While the female presence in nursing has had a beneficial impact on women’s ability to find lucrative careers, it has also come with some negative impacts in regard to male nurses. Namely, the stigma against male nurses because of the false and backwards idea that nursing isn’t a very “manly” job.
However, attitudes are changing and more and more males are beginning to enter the nursing profession. Male nurses are beginning to change attitudes and are benefiting healthcare in several keyways.
Here are some ways in which men in nursing are making a positive impact.
The Current Place of Men in Nursing
Hundreds of years ago, many males worked in nursing positions alongside women. While this was quite normal at the time, things shifted during the civil war in America. As a result of all men being conscripted to fight, it was mostly women who took the roles of nurses during the civil war. The association of women being nurses has stuck around ever since, making men in the role of nursing stand out.
Today, things are beginning to shift and more men are stepping in to become nurses. In 2017, only about 1% of nurses were men. Three years later in 2020, over 9% of nurses were male. This steep increase in the number of male nurses reflects the changing attitudes in regard to gender and diversity in the public’s mind.
Hopefully, this number will go up with time and the number of male nurses working in the field will continue to grow. As you will soon see, there are a number of benefits to more men entering the field of nursing. As more men continue to enter the nursing field, the more of these benefits we’ll begin to see.
Promoting Diversity in Healthcare Environments
Today, more and more people, organizations, and professionals have begun to prioritize diversity in the workplace. This means providing more opportunities for a variety of types of people from differing backgrounds and fostering a sense of inclusiveness. In the healthcare space, gender norms have become inextricably linked to certain positions, with many males being physicians and many women being nurses. These attitudes help strengthen stereotypical ideas and poor ways of thinking.
When men become nurses, they help to not only battle unfair stereotypes, but also add more diversity into healthcare settings such as hospitals. This is because, as most are aware, the vast majority of nurses are female.
By acting in opposition to these stereotypes, male nurses are able help make nursing a more diverse field which can help inspire others from diverse backgrounds to pursue the profession as well.
Setting a Good Example for Other Fields
While there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to making nursing more equitable in regard to gender, there are other professions that are worse still. Many different roles still suffer from stigmas and stereotypes that cause people to think that they are either a man’s role or a woman’s role. As more men enter the field of nursing, it can be inspiring for others to break down barriers in various other fields with strong gender stereotypes.
The more men that enter the nursing field, the more normal it will be for people to break gender norms in other career fields. This means that males who enter the nursing profession are able to benefit society on a large scale and truly impact the way that people view gender and how they relate to certain careers.
Providing a Solution to the Nursing Shortage
The nursing field has been dealing with significant shortages for years now. This shortage was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in which many hospitals were made keenly aware of just how significant the nursing shortage actually is. As a result, medical facilities are actively looking for solutions to the problem to ensure that there are enough nurses present to maintain a consistent ability to care for patients.
Males entering the field of nursing could help bring about a powerful solution to the problem. With an influx of male nurses, a huge dent could be made in the problem of nurse shortages. Less hospitals would be short staffed and in the case of another emergency situation, such as the COVID -19 pandemic, hospitals would be able to continue operations without being short of nurses.
This lack of a shortage would help nurse leaders create more effective and fair nurse scheduling. This being the case, it becomes extremely apparent just how significant and beneficial more males in nursing can be.
Why Men Should Go Into Nursing
While the benefits to the field of nursing are significant, so too are the benefits of men who choose to enter the field and pursue a nursing career. Understanding these benefits may convince more men to take the leap and jump into the field of nursing.
As has been noted, the field of nursing has faced the problem of significant shortages in recent years. This largely has to do with the fact that the majority of nurses are beginning to reach retirement age. This being the case, the influx of new nurses isn’t yet doing enough to fill the void. As a result, there are many nurse positions open across the country and men entering the nursing field can expect to find a plethora of job openings.
In addition to widespread availability of nursing roles, men entering the nursing profession can expect to find a consistent salary with room for growth. Within nursing, there are various specialties that can offer higher salaries and, in some cases, the option for private practice. Examples of these roles include nurse practitioner, nurse educator and ambulatory surgery center nurses.
Another huge benefit, especially for men with families whose spouse is also working, in nursing is flexibility. When one is trying to coordinate with one’s spouse to make sure that young children are never alone, nursing allows for one to have a non-traditional schedule that may be more conducive for spending time with one’s children.
Nursing Needs More Gender Diversity
While the stereotypes of nurses being female has been deeply ingrained into the public’s conscience, things have begun to change. With almost one tenth of nurses being male now, perceptions will be forced to change and the stigma that male nurses experience will begin to fade.
In addition to benefiting society, male nurses can help the healthcare industry in keyways such as helping address the nursing shortage and promoting more gender diversity. Though things aren’t perfect yet, the direction nursing is moving towards is showing promise of being more diverse, inclusive, and gender-neutral.