The ideal nurse at a hospital is a woman, usually Caucasian. In the article “Men in Nursing”, it states the struggle and hardships of the male nurse. According to the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, only 5.4% of the 2.1 million registered nurses in the United States are men. As the text goes on to state, the stereotypical doctor should be a man and the stereotypical woman should be a nurse. Very few men go against this stereotype and become nurses. This is proven by the 13% male population enrolled in nursing school. At the rate of enrollment in nursing school, the stereotype that is incorporated in nursing will never be broken.
The nursing field for men comes with discrimination. Francisco Navarro, an R.N. at LaRabida’s Children’s Hospital has a hard time dealing with the stereotypes that go along with being a male nurse. Navarro thinks it is discrimination that all the promotions go to woman while he remains at the same spot. He does agree that it is sometimes hard to be a male nurse working in specialty units, such as women’s health, maternity units, and labor units. Some women feel uncomfortable around male nurses. An example would be when a woman felt uncomfortable around Navarro in the maternity unit when she was trying to breast feed, even though he was just there to translate for the non-English speaking mother.
The consequence that goes along with being a male nurse is being labeled a homosexual. The close interaction with mostly woman coworkers leads to assumption that all male nurses are gay. Most people associate the nursing job being feminine in a society where the majority of nurses are women. People think that male nurses automatically are feminine homosexuals, just because the nursing career is portrayed stereotypically as only women. The fact that these stereotypes exist are enough to drive away the young men of America from the nursing career. They do not want to be seen as feminine and the feminine and homosexual stereotype of male nurses is enough to discourage most men facing decisions in their respective career path.
The profession of being a registered nurse is publically seen as a white woman fitting the stereotype. Dwight Elliot, who is a senior at East Carolina University, is the exact opposite. He is one of two men in the class of 80 in the nursing program. Elliot is not only a male, but is also African American in a profession that is predominately white females. Elliot states that he has to work twice as hard because he is both a male and a minority. Even though the odds are against him because of stereotypes from generations ago, he still manages to compete for job opportunities in a bias society that may or may not be ready for the termination of one of many career choice stereotypes.
At this rate, male nurse will not gain equality any time soon. There are groups that are trying to teach the adolescent boys of America that it is socially accepted to become a male nurse without assumptions of being homosexuals or feminine. The acceptance of male nurses in society may be discouraging currently, but with the schools becoming more open to non-females and non-whites there is no telling what can happen in the future in the nursing field.
external image male-nurse.jpgbreaking the stereotype: a male nurse
external image nursing.jpgproves that masculine men can be nurses as well