Male Nursing Careers (What It’s Like Being a Male Nurse)27 January 2020
Contrary to popular belief, nurses not doctors are the backbone of the medical field—their careers can even more rewarding. Nursing can be the perfect career path for someone hoping to change lives and help people in need. Unfortunately, despite being the 21st century, some professions like nursing are still subject to heavy gender stereotypes. The stigma around men in nursing is challenging to unpack, but we’re getting closer to dispelling it. But what exactly is it like being a male nurse?
Dissolving the Stigma
Like secretaries and paralegals, there’s still a stereotype that only women can be nurses—this is damaging and wrong. Despite the fact that nursing programs around the USA are often female-dominated, gender discrepancies are shifting and anyone can be a nurse regardless of how they identify. As the stigma dissolves and the gender stereotypes are rejected, more men are inspired to become nurses.
Male Nurse Myths
The stigma of being a male nurse is fueled by damaging myths steeped in sexism and toxic masculinity. Here are a few myths that we hope to dispell:
Myth: Being a male nurse emasculates you
This myth is insulting to men because it suggests that men cannot care for someone and maintain their masculinity. This is driven by the idea that emotions, empathy, and sympathy are feminine traits that men should not show—that these traits corrode their manhood. This myth is often accompanied by the assumption that only gay men can be nurses. Men have emotions and male nurses are just as masculine for changing a baby’s diaper or comforting an elderly person on their death bed.
Myth: The man is always the doctor and the woman is always the nurse
When a male nurse walks into a room, some patients may assume he is the doctor—nursing is for women right? While an assumption like this may seem flattering for the man, the sexism reinforces the gender stereotypes of both men and women in the medical field. It not only suggests that women cannot be doctors, but also that masculinity and nursing are not compatible.
Myth: Male nurses couldn’t get into/failed out of medical school
This myth is hurtful on two levels. First, it wrongfully suggests that nurses are less intelligent than doctors and—due to the female-dominance in the nursing field—implies that women are less intelligent than men. Second, the career paths of a doctor and a nurse are completely different and should not be seen as interchangeable. Using nursing as a backup for a failed attempt at medical school is not recommended unless you have a serious passion for nursing. Nursing involves a whole world that is rarely seen by doctors, and the skill sets needed for each are not similar.
Are Male Nurses Respected?
The decision to become a male nurse isn’t easy. Depending on their social circles, aspiring male nurses may find positive support hard to come by, but it doesn’t matter what other people think. Times are changing and thankfully, professions are being decoupled from gender. The most important thing to focus on as an aspiring male nurse is passion. If you have a passion for helping people and saving lives, you can’t let other people’s misguided opinions get in the way of you following your dreams. It’s sad to think about how many men are working jobs they aren’t passionate about because outdated gender roles pressured them into abandoning their nursing dreams.
As a male nurse, you may be faced with assumptions from your peers and patients. You may find that you’re mainly given the more physically taxing jobs such as heavy lifting and moving patients, or you may be declined by female patients in favor of a female nurse. These realities can’t always be fought, and it’s important to not get offended. Patients should be able to choose which nurses they’re comfortable with, and sometimes you may be physically stronger than your peers.
Why Become a Male Nurse?
There are many benefits of being a male nurse. Working as a male nurse can be an incredibly rewarding job, especially for those hoping to be fathers one day. The combination of cleaning up after someone in need, monitoring their health, and practicing empathy and sympathy can be easily translated into parenthood, especially if they work in pediatrics. There are so many opportunities in nursing for those who are interested in educating people, helping families, and saving lives. If doing this kind of work makes you happy, you should consider pursuing a career in nursing. Nursing is a sector of the job market that affects everyone, so if you’re looking for a career that will allow you to make a difference, not only will you be helping people, but you will be breaking down barriers and gender stereotypes.
Where Do Most Male Nurses Work?
Nursing can lead to all sorts of positions—you aren’t limited to working in a hospital. There are male nursing careers in the military, medicine, critical care, neuroscience, urgent care, education, etc. Everyone working in these positions has one thing in common: they’re passionate about helping people. The amount of time, effort, and hard work needed to be a nurse requires someone to have a serious devotion to their profession. There’s always a demand for male nurses, so nurses enrolled in degree programs at accredited nursing schools will often be offered positions right after graduation, making the transition between education and workforce short and painless.
Being a Guy in Nursing School
Becoming a male nurse will require quite a bit of work and time. It’s a challenging career path, but nurses are truly proud of what they do. If nursing is your calling, Pioneer Pacific College offers a Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) diploma for prospective and advancing nurses. We can set you up on a path to become male LPN with a thorough, valuable, and hands-on education.
Disrupt the Status Quo
Break down the stigma of men in nursing. Enroll in a nursing program here!