Men in nursing
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Although widely seen as a female profession, and mainly portrayed as such in the media, nursing is gradually becoming a more inclusive profession. Males make up around 10% of the taskforce in the UK, 6.4% of nurses in Canada, and 23% of nurses in Iran. In 2011 in the United States, there were approximately 3.5 million nurses, with approximately 330,000 (9%) of those being male.
While the current structure of the medical field, including nursing care, does not directly translate to historical provision of care, there is a history of male presence in caring for the sick and infirmed. The term nosocomial originates from the latin nosocomi, the name given to male care-givers, meaning that men were prominent in Ancient Rome. Years late, during the plagues that swept through Europe, male nurses were also the primary care-givers. In the 3rd century, men in the Parabolani created a hospital and provided nursing care. The Codex Theodosianus of 416 (xvi, 2, 42) restricted the enrollment on male nurses in Alexandria to 500.
In the 14th century, the Alexian brothers existed as a Christian religious congregation with strong emphasis on care for the infirmed. Later, John of God, following a conversion to Christianity, provided care for both the physically and mentally sick and notably challenged the stigmas associated with Mental Illness. Later, he founded the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God which continues to work with poor and infirmed to this day.
Reasons for low representation
There are several reasons suggested for a low uptake of nursing by males: stereotypes of nursing, lack of male interest in the profession, low pay, nursing job titles such as Sister and Matron, and the perception that male nurses will have difficulty in the workplace carrying out their duties. It is argued by the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing that the "continuing stereotyping" of male nurses is the main reason for low intake.
Efforts to increase representations
Unlike the campaigns and groups set up to increase and promote women's opportunities in medicine and surgery there have been no comparable campaigns to increase the number of males in nursing.
Whilst there are low numbers of male nurses, there is no indication that they suffer in their career. Pay disparity results in male nurses earning more than their female counterparts, and anecdotal evidence suggests that male nurses are more likely to be fast-tracked into management positions. Furthermore, a report into the role of men in nursing found there to be more focus on human caring amongst male nurses.
After the Second World War, large numbers of male nurses move into the workforce as they were demobilised after the war and had gained medical experience. In 1951 the male nurses joined the main nursing register.
In 2015 there were 103 male midwives on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) nursing register, compared to 31,189 women.
Nursing schools for men were common in the United States until the early 1900s. More than half of those offering paid nursing services to the ill and injured were men. Yet by 1930, men constituted fewer than 1% of RNs in the United States. As they found other, more lucrative occupations, they left nursing behind.
The American Assembly for Men in Nursing was founded in 1971. The purpose of the AAMN is to provide a framework for nurses as a group to meet, discuss, and influence factors that affect men as nurses.
In Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718 (1982), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that Mississippi University for Women's single sex admissions policy for its nursing school violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the landmark opinion.
In popular culture
- Joey Henderson (Shortland Street)
- Jack McFarland (Will & Grace)
- Peter Petrelli (Heroes)
- Charlie Fairhead (Casualty)
- Paul Flowers (Scrubs)
- Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers)
- Thor Lundgren (Nurse Jackie)
- Morgan Tookers (The Mindy Project)
- Rory Williams (Doctor Who)
Notable men in nursing
- Tom Ahrens: an American nurse, researcher and educator at Barnes-Jewish Hospital specializing in critical care nursing
- Justus A. Akinsanya: nursing lecturer, academic and inventor of the "Akinsanya model of bionursing"
- Christopher Minsky, Arizona
- Richard Angelo: infamous serial killer.
- Jimmie Thomas, Arizona
- Jonathan Asbridge: the first president of the Royal College of Nursing.
- Richard Carmona: nurse and subsequently Surgeon General.
- George Castledine:
- Luther Christman
- Daniel Conahan
- Charles Cullen
- Keith Paora Curry
- James Derham
- Benjamin Geen
- Paul Genesse
- Edson Izidoro Guimarães
- Billy Halop
- Carl O. Helvie
- John of God
- Matt Keeslar
- Camillus de Lellis
- Jim Lendall
- Stephan Letter
- Ted Maher
- Orville Lynn Majors
- Daisuke Mori
- Abasse Ndione
- Colin Norris
- Phillipe Nover
- José Olallo
- William Pooley: volunteer nurse who helped in the Ebola crisis
- Tom Quinn
- John D. Thompson
- Will Wikle
- Tom Willmott
- Walt Whitman: the American poet, essayist and journalist volunteered as a nurse during the American Civil War.
- Gender role
- History of Medicine
- Nurse stereotypes
- Nurse-client relationship
- Transcultural nursing
- Women in medicine
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