Every year polls go out and statistics are gathered that show the number of male nurses in the nursing profession. Nurseweek Magazine gathers such statistics. They reveal that approximately 6 percent of nurses in the United States are male. That low percentage goes to show just what a minority they are in the profession. However, even with the small numbers and a profession that tends to treat all its employees like women, male nurses are finding benefits to working in a female-dominated environment.
Attitudes are Shifting
There was a time when male nurses were considered “not good enough to be doctors” by family and friends. After all, they reasoned, why would a man go into such a girly profession as nursing? Nurses also seemed suspicious of the men and wondered if they were just looking to pick up a wife. However, times have changed male nurses are seen with a different level of respect. Women are also more empowered and less threatened by men in their environment.
Communication is Key
Typically, women are more communicative than men, and have the desire for more consistent and affirming communication. Male nurses frequently report that they learn a great deal more from female instructors than male ones because they are willing to talk and teach more openly. Communication also helps men feel more at home in the workplace environment.
Childcare and Affirmation
Another positive to an environment dominated by women are the things hospitals offer in order to keep the main contingent happy. Men who are parents can enjoy the fact many hospitals offer childcare and good child benefit packages. They can also feel good about themselves as women create a positive workplace environment and tend to be more openly affirming. Men report an ease about knowing where they stand on their floors because they feel women are more open and affirming about what’s happening.
Of course, the main reason men want to be nurses is the same reason anyone wants the job – the satisfaction of helping people in their healing process. Nursing is a tiring but satisfying career that many men feel gives them both a sense of identity and reward for doing something so needed. With the nursing shortage at its height, male nurses are enjoying financial rewards, corporate perks and educational opportunities just like female nurses. Male nurses also get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing a patient’s opinion change. Some patients will claim they don’t want a male nurse, but after having one, they will really open up to the idea that nursing is a job, not a gender.
Overall, male nurses have a lot of benefits coming their way and as society continues to alter its perception of them, we will see more male nurses in the years to come.