“Greg’s in medicine too.”
“Ha ha ha ha. No, really, what field are you in?”
Yes, yes… I’m sure all of you male travel nurses out there have heard all the jokes over and over again. Remember in the movie, ‘Meet the Parents’ the poor character Gaylord Focker played by Ben Stiller was teased repeatedly about being a male nurse and granted the movie and those scenes were quite funny, it is no laughing matter when it comes to men as nurses. While there are a limited number of males in the nursing profession, according to a national registry, women outnumber men by a 16-to-1 ratio, men play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of nurses within a hospital.
Travel nursing or nursing in general has always been thought of as a woman’s job, but if there ever is a statement so wrong, it is that. There should never be any biases when it comes to the care, health and well being of our fellow man. Why can’t men provide care for another human without being thought of as effeminate or gay? The problem is obviously the way the media and other outlets portray men in these nursing roles and it has to stop. The only way to turn around these off the mark perceptions is obviously change the way male nurses are viewed in movies and television and start marketing the nursing profession towards men as a profession in which they can make differences in peoples lives everyday while earning themselves a great living. It’s not a male or female thing, it is a humankind thing. There’s a great article written by Jake, a male nurse who is a contributing writer at NurseConnect. Jake pretty much sums up what it is to be a male nurse and why he loves what he does.
So what is the perception of male traveling nurses among their peers, what do the female nurses and other medical staff think about having them on hand? The overall response is that they are lifesavers and a great benefit to the unit. Now let’s not get into, “I can do what you do but I can do it better…” discussion, let’s just stick with the facts. A man’s presence alone can often times be enough to quell an ugly situation in the ER or he can be of great assistance when it comes to lifting or helping move patients around. These are just basic, off the top of the mind situations and we all know that male nurses have an equal amount of training just as any other staff nurse out there and are an integral part to patient care no matter in what department. So with that being said, what are some disadvantages that come along with being a male nurse?
We’ve already discussed the stereotypes associated with being a male nurse and how it’s perceived as feminine and whatnot, but what else? Being a male nurse can be tough because a lot of guys are outspoken and can easily step on toes. To be a successful and an important part to a nursing unit, one must be able to scale back their masculine tendencies due to the fact that many they work with our indeed women and need to be treated in a different manner than that of other guys dealing with issues. So what it takes is for you guys to be more open, flexible and just go with the flow. It’s not just women though, there are other male nurses out there that can be just as territorial, if not more. Bottom line though is patient care, not egos. A nurse is a nurse. A person who cares for the sick, no matter what color, gender or creed.
Here’s a great article on a student group at the University of Minnesota whose aim is to change the perception of male nursing students and nurses.