Men Working in the Nursing Profession

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Men Working in the Nursing Profession essay
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Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career for both men and women. Some argue that nursing is for women, while others argue that nursing is a non-gender specified field. Men enter the nursing field for the same reasons as women. Individuals who enter the nursing field want to care for and help others with medical needs. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of men occupying nursing positions decreased to about 1% in the 1930s and 1940s (Jacksonville University, 2017).

There has been an increase but the percentage difference of men and women occupying nursing positions is staggering.  About 5.8% of nurses are men as reported by the Department of Health and Human Services (Jacksonville University, 2017). Men are being discriminated in this field of nursing because people tend to think that nursing is a feminine job and men tend to be more dominance and aggressive, with their work. When people see a male nurse, they become uncomfortable which in society nurses are seen as females. As I can experience this when working in a hospital setting male nurses tend to socialize with male doctors than females do; nursing is an appropriate job for men as it is for women.

Exploring Men Working in the Nursing Field

Men that choose a vocation in the nursing profession are looked down upon due to many different beliefs. In fact, these beliefs are what discourages men from entering the nursing profession. Popular belief is that many male nurses are gay. This perception makes them consider alternative occupations. Another misnomer is that male nurses are more likely to exhibit inappropriate ‘sexual behavior’ when caring for patients.  As a result of being subject to additional scrutiny, male nurses must be careful when caring for or touching a patient, especially female patients (Gorgos, D. 2002).

Basis of the Problem

Men working in the nursing field have a job to perform.  Some patients are hesitant to let them perform their job functions because they are embarrassed or uncomfortable with having a male nurse. Particularly, older female patients find it difficult to trust male nurses. Though it is understandable that patients have the right to refuse from whom they receive care, male nurses are there to do their job just like their female counterparts. The trust factor is one disadvantage that discourages men from entering the nursing field. Another problem for men is the stereotyping associated with being a nurse.

Many men are ashamed of being a nurse because of perceptions broadcasted by media. The male perception is, “I can’t be a nurse because people will automatically assume that I am gay” (Torkelson, D., Seed, M. 2011).  An article shows when recruitment company PageGroup asked a group of 112 children between ages seven and eleven to draw a picture of a nurse, 91 out of the 112 children portrayed nurses as women (BMJ Publishing Group LTD).

It is a disservice to those that will have the need for nursing care that younger, impressionable people grow up thinking that that nursing is for women only.  This stereotyping has a negative impact as one less future career options for men at an early age. This stereotyping also affects how children perceive roles of men and women as adults (BMJ Publishing Group LTD).

How is the Problem Being Solved?

Today, in the United States and around the world, more men are entering the nursing field. Their entrance into the nursing industry is mainly the result of a troubled economy. Men are being welcomed, encouraged, and supported to pursue nursing. Various recruiting tactics are being used by nursing schools and hospitals to actively recruit men (Rajapaksa, S., & Rothstein, W. (2009).

Some recruiting strategies include marketing through increased media attention and social media. The American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) is supports and encourage men to enroll in nursing school.  Their objective is to increase male enrollment in nursing programs to 20% of nursing students by the year 2020. (Jacksonville University, 2017). There has even been a new focus of attention from a recruitment campaign sponsored by Oregon Center for Nursing called “Are You Man Enough to be a Nurse?” (Jacksonville University, 2017).


Nursing is a fantastic field for those who are entry-level and or have no prior job experience. Nursing is one of many fields being stereotyped in the United States.  Nursing is a very popular occupation for women – this does not mean that men are or should be excluded from it. Many people, past and present, think that nursing is a woman’s job. When seeing men as their nurse, many patients refuse their care.

The dismissal is because they are either embarrassed or uncomfortable about having a male nurse. Most men won’t be able to work in areas like the maternity ward however, men can do the job just as well as women.  It is important to remember that men’s and women’s positions in the social structure are undergoing rapid change as the number of male nurses is increasing across the United States (Gorgos, D. (2002). Nursing is a great career for men. As long as I have been living I have always experience men working in the nursing field as nurses; males patients tend to appreciate male nurses more, a  females appreciate females nurses more.


  1. BMJ Publishing Group LTD. School Children Picture Nursing as a Job for Women. Nursing Children and Young People. 28, 6.
  2. Gorgos, D. (2002). Why are There So Few Male Nurses? Dermatology Nursing, 14, 340.
  3. Jacksonville University (2017). Men in Nursing: Being a Male Nurse. https://www.jacksonvilleu.com/blog/nursing/men-in-nursing/
  4. Rajapaksa, S., & Rothstein, W. (2009). Factors that Influence the Decisions of Men and Women Nurses to Leave Nursing. Nursing Forum, 44, 195-206.
  5. Torkelson, D., Seed, M. (2011). Gender Differences in the Roles and Functions of Inpatient Psychiatric Nurses. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 49, 34-41.

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