/womens work in much broader terms might be useful. The sociological work of people like Margaret Stacey, Irene Brugel and Veronica Beechey might be useful (again, you'll find loads on this in any literature search).

Good luck!

GitanoRN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR. Has 53 years experience.

unquestionably, nursing continues to be viewed as a woman's profession even though, many decades ago the nursing profession was designated to men only. consequently, another misconception that i encountered at the beginning of my career, was my female colleagues way of thinking; that i was just a muscle guy to them. moreover, i'm a single parent of 3 children. having said that,the characteristics of a nurse in the public's eye is to be caring and nurturing, however, males aren't view in that manner. therefore, the number 1# question i get from my patients is "why didn't you become a doctor, you're so intelligent" or "a guy with all those muscles should be doing something else". and this leads me to another point, most of us men in nursing seem to feel more comfortable in icu & ccu or trauma units. in my case, i became a nurse after being involved in a motorcycle accident, and the passion for my chosen career is as strong as when i began. lastly, presently i'm enrolled in the msn program, and hope to be an inspiration to a new generation. wishing you the best in all of your future endeavors...aloha~