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A look Into Male Nursing

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Andy Howe

Design and Society

Final Paper
A Look Into Male Nursing
Have you ever been to a hospital? If so, you are likely to have been treated by a nurse. Nurses my be over looked while being examined by a doctor, but in fact nurses are a vital part of your care and of all the other patients care. Have you noticed how the nursing staff is mostly women? I personally have been to a hospital a few times and seen for myself. Every nurse that has taken care of me has been a woman. The typical stereotype of nurses is that only women should be nurses, but why? If a male wants to be a professional nurse they have the right to just like everyone else.

Equality in society is a major ethical complication today as it has been in the past. Differences in male and female, black and white skin color still exists. This lingering situation makes me wonder just how many job opportunities, and social problems are still occurring everyday in the world. This is why I believe that in the medical world, female nurses discriminate against males in the nursing profession. The issue that I am addressing may go by unnoticed by many people when they visit a hospital or attend a nursing school. But as a male, I do not always see males as dominating social figures in work, and societal environments. Societies are changing and so are its racial, sexual and moral standards.

During World War II there was a severe nursing shortage. Military policy banned men from the United States Army Nurse Corps. This meant that only women could bring aid to wounded soldiers. The policy was not changed until 1955. Within a decade of the collapse of the policy more than 10% of the Army Nurse Corps were men. This goes to shows that the belief that nursing was an extension of a woman’s natural domestic role is false. Men have the same interest in the nursing as women, that is why forbidding men from a so called “women’s occupation” is absurd. I believe there is no such thing as work just for women or men. Everyone should have the equal right to pursue any type of career they want with out discrimination.

In the more current times, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in 2001 men only comprised 3.5% of the full-time faculty and 2.4% of the deans in schools of nursing. In 2003, the percentage of male full-time faculty had only risen to 4.2%. Although the percentages are rising, why is it that males only occupy less then 5% of nursing instructors? The problem of shortages in male nurses may be the result of the stereotypes that our societies hold.

In the March 2000 findings from the National Sample Survey Of Registered Nurses, there was an estimated 2,694,540 Registered Nurses in the US in March 2000, 146,902 or 5.4 percent were men.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As I look further into the graph above I wonder why the number of nurses from 1890 to 1940 decrease? The conclusion that I came to was that during this time period there were many wars that effected male nursing employment because males could not care for the wounded and nursing was looked at as a female only job.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The graphs above show the percentage of male nurses in the U.S. through 1890-2000 and the percent of registered nurses by gender in 2003. As the top graph shows male nurses are on the rise as time goes by. The pie graph also emphasizes that the number of male nurses is rising but the female dominance is still pertinent. These graphs clearly answer my hypothesis, which is, male nurses are over looker or discriminated on. With the rising number of male nurses as we pass the year 2003 it is clearly accurate to answer that male nursing numbers are on the rise and being more respected in their societies. Most especially when registered nursing is “predicted to be the top occupation for job growth through at least the next decade, with over one million new and replacement nursing positions opening up”

  • Department of Labor, 2006

Although I have already proven my hypothesis to be false I still have some doubts on the issue of males in the nursing field. The following is a real case study that I have picked which demonstrates discrimination on males in education. A senior boy at Milton High School has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys by making it easier for girls to succeed academically. The senior boy Doug Anglin believes that “the school system is designed to disadvantage males.”

This case study is a close comparison to the reality of discrimination on males in our community. And males that are perusing a career as a nurse will fall under this category.

“Male Student Sues for Gender Discrimination”

January 27, 2006, News Busters, Noel Sheppard.
“March 2000: Findings from the National Sample Survey Of Registered Nurses”

2000, Research Triangle Institute.
“Men in Nursing”

2004, Washington University School of Medicine.

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