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3 male nurse myths

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When I first decided to enter the nursing profession, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I hadn’t grown up wanting to be a nurse, nor did I give it much thought beforehand.

But I was bored and miserable working for the U.S. Postal Service and had to find something that was a lot more mentally stimulating. My mother, who is a nurse, suggested that I pursue nursing. I thought, “That’s a woman’s profession! Why would I want to do that?”

MYTH #1: NURSING IS A WOMAN’S PROFESSION

The idea of nursing being only a “woman’s profession” has given way to the idea that anyone can be a nurse. The number of men in nursing is steadily increasing, and that’s a good thing. There’s plenty of room under the nursing umbrella for both men and women.

Many so-called “manly men” like policemen and firemen pursue second careers in nursing after they retire. The step seems to be a logical one, since policemen and firemen are caretakers (of sorts) to begin with.

Variables such as flexibility of schedule, excellent pay and the daily challenges of nursing make the job very rewarding. The scientific and methodical approach to nursing is also what I would call “man-friendly.”

MYTH #2: MEN AREN’T EMOTIONALLY SUITED TO NURSING

What drew me to nursing, not as a man but as a human, was the interaction with people and the reward of helping others. That is a universal truth for nurses, be they male or female. I like to get people’s stories (some are heartbreaking, and some are quite funny), finding out as much as I can about them, the way they live and who is around to assist them with their needs.

These are important aspects of caring for patients that only nurses think about while devising a plan of care. I believe that the nursing approach of caring for the entire individual should be the standard for all of those working in the healthcare field.

MYTH #3: MALE NURSES ARE JUST “WANNA BE” DOCTORS

Yes, from a man’s perspective, there are a lot of positive and negative aspects of nursing. One negative aspect is the assumption that we couldn’t hack med school. That’s obviously not the case for most of us.

Interestingly, being a male nurse truly gives us an advantage when dealing with most doctors. Doctors treat male nurses a bit differently than our female counterparts. I’ve seen many doctors talk to female nurses in ways they never would to a man.

BUT FINALLY, SOME TRUTHS ABOUT MALE NURSES

Even though I’ve debunked some myths, there are still a few “stigmas” about being a man in nursing. First, for the most part, you won’t ever get to work in a maternity ward! Second, I’ve found that a lot of young female patients are embarrassed about having a male nurse. (I always thought this was peculiar, though, seeing that most of their doctors were men!)

If a patient was uncomfortable having me as her nurse, I never took it personally. Being a nurse, I adapted and improvised. I’d simply switch that particular patient assignment with one of my female coworkers, and the problem was solved.

SO WHY SHOULD MEN PURSUE NURSING AS A CAREER?

Males are actually ideally suited to both the pressures and excitement of nursing. I’ve always liked comparing the nursing approach to that of the U.S. Marines: They adapt, improvise and overcome. Working just one nursing shift will prove that point!

Men also have a very different perspective than women on a lot of things, and it’s a good thing having them in the profession.

All in all, I love the label “male nurse” (but not murse!) When people ask me, “What’s it like being a male nurse?” I usually reply, “The ‘male’ part I’ve got down—it’s the ‘nurse’ part that takes a lot of hard work!”

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Jim DeMaria

James DeMaria, RN, BSN, is Vice President of Renal Care Registered Nursing Services, located in Nanuet, N.Y. Founded in 1991, Renal Care Registered Nursing Services provides acute kidney dialysis services to some of the northeast’s largest hospitals and caregiving facilities. While having had no formal business training, James has excelled as an entrepreneur, a role he must balance with his responsibility as a nurse, husband and father, and is always on call, explaining, “You never work harder than you do for yourself.” He is also cohost of “Nurse's Station,” a new audio podcast by and for nurses.
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72 Responses to 3 male nurse myths

  1. Terry

    Great perspective! It is only on the rare occaision that I have had to switch an assignment because of my gender. I still get the questions, “Are you a doctor?” I tell them “No, I WORK FOR A LIVING!” For those men whowant see a different side of nursing join the military. The military has ~ 40% male nurses, compared to `5% in the civilian world.

  2. Hi Jim,
    Nice article.
    I echo Sean’s point on the term “Male Nurse”
    It’s true about obstetrics. It’s funny. When I was in nursing school, OB was my favorite unit. In my clinicals, I had no problems with either the Dad’s or the Mom’s.(Good thing we didn’t have many Somali’s back then, or that would have been different) I had BIG problems with the women who were OB/GYN nurses. I have never been around a group of people who hated men in every way shape or form. They were unpleasant and brusque with the dads, and they were condescending and very unpleasant to the men in my class who were doing their clinicals.

    To Terry’s point-you can also try working in the VA medical system, there is a higher percentage of men in that health system, as well.

  3. Valentine

    What an awesome article, Jim! It is so true what you had mentioned about us being “wanna-be-doctors” – I had people, in nursing and outside, ask me regularly when was I going to go on to the medicals school… At first, I kept taking offense to that, but then I realized that it was OK, they were just curious.

    Anyway, I find it interesting that a lot of people who don’t know that I am a “male nurse” ask me what I do and are taken aback when I tell them – I just happen to like bodybuilding, have large tattoos all over my arms (hence why I have to wear long sleeves and people at work don’t know that I have them, until I change scrubs)… so, it is no wonder at all that manly man – especially police officers and fire man would go into nursing for the sake of helping people and enjoying seeing what they do pay off at the end of the day. It is very rewarding.

    • lee

      Here in the Uk it is alot better for male Nurses;firstly they total close to 8% & increasing! Secondly there is no bar to any ward,not even maternity! That would lead to a lawsuit here! Thirdly,Nurses here are employed as Professionals & if any Doctor is rude to a Nurse they will get it right back & any male co-worker is likely to jump in to defend his female co-Nurses! Also Nurses in the UK have far more responsibility than in the US.It has helped here, that TV drama show Male Nurses alot & no Gay Image in any of them! My Mother is a retired Nurse in the UK & my Mother in Law is a practising Neonatal Nurse for Kaiser & any US Male Nurse should head to the UK,you do have this money mind that private medicine brings, you are treated better,payed equally as well, not working beyond civilised working conditions & respect all around.

  4. DAVID H BROOKS

    I know I laugh a lot more than most of my friends in traditional roles and when I was young and single…I felt like a rock star.

  5. Great article! Noticed you are from Nanuet, NY. I grew up in Suffern, NY and got my associates degree in nursing from Rockland Community College! My very first solo patient asked my if I was gay after a few frustrating attempts to tell him I was his nurse ( I worked night shift then).

  6. Jerry

    One truth you didn’t mention is that male typically get the heifers more often then the females. I also notice male nurses where I work seem to get more isolation patients than the female staff.

  7. As a man in this profession, you are ALWAYS the first person female staff looks for when they need a lift.

  8. tony

    When asked ” how long have I been a male nurse?” I have responded that I have been A nurse for 10 years but only a male for three!

    • Shauna

      Love your response!! My husband and I are both senior-level nursing students, and I think this is exactly how he would respond as well!!

  9. Dan Wieleba

    Nice article. My generic response to “are you studying to be a doctor?” is, “No, are you?”. I’ve had more patients than i can count tell me men are better nurses than women.

  10. Devin

    I’m 15 and I was trying to decide if I wanted to be a nurse, and this article offered a lot of insight. I think I’m gonna go for it.

  11. Robert Hattle

    I have been a “male” nurse for over thirty years. For every turn that I have enjoyed male privilege I have also encountered bias, prejudice and stereotyping. For every physician that treated me different because of gender I have had another be threatened by my gender. I really don’ mind being called a male nurse because I think my gender socialization has allowed me to add something to the profession. But more importantly being able to be a caring and nurturing professional has enriched me personally beyond measure. In the issue of female patients being comfortable with my providing personal care, I have always followed the needs of the patient. When asking a colleague to meet the patients needs, I have always made sure to offer to pick up one of their tasks in exchange. When questioned about my sexual orientation, I have always responded with “what does that have to do with my work?” My humorous response to the proverbial question if I am a physician or a physician wana be has been, “don’t insult me I am good nurse.” I know I had arrived when one of my young daughters asked me, “Daddy can girls be nurses too?”

  12. LaDonna

    I noticed that all the comments here seem to be from men. I just want to say as a female nurse who works with several male nurses, how thankful I am for them. For the most part they spend less time gossiping and more time actually focusing on the patients. Wow, what a concept!!!! Also, I recently had surgery on my shoulder and I do not have all my strength back, so it is really nice to have someone who cares enough to help me out when I need it. The femles I work with begrudge me that even when I ask for the help, where the dudes offer.
    Kudos to the dudes!!!!

  13. Lauren

    Hi. I found this article when I was looking up stats on male nurses. I want to go to medical school, and I’m writing a thesis right now on the role of the Western medical profession in the witch-hunts. To simplify things, it basically culminated in women being forced out of all medical roles (including OB/GYN & midwifery), except nursing.

    I have a friend who’s a male and just graduated nursing school, and I really like your article. Perhaps there’s a greater stigma attached to being a male nurse than a female doctor because, with the help of the feminist movements, it’s become more okay for a women to take on a “man’s” role but it’s not okay yet for a man to take on a “woman’s” role.

    Even though I don’t want to admit that I think of male nurses differently than female nurses, I probably do. I was definitely one of those girls who was a little embarrassed to have a male nurse, but I hid it well. I was embarrassed because I thought he was cute, and I didn’t want him to see my underwear when he gave me a steroid shot in the hip! Of course, he didn’t because I didn’t have to get undressed.

    Female nurses are viewed as analogous to mothers and sisters (or at least female friends), who we get naked in front of all the time. But we never get undressed in front of fathers, brothers, or male friends because society has told us it’s inappropriate and slutty to do so.

    I think girls feel more “comfortable” with doctors because, in contrast to male nurses, we’ve been trained to view male doctors as scientific authoritarians. In fact, in the 19th and early 20th centuries we were more or less forced to accept male doctors and shun midwives due to changes in licensing laws (there was also propaganda). With male nurses, we don’t see a nurse as unquestionable and, as for the “male” part, we haven’t been taught to view them in a strictly sterile way, as with male doctors.

    By the way, most girls are terrified and feel extra-awkward the first time they go to see a male gynecologist, and many of my friends have said they’d never see a male OB/GYN unless under circumstances beyond her control. So that stigma isn’t for male nurses only.

    I’m not sure if what I wrote exactly makes sense, but I believe it’s true.

  14. Chapman

    I have been a nurse for over 15 years. I have worked in 3 different hospitals and have taught at the university level. I have long been bothered by the gender bias of the nursing culture. In social conversation male viewpoints are routinely disparaged. When interpersonal conflicts arise it is assumed that the man is guilty of whatever charge is leveled, until proven otherwise. The open gender bias of the OB nurses has already been mentioned. What is disturbing is that such bias is not only tolerated but is considered humorous and harmless.

    The only place where I have felt that men where actually welcome in nursing is in my current position. I now work in the corrections medical field. This field is not for everyone. It is challenging and requires a strong willed individual. You like it or hate it. For those who like it corrections can be a challenging field with the rewards of serving an under served population and the safety of a government job where harassment or bias are not tolerated.

    I still enjoy working as a nurse and I still recommend it as a career for young men. But when I do I try to give them an accurate picture of what they are getting into.

  15. Zack Rinderer

    Good thoughts but I was in an OB/GYN unit 31 years ago when I was a new grad. Jewish Hospital of St. Louis hired me and I even made Employee of the Month for a letter one of my labor patients wrote to the hospital CEO.
    Now my son is a nurse and I could not be prouder. I wonder what his 5 year old son will be?

  16. nice post! im a male nurse too. check out my nursing blog http://digitalcatharsis.wordpress.com
    thanks

  17. Cecilia

    “Interestingly, being a male nurse truly gives us an advantage when dealing with most doctors. Doctors treat male nurses a bit differently than our female counterparts. I’ve seen many doctors talk to female nurses in ways they never would to a man.”

    “Men also have a very different perspective than women on a lot of things, and it’s a good thing having them in the profession.”

    Haha you’re fucking kidding me right?
    Read a couple of gender books before you talk.

  18. callmejomals

    I am a registered male nurse but I did not practice it after I passed the national exam. I am currently working as a computer specialist because of my gift about computers. This article gives me a lot of insight to the extent that I will go ahead submit my resignation asap and practice the profession that I had been educated and trained in college, immediately. I feel nervous excitement right now but I can do this because…I am a male nurse!!!

  19. travis

    its funny about your marine comments i am in the marine corps and i am planning on going into higher echelon nursing when i get out so that definitely made me feel better about my decision because that’s what Marines do adapt and over come

  20. aaron

    Hey Travis,
    I am in the same boat as you are it appears. Currently stationed on Camp Pendleton and am getting out next year and going to school for nursing at ISU. This article was a good read and definitely found it interesting to hear him compare it to the marines. I like that thought and I can see how it applies.

  21. Louinovola

    This is a joke right?

    I hate the idea of male nurses. Nursing was always a female profession for a reason…because women were kept from doing anything else other than being a secretary for a very long time.

    And now, men are trying to take away the only thing people know is a woman’s job.

    If you are going to be a male nurse then fine, but don’t you dare whine about being mistreated for being a male.

    Nursing wasn’t made for men. Its a woman’s job and thats how it should stay.

    • jlail

      You are a joke! No one wants to read you’re feminist garbage… do a little research. Based on your comment, you strike me as the type of individual a great deal of patients would rather not have to deal with, and surely your co workers must be tired of your piss poor attitude. You seem like a very bitter soul, I feel sorry for you.

    • Mark

      Wow. Just … wow. What does it feel like to live in the 1930s? I’ve been a nurse for 34 years (I don’t say “male nurse,” because gender should not be an issue), and I have NEVER been “mistreated for being male,” except by ignoramuses like you. I’m glad i don’t have to work with someone like you. There is no such thing in the 21st century as “men’s jobs” or “women’s jobs.” There are just jobs, and people to be cared for. I hope you get a chance to join the rest of us in the modern age soon. You must be very lonely living that far in the past.

    • Bill

      Whatever… you do not have a clue what it takes to care for anyone! This is the 21st century–the workforce today is NOT in jeapordy because men are taking over “womens” jobs and vise-versa. Move to Anartica–they love your feminist BS there.

      I am a male nurse… and damn good one. The fact that I am male does not mean that I am better than my female co-workers. In fact, we all work together in pursuing ONE goal… to provide the BEST possible care for “our” patients. And we do so with a positive attitude. Your attitude, on the other hand, is exactly why people hate hospitals. Your attitude is exactly why I decided to join the profession… you see I a DON and I seek out attitudes like yours, and do away with them. So don’t ever come to my hospital, because I don’t have the room or patience for people like you.

      Most of the posts here are from men who are proud to be a “male” nurse… they’re not whining… they’re standing up for themselves. The only person whining in any of these posts is you. GET A LIFE… go be a secretary, but you’ll probably fail at that too.

    • Steve RN

      Don’t propagate the same kind of gender stereotypes and sexism the feminist movement fought against. That kind of ignorance has no place in society. Anyone can be anything regardless of gender, race, or religion. Welcome to the 21st century… and I’m a damn good nurse.

    • nursegrs

      I have been a nurse for 11 years and I am a man. My father was also a nurse as well as my mother. Such hatred from your mouth. Hopefully you are not a nurse. I wouldn’t want the likes of you taking care of my worst enemy.

  22. George Voigt

    Hi guys. This was an intteresting read for me. I count myself as very lucky, now. I am working in South Africa. Aight years in a mixed (male/female) surgical ward. No problems with males or females. Worked Six years in an Advanced Midwifery setting (Catching the little owns and High Risking the mothers). No problems. The midwives treated me as one of them and the cryed when I left. This was my best time, almost ever. However I am a Trauma and Critical Care Specialist and working in the Trauma Unit and the Criticle Care Unit boosts me every day. No time to be board or frustrated. I am having the time of my life. Ya, people that is not in the profession tend to mistake you for a docter – for me that is just a chalange to step up to the plate – and I take it in the stride. Here in South Africa we tend to refer to ourselves as Professional Nurses and thus the sexual connetation is snuffed. To show you what can be done: BSc (MedCh) 3y, BAdvanced Nursing (Psychiatric Nursing, Community Health Nursing, Midwifery, General Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Nursing Education and Nursing Administration) 7y, MSc (Trauma) 2y and DSc (Critical Care) 2y. I have fourteen years of study and have to stand back to no docter. I have respect form my colleges and subordinets. If you think you can do it, you can. My job description is Clinicale Nursing Specialist and I am also a Lector in Critical Care, at one of our best Universities in the Free State Province, RSA. Do not let the fact that you are a man take from the fact that you are caregivers. We have more than most men will ever have, and that is to be in touch with ourselves (male and female parts). Women are in orr of us, because they do not understand how a testosterone fillled human being can do what estrogen is doing. THAT WILL BE FOREVER OUR SECRET. To all guys of my profession THANKS and be kind to yourselves.

  23. Richard Hinderliter

    I am a male about to graduate nursing school. One lady I met who was introduced to me took one look at me and scoffed, “a MALE nurse?!” I had a comeback ready. Without missing a beat, I said, “I applied to be a female nurse but I didn’t pass the physical.” It was priceless.

  24. Lee McLeod

    The following must have been a joke!
    This is a joke right?
    I hate the idea of male nurses. Nursing was always a female profession for a reason…because women were kept from doing anything else other than being a secretary for a very long time.
    And now, men are trying to take away the only thing people know is a woman’s job.
    If you are going to be a male nurse then fine, but don’t you dare whine about being mistreated for being a male.
    Nursing wasn’t made for men. Its a woman’s job and thats how it should stay.
    By Louinovola on August 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I plan on obtaining a nursing degree and I hope that I never will have to work with someone with this attitude! She needs to get a new profession, because just like the jobs that were “men jobs”, women are now there and so be it. Men were in the profession probably before she became one, since I don’t know her age.

  25. shelly

    cool im a nurse in training as well and its truly inspiring to know the some male individuals actuallly take pride in themselves

  26. wes

    Just wanted to respond to Louinoviola. If you will check your calendar , it is 2010 . I think the gender bias has been over for a while . if you do an internet search you will find there are women in every profession and excelling . I am a former trucker who is in school to be a nurse and have had a varied career .I have done everything from brick masonry to explosives , (when i got my card as an explosives technician,blaster the practical jokes from friends stopped . i guess they were afraid i would blow up their car or something ) and i have met women in every profession i have been in . so to say that you hate the idea of a male nurse is predjudised and a very narrow view . whether you like it or not , as a nurse , men have alot of real world expierience and views to bring to the table that a woman can never understand and is actually a nessicity.flip side of the coin is women can say the same . if you dont like a male nurse then the next time you get a 400 lb patient , move him your self .after a few days in bed from back aches you might appreciate male nurses a little more. more over , try to leave the bias and predjudice at home . ten years ago , i saw one of the best nurses my dad ever had leave the profession to sell insurance because of the female nurses on the floor . he said to me that he was tired of being a second class citizen and was leaving because of it .it wasnt the other nurses who suffered because of this , it was my dad . we ,his sons had to go to the hospital administrator and complain to the point he called security. i guess when you have 3 irate louisiana red necks all over 6 feet tall , it will shake your confidence. the man who was my dads nurse was great . he was on the ball with any thing he needed , the female nurses took for ever , what set the confrontation off was the doctor ordered a heating pad for my father . after 11 hours of waiting , my father was crying. this was a man who pulled his mother dead from a fire and never shed a tear. tough man, after speaking to the nurses no less than 7 times they told me that they werent paid enough for this harrassment. i guess what happened in their kids baseball game was more important than doing their job . I understand this is isolated but i think the views you expressed are myopic and dont belong, if you are a good nurse then i dont think it matters what gender you are just do your job and leave the gender crap at home .

  27. Austin R

    Thanks for that article. I’m a nursing student, and have worked as a CNA for over a year now. I have to agree with you on pretty much everything. Yeah, I still encounter the occasional individual (usually patients) who thinks a male nurse is unheard of, but I’ve had lots patients, coworkers and teachers tell me how valuable I am/will be as a nurse. It’s really given me confidence that I’ve chosen the right profession.
    I’ve had tons of people ask me why “I don’t just go to medical school” and I have to explain to them that they’re really very different careers. What I love about nursing is the amount of time you’re with a patient. As a doc, you see a patient for what, 5 or 10 minutes max. After reading this I got some great responses to give to this over asked and under thought out question.

  28. Austin R

    Thanks for that article. I’m a nursing student, and have worked as a CNA for over a year now. I have to agree with you on pretty much everything. Yeah, I still encounter the occasional individual (usually patients) who thinks a male nurse is unheard of, but I’ve had lots patients, coworkers and teachers tell me how valuable I am/will be as a nurse. It’s really given me confidence that I’ve chosen the right profession.
    I’ve had tons of people ask me why “I don’t just go to medical school” and I have to explain to them that they’re really very different careers. What I love about nursing is the amount of time you’re with a patient. As a doc, you see a patient for what, 5 or 10 minutes max. After reading this I got some great responses to give to this over asked and under thought out question.

  29. walt

    nursing is good for both men and women.people simply misunderstand it.

  30. John

    Being a male nurse is great when you’re working around all men. Female nurses are, for the most part, constantly gossiping and lack emotional control when surrounded by a majority female environment. Males think differently, and t really care for their patients without bitching or berating coworkers. Females do not confront directly as males do. They whisper and backstab to tear down coworkers to establish alpha wolf status. You will find many of them are aggressive achievers who have the ability to excel, yet tear down their coworkers. I never believed the famous quote “Nurses eat their young” until I entered the profession. Women as a gender are wonderful. As nurses, they’re effective, but their constant emotional exhaust cripples an otherwise enjoyable environment of helping patients daily. The male nurses tend to get the brunt of the female backlashing as the easier minority targets. Unfortunately there is little we can do “When Female Nurses Attack”. Performing your job is important but immaterial when it comes to conforming to a female dominated environment. Group cohesion is only accomplished by pretending to befriend them, which essentially makes you emotionally subservient to them. This in turn lowers job satisfaction. The alternative is going to HR and then you’ve either got to quit or slowly be forced out.
    But the positive side: we’re in demand. Remember this: we’ll eventually become equal but until then you’re going to become a male Rosa Parks. Oh, btw, the doctors/surgeons love us!!! We’re drama free.

  31. Jane

    Talking about maternity wards…
    Women feel embarrassed about having male nurses mainly because nurses see more of us then doctors do. Doctors see the infected or problematic bit. Nurses, however, see a lot more embarrassing (and perfectly healthy!) parts like our bed pans and the ilk

  32. JVF

    I really want to became a nurse (I’m in high school right now), I have been looking for universities to attend, & all of the websites I have visited only show female students only (plus the layouts of some posters & pamphlets look like they are trying attract only female) it kind-off discourage me.

    But your article plus the replies have encourage me again!

  33. Jess

    Louinovola:

    YOU ARE WRONG. NURSING IS ORIGINALLY A MALE ONLT PROFESSION, OR VOCATION MORE ACXURATELY. DONT BE AN IDIOT. DO SOME RESEARCH. I THINK YOU HAVE CONFUSED SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF WITH A PROFESSION YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH. IM A NURSE.

  34. Carina

    Hi Jim!

    I don’t usually leave comments when I read internet articles, but today, when I was doing some random research, I came across your article and I just couldn’t leave you without my opinion.

    As a fellow nurse from Portugal, I have a very different point of view from you and all the people that wrote the comments I’ve read today. Let me just give you some insight before a really speak my mind. As an European country, Portugal’s inhabitants aren’t very open minded, but are getting better as the years go by. Even so, I’ve never came across that kind of discrimination towards the nurses who are male, on the contrary, the people respects them just as they respect nurses who are female. That doesn’t mean we have an equal number of nurses of the two genders, but nurses who are male make a very representative percentage of the nurses.

    Regarding the young women who feel embarrassed when a nurse who is male is caring for them, I believe it happens everywhere, and not only for young women. In my country, elderly women also feel embarrassed, if not even more than young women, because they were raised in a culture were, supposedly, not even their husbands saw them totally naked.

    Here, Nursing school’s plan of studies are totally different from other countries, and when we graduate we can work in almost any part of our healthcare system, almost like a general physician (I know it’s not a good comparison, but it’s the best I can think of right now), so we have basically two kind’s of nurses: one that is prepared to provide general health care and another that are specialized in different areas, such as OB/midwifery, medical and surgical nursing, psychiatry nursing, pediatric nursing, rehabilitation nursing, and provide more specific health care.

    I work in a OB ward as a general nurse and a have a few colleagues who are male. It doesn’t seem to make a difference to the women who are under their care, female colleagues (were I am included) or the hospital administration. There are also many men specialized in OB/midwifery.

    I believe that here, women suffer more discrimination if they choose to work in a men’s job, specially in the military, than the contrary. But that’s live, there is always someone that discriminates. We just have to work to change those kind of mentalities, even if sometimes it just makes you angry, you have to count until 10 and try again.

    So, if any of the comments made you feel angry (as some of them made me), just breath count until 10, cool down and try again, because sooner or later they’ll come around.

    Thanks for sharing your point of view in this great article.

  35. Daniel Guidetti

    I live in Australia and am 15 years old. I have always wanted to be a pediatrician or a surgeon. But I have never believed that I would be able to obtain my goals. My parents suggested being a male nurse, but I never actually thought about it, I would always say to myself ” that’s a woman’s job, it would be rewarding. Nonetheless it isn’t right for me”. But after reading this, I’m psyched to become a nurse, (pediatric nurse) and I would just like to thank everyone who contributed to this page, it gave me the motivation I need to (and it sounds corny) make my dreams, one day a reality. Thank you and bless all of your souls

  36. Brandon Davis

    I’d like to thank everyone for their responses as well, and for the article…im a 17 year old guy and am taking CNA classes this ummer to get them out of the way, I’ll be a senior next year and plan on getting my BSN at UIC..i plan on being an ER nurse because it seems really excited and I’m glad people come here to give advice/vent haha thanks again!

  37. Laura

    There are a lot of posts on here about how evil women in the nursing field are as a whole and how they are all gossipy and overly-emotional and how difficult it is to work in their environment.

    I find this incredibly ironic. Almost every field and every profession is male dominated. We have not reached a status of gender equality. (Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 1.7% of corporate officers are women.) You just walked into one of the VERY few professions that has an overwhelming majority of females. Yes, the culture is going to be different. Some women deal with problems and confrontation in a different manner than males traditionally do. However, that does not mean men in the nursing field are beyond adaptation. Do you not think that women have a similarly difficult time in other industries adapting to bias and more traditionally masculine methods of handling situations?

    I don’t have a problem with men in nursing. Don’t let people bring you down. Do what you love to do. If that’s nursing, then go for it.

    That being said. I will second someone above who stated they felt uncomfortable with males in the OB/GYNs/Midwifes/etc field. It has nothing to do with my faith in their ability, I just personally don’t feel comfortable with it. I suspect many men would feel equally uncomfortable receiving a prostate exam or a scrotum cough thing from a young female nurse. This might explain the discrepancy of male nurses in that field. It may just be patient preference to some extent.

  38. Daniel

    Thanks for the write-up and comments by others. I have now made my mind up about perusing a career in nursing. I just signed up with Excelsior for BA in Nursing. I have 9 years until retirement from the military at a WHOLE 37 years of age! I have been looking at nursing for a few months now. My girlfriend is a RN at local VA hospital and she got me interested in the field. I was not sure if this was the path to take at first. I want to help others when I get out and law enforcement was a good way to do that. But to be honest, I’m tired of getting shot at! As a RN I can still continue to help my fellow Americans without a weapon in my hand. Thanks again! Looking forward to joining the field!

  39. Adam

    While I was never denied a position on a nursery I once had a security guard who denied me access to the nursery because men did not work on the third floor (OB and Nursery).

  40. amber

    I am an RN case manager and my boss is a male RN who went to nursing school right out of high school almost 20 years ago. He has done it all, the floor, ICU, ER, Nursing Ed at the hospital, Infection Control, Emergency Management, case management…………he is awesome!!!! He keeps a level head, he keeps me grounded when I feel like ramping up, he is compasionate, yet firm when he needs to be with both our members and the staff. I trust his judgement and when he asks me to do something I know that it must be done or he wouldnt ask. Male nurses rock. I went to school with two, one works ICU one works at dialysis. They are both awesome nurses. GO GUYS!!!!!

  41. Christine

    Please- our profession is strengthened by diversity! The history of nursing includes the contributions of men caring for the sick and injured; many early nurses were men. There is no need to debate this- please check out the following link for a review of nursing history that includes men:

    http://allnurses.com/men-nursing-forum/men-nursing-historical-96326.html

  42. desmond

    please i want to know the name of those men that have made impact in nursing and what they did. send response to my email. ap4chris@yahoo.com

  43. NursingWhileMale

    Part of being a nurse should be having pride in our profession.
    Part of having pride in our profession should be knowing its history.
    Read a little and you will find that nursing was not invented by Nightingale, it was re-invented by her. In actuality both genders were involved in nursing since before it was even called “nursing”. Caring for wounded soldiers wasn’t a new thing that suddenly occurred in the Crimean war… Guess who provided care to the wounded soldiers at the time of the crusades and even earlier treating sick pilgrims… Monks and knights that were ***gasp*** MEN.
    Let’s put this whole woman’s profession argument to bed. If anyone needs further convincing allow me to me point you to the orders of the Knights Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights (circa way the heck before certain gender biased people were born, got jaded, and decided that nursing only has room for one gender). Thank you, that is all.

  44. I am a female RN/BSN, and believe me, female nurses can go after any gender. It is very true how nurses eat their young, regardless of “age”. I worked in a unit that was so dysfunctional from the Asst. Nurse Manager on down, and eventually the male nurses emulate their co workers. It was a nightmare, and since I left, I haven’t had an upset stomach or bad dreams since. Years ago, nurses worked together, helped each other willingly, and had fun on the job. What on earth happened? I did like working with males, as most are less dramatic and back biting, and as a pt I was even more surprised to find i liked my male nurses better. (Some forget the smaller details a female would foresee), but actually the males had more empathy. Women can be very mean and destructive to one another, sorry to say. All my life I wanted nothing more than to be a nurse, and loved the job, but hated the working enviornment in the past years, so it left a sour taste in my mouth and had to leave. Miss the work and pt care enormously.

  45. I have had experiences as a male nurse. I have been a Navy/Marine hospital corpsman, Airforce medic, civilian hospital orderly and a Veterans hospital phlebotomist. My mom was also a nurse. I have seen some good times and some bad times for example a dying patient dies in your arms while you are making an occupied bed. I also work at the post office because I moved to another state and didn’t have nurses aid certification. I was given the chance to go to school to get my certification at no cost to me ad I couldn’t pass it up because I love the field!

  46. lethstang

    Very well written article Jim, you make alot of good points. I hope this article continues the male nursing trend.

    However.

    “Yes, from a man’s perspective, there are a lot of positive and negative aspects of nursing. One negative aspect is the assumption that we couldn’t hack med school. That’s obviously not the case for most of us..”

    Dont be ridiculous.

    • Steve RN

      LOL, I believe many (not most and not obviously) nurses could hack med school… but who would willingly put themselves through that after seeing what those poor med students and residents go through… almost reminds me of nursing school. (kidding!)

  47. Rob

    To all of those who “think” that men cannot/should not be nurses, a little history lesson. Nurses were always men before the time of Florence Nightingale. The profession was thought to be “unseemly for ladies to perform. When my now 23 year old son was in 2nd grade the teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up? My son answered, “I want to be a nurse.” Everybody including the teacher laughed, and she said to him, “boys can’t be nurses.” He was devastated, and was in tears when he told us. At the Parent/Teacher conference I informed his teacher that not only was his mother was a nurse, but so was I. You shoulda seen her face…priceless!

  48. MarkEDD RN

    Great article. I own my own Long Term Care facility and pride myself in having one of the more diverse staffs in the industry especially when it comes to Nursing Staffing. People are amazed at the perfect balance and most importantly longevity I have in my facility. I’ve been a nurse over 14 years and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. When I opened my own place? I took the ugly and the bad as examples of what not to do. Diversification of staff I notice (which included a lot of male nurses in the nursing end) I noticed was the good. Today I enjoy a consistent 5 star rating at my facility, zero turnover, etc. Male nurses make a difference. In fact where we are nobody seems much to care that 40% of my nursing staff are male. From C.N.A.s to L.V.N.s, two Male Nurse Practitioners and 4 MSN Male Nurse Supervisors compliment the Female Nurses I have with equal training or close to equivalent training as well. It’s all about keeping an open mind, interviewing well in phases and doing thorough research on that nurse from the day they stepped into the field to time they apply with us. Male Nurses make a huge difference! Keep up the great work!

  49. Pingback: Scrubs Magazine Male Nurse in ER Room Illustration | Patrick Wong Freelance Illustrator

  50. Amp Student

    Excellent post, It is really reassuring to me as a new university student. Also if anyone else has any tips for nursing students while in school shoot me a message. Any help would be appreciated.

  51. yudha wira

    I am a Nurse student from Indonesia. I am 20 years old male and I am going to finish my Bachelor Of Nursing degree.
    Honestly to be a nurse was not my dream, the only thing that I wanted to be was being a Doctor. But to be honest again I couldn’t hack the Medical School :). A few months later after I join the Nurse School I start to realize being male nurse is a very good choice, and my family encourage me so much.
    In Indonesia, male or female nurse isn’t a big concern. They don’t get discrimination due to gender, and male nurse can do anything just like the female does. But the only thing that still to be a big problem is the posisition between Doctor and Nurse. Nurse always gets the Stereotype from patients and even from the doctors theirself as the ”Doctor’s Maid”. It’s very horrible especially for male nurse. And the Worst thing is below average salary for nurse.
    For these reasons I want to go abroad and being a foreign nurse in United States and get the spesific education (oncology nurse) someday..
    it is nice to share story here :)
    proud to be nurse…

  52. rosey102657

    My first solo patient, back in January of 1984, couldn’t understand that I was a RN and his nurse for the night shift( 12midnight-0800). I introduced myself to him and he kept asking me if I was some form of a doctor. After several attempts to convince him I was a nurse, he got frustrated and asked me if I was gay. When I replied that: “No, I’m not gay, but I am happy most of the time”, he told me I was a wise-ass. To which I replied, “You won the 64 thousand dollar prize”. He wasn’t there when I came back the next night. Guess he didn’t want a wise-ass taking care of him.

    • htarceno RN

      When I was in nursing school, my very first patient in clinical looked at me and the first thing he said was “are you gay”? I was a bit stunned, expecting him to want to discuss his meds, pain level, treatment, prognosis, disease process, etc. All of which I was very well prepared to discuss. And he wanted to know about my sex life?

      I’ve gotten used to it over the years

  53. link955 LPN

    36 years ago, when I became a nurse, I was one in a million. Now I’m a face in the crowd, and that’s a good thing. I’ve heard the “wannabe doctor” thing a lot, and I have taken pains to point out while we share a common purpose (patient care and well-being), medicine and nursing are entirely different disciplines, with different approaches to the patient. It surprises a lot of people to hear that.
    And when people say, “Oh, you’re a male nurse?” I reply, “No, I take care of women, too.”

  54. Pingback: Do Male Nurse's Need a Different Career Plan from Women? | Honest College Honest College

  55. link955 LPN

    I’ve heard that “wannabe doctor” stuff for the last 36 years. It comes from people who don’t realize while they share a common purpose (patient care), medicine and nursing are entirely different disciplines. But to tell the truth, I’ve grown tired of explaining it, and let them think whatever they like. It really doesn’t affect me in the long run; I’m just going to take care of my patients. If you want to talk about “wannabe doctors,” you need to start with “nurse practitioners.”

  56. Could not have said it any better myself. “The male part I have down, it is the nursing that takes a lot of hard work.” … “Boom goes the dynamite” Bravo! Well said. Another Male Nurse in OR .. I also teach Surgical Tech classes, an am a Board Member of the AST. I am very proud to be both, a nurse , and a male. *Big Grin*

  57. The hardest part is getting patients and the public to understand we are nurses, not male nurses.
    Oh, are you a male nurse? – No. I’m just a nurse. And I happened to be a male.
    Thanks for the sounding board.

  58. amber

    thanks Sean, I sometimes forget that yep, we are all “nurses” I will be more aware of this in the future. :)

  59. hii all..I’m arun,23 yrs old from India.i’ve completed my BSN and now doing my 1year internship..the article helped me n inspired me a lot..im really liked to migrate to any country..im expecting ur valuable suggestions..thanx in advance:) add me in facebook /aruncna100

  60. htarceno RN

    I usually respond with a rather ‘wiseass’ comeback, so when I was in divorce court and a lawyer asked if I was a male nurse, I was stumped for an answer. Not being appropriate to answer otherwise, I just said ‘yes’

  61. okie_goalie

    I had a doc at a nursing home once giving me grief about being a “murse”. Asking me stupid crap like where my pink stethoscope was, and other such remarks. I pretty much ignored him til I got back to the desk. I flipped open my laptop to look something up. He came up behind me again and saw my wallpaper- a picture of me, in my hockey gear, landing a punch dead center in my opponent’s nose. He then says “Oh…you play hockey?” “Yes.” “That’s a pretty tough sport.” “Yup.” “Sorry about the wise cracks.” “Ok..thanks.”
    He never again gave me crap about anything. LOL