What Drives Men To Take Up Nursing As A Career
Discrimination is a disease. Society has taken it upon itself to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t. But what we fail to realize is that some things which are acceptable to us may not be acceptable to others. One major example of that would be the men entering the Nursing profession. Even though men make up approximately 50% of the general workforce, they continue to be a gendered minority in nursing, representing only 6.6% of the registered nurse workforce in the United States (United States Department of Health Resources and Services Administration, 2010). Why are there not more men in nursing?
Attitudes, gender role perceptions, intimate care issues, nurse shortage, retention and motivation influence the professional presence of men in nursing to a great extent.
• Practical And Personal Factors
The factors which influence men to enter nursing can be practical, as well as personal. Practical factors are associated with a decision which most likely has a favorable outcome for the person, such as salary, working conditions and job security. Personal factors can be considered as those reasons which fulfill some internal drives.
According to an outdated study, one of the major obstacles that prevents men from entering the nursing profession is the traditional female image. The historical feminine nature of nursing has been so prevailing, that the caring image of the profession has been used to symbolize the epitome of femininity. Simply put, people don’t prefer a male nurse taking care of them.
What is the reality?
However, times have changed. We are living in the 21st Century now and a lot of things are acceptable which didn’t used to be. Just as women have broken the barrier in fields generally associated with men, men have also made inroads in careers generally associated with women and Nursing is no different.
• Male Nursing students
According to The National League for Nursing (NLN)’s annual, national survey of nursing programs recently (2009) showed an increase in minority students i.e. male nurses. The percentage of men enrolled in these programs reached 13.8%; i.e. an all-time high. One study reported that 70% of 117 male nursing students surveyed had positive perceptions of their nursing school experiences, and having a positive educational experience emerged as a major theme in a qualitative study by another study of seven male students enrolled in an associate’s degree nursing program. In both studies, participants commented on their satisfaction with nursing instructors.
• Male Nurses at work
Men who enter the nursing profession tend to have faster and more straightforward career progression than women. A recent study indicated that more male nurses are assuming leadership positions as compared to female nurses. Men also found that they may be better treated by physicians, felt as more stable occupation and believed that their career paths are more bounteous with better opportunities of progression compared with some other male dominant professions. Furthermore, men typically found that practicing in certain areas such as mental health, critical care, anesthesia, emergency care, and administration can provide better pay
What actually motivates them?
Yet, men are still motivated to become nurses. Additionally, male entrance into the nursing profession still has some advantages despite the barriers that they are faced with. Job security is one of those factors which have a major impact on male nurses. Various studies have shown that entering nursing based on influence of more controlled motives such as, job security or advice from family and friends is likely to be beneficial to the nursing profession in the long term. Furthermore, many male nursing students expressed feeling special as professors are often partial towards the male students and give them more attention as compared to female nursing students.
In conclusion, lack of a diverse nursing workforce negatively affects the health of our nation. All these studies reveal a culture that fosters role strain and isolation, preserves sexual stereotypes, and questions male touch as well as the ability of men to care. The men who have entered the field despite these challenges, however, have usually ended up working in high-tech, low-touch specialty areas and administration, though they may have initially been drawn to more clinical settings. A Better understanding of these challenges will benefit the healthcare system by providing health policy makers with the strategies needed to attract and retain men in nursing.