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Male nurse intro course 101

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The profession of nursing is starting to see a small surge in the number of men not only interested in nursing now, but the number of current registered nurses who are male is also increasing.

I thought it only appropriate to reach out to all those men out there who are taking the greatest leap of there life and give them some introductory basics on how to survive this wonderful ride of a career we call nursing.

  • You are the minority. Get used to it.

It’s a woman’s world out there guys. We are the minority. Men only make up (approximately) 6.2% of the nursing workforce. Be sure to understand the culture and the atmosphere before you decide to make it your own. In my experience, you aren’t really accepted as a ‘nurse’ until you become one of the ‘girls.’ And trust me when I say this, in the world of nursing – you want to be part of that. In the same breath, while we are the minority, we are not inferior.

  • Men land on common ground

It’s true. Men are adrenaline junkies. Most men who dare take the challenge to be a nurse seem to gravitate towards the higher acuity and faster paced atmosphere. Most men settle in the critical care or emergency room world. They not only take on this experience but most will build upon it to further their education as an advanced practice nurse. You may have heard of Nurse Anesthetists, Acute Care Nurse Practitioners, and Flight Nurses. Don’t get me wrong, in all those listed roles we men are still the minority, but these are definitely popular choices.

  • We nurses are all created equal

Male or female, we all receive the same basic education and training. It’s just that simple. Just because you are a man does not make you any better (or worse) when receiving your basic education. The last time I checked gender is not a prerequisite for patient advocacy.

  • Male doctor posers

Yes, most patients will initially mistake you for a doctor. It’s not your fault, it’s that society brainwashing mentality of genderizing roles. The public thinks men = doctors and females = nurses. The majority of our geriatric patients have a very difficult time grasping this concept sometimes. Let me be clear, any nurse worth their weight in water won’t even stutter their step when confronted with this social misconception. The care you deliver will never be forgotten, but your gender will.

  • Bodybuilder wannabees

Most of your female colleagues will single you out for the heavy lifting and more laborious responsibilities. Suck it up and get over it. The reality is men in most cases are stronger than women (not that there aren’t exceptions to this rule), so be the ‘bigger’ person and lend the hand they need. This does not say anything about your worth as a co-worker or nurse. Your female colleague is being smart and efficient by recruiting the help that is needed. Just be sure you become valued for your contribution as a professional, not just a pair of broad shoulders.

  • Stereotypes shmereotypes

Don’t listen to anything anyone has to say about being a man in a woman’s world, or being a male nurse means you’re gay, or that you chose nursing because you flunked out of medical school. In the end, your actions and your reactions will define you. I always love the question, “Oh, so you’re a male nurse?”

My humble yet ear-to-ear grin response is always, “No. I’m a nurse.”

Set your own standards, play nice in the sandbox, don’t be bullied into any way of thinking or practicing and by all means remember you are not alone.

Nursing is the greatest profession out there. You are going to get out of nursing what you put into it. Good luck out there!

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
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16 Responses to Male nurse intro course 101

  1. I got into nursing in 1978 and have not regretted at all. My faith and conviction to serve GOD`s people no matter who they are or where they have come from has helped me overcome the rough areas in nursing. It does not bother me that i work in a female dominant role.I love the variety of nursing,and the daily challenges.I have worked from Med-Surg.,Post-op open heart in ICU and CCU,Telementry,Long Term Care, Agency,Maritime,Crisis Care thru Hospice. Enjoy it,and embrace it with gusto. Seize the day!

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ David Well said! Carpe diem!

  3. Dana RN

    I just graduated nursing school this past May, and in our class of 23 students, 3 were male. They are no greater, and no less, than any of the female students. As a FEMALE nurse, I respect them all so much! I hope that over time gender roles in healthcare are no longer set, as I plan on being an advanced practice nurse. Just as female doctors are as good as their male counterparts, male nurses are just as amazing as female nurses. MALE NURSES ROCK!! … … I take that back… NURSES ROCK!!!

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Dana Thank you! Best of luck with your future endeavors – we need more nurse leaders with your zeal and attitude!

  5. Allen R.N.

    Sean,
    I have been a nurse for about eight years. I have seen so many surprised faces when I walk into a room. Generally I am accepted almost immediately but at times I am rejected. I do not take it personal but I believe it is just a perceptiion that all nurses should be female. I enjoy what I do very much and don’t allow negative comments to affect my work. I am glad you have started this blog to express the feeling of men in nursing.

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Allen Thanks for sharing your thoughts and you are welcome!

  7. Allen

    Sean,
    I was wondering if you could let me how long you have been a nurse. I am pursuing a bachelor degree in nursing and part of my assisgnment was to review a blog. I choose your blog because I find it interesting to hear other nurses perspectives regarding male nurses. I so relate to your findings of assuming I am a physician, the lifter and always in the minority. (not a bad thing)I find it entertaining especially in the elderly when I enter the room and state I am your nurse Allen and the eyes get very wide with amazement. I have worked on a med surg floor for 8 years and would like to recieve my degree and purue other opportunities in nursing. Any thoughts or information would be helpful from you or other participants to the blog.
    Thanks Allen!

  8. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Allen- Wow! Congratulations on taking the next step in your career, you won’t regret it! There is a cornucopia of information and resources out there! Everything from blogging nurses, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You are only limited by your interest. Click the contact button down below or visit my personal blog and I can email you a couple things to get you started.
    Best of luck!

  9. Allen

    Sean,
    Thanks for all of the information. I retrieved your history from your home page. You certainly have alot of experience. Do you change every year or so and why? I see you are a personal trainer also. I just had rotator cuff surgery in April. Wow what a rehab. Any suggestions or sights on continuing my rehab at home. I still have some pain and stiffness but the surgeon said it should take about a year for full recovery. I am only lifting light right now.
    Thanks Allen

  10. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Allen – heh heh, that was the point of visiting my site. Use my contact page their, thanks for visiting. The comments section is not really ideal for conversation. Take care.

  11. Allen

    Sean
    O.K. Thaks for your help. Not that computer literate and I dont recognize a contact button. I wil try though. If not thanks for all you help.
    Allen

  12. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Allen – no worries my friend. You are very welcome, best of luck with your schooling.

  13. .Rick W.

    I’ve been a male nurse for 20 years & have enjoyed every minute of it! This is one job I can say I enjoy going to work every day. I get to meet very interesting people, learn about them, hear their stories, learn their history! I’m a history buff & enjoy talking to all the veterans that come through, Ive learned alot from many aged people.

  14. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Rick Thanks for sharing! I couldn’t agree more, we do have a great job.

  15. Mary Ann L

    I’m currently an Advanced Practice Nurse working in a rural area of PA. I just wanted to say that one of my best friends is a nurse and his wife is a Nurse Anesthesist. He’s currently a nurse educator at a local hospital and also teaches courses for paramedics. I also had a male nurse in L&D when I had my daughter. He was awesome! Very knowledgeable and professional. I was sorry to here that he was only working the one night on the floor and then would be off for the rest of my stay at that time b/c he treated me as an intelligent human being…