That’s a man-bag, thank you very much! Of course, male nurses have essentials to carry around—but let’s be accurate with our terms! Call it a backpack or just a bag, people. Census Bureau data from 2011 shows that nearly 10 percent of US RNs were male. That’s 3X the percentage of male nurses that existed back in 1970. The world has changed radically in the past half century—and one welcome change is surely that the “stigma” of being a male RN, as USA Today chose to put it, has begun to fade. I would have called it more of an opportunity had I been in charge of headlines for that organization. Here are a few of the many advantages in being a male nurse:
- You get to be a celeb. Male nurses help gender-balance the profession, which is good in all professions. For the time being, you will get to stand out--in a good way. There were 3.5 million employed nurses in 2011, about 3.2 million of who were female and 330,000 male, according to theAAMN (American Assembly for Men in Nursing).
- You’re helping to bring men back into nursing. Men attended the world’s first nursing school in India in 250 B.C.
- No suit or tie! Slipping into scrubs every day is so comfortable and easy!
- You may be helping to increase pay overall. More men going into nursing has had a positive effect on wages for both sexes, according to Caren Goldberg of the American University Business School quoted by Franklin Shaffer, EdD, RN, CEO of CGFNS.org (the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools).
- You get respect. I’m not talking about being mistaken for a doctor, although this happens. Being a nurse is a great source of pride for any gender.
- No wait for the bathroom. However, your workplace may have unisex facilities.
- Your job is satisfying on multiple levels. It’s a job that nurtures and lets you use your caring, relationship-oriented skills and indulge your technical gadgetry fascination. Of course, women get this advantage too.
- As a man, you’re very motivated and happy to be at your workplace. Since it’s less common for men to be nurses, we may have faced obstacles to get there. This can make us very upbeat and positive work colleagues, improving the work environment for all. Both males and female enjoy excellent employment prospects in nursing, too, making this a great profession to join for practical reasons, like staying employed.
- You can get help to become a nurse or further your education. Some nursing schools may grant males more points toward admission, just to even out their student body ratio. You may be eligible for minority awards or scholarships to help afford or further schooling as well. So guys, you may be singled out as a male nurse, but in a beneficial way.
- You get to enjoy working with strong, capable, intelligent and funny women. Many men grew up with women like this. Often, our wives are woman with those impressive human qualities—so most men enjoy working with females too. Our differing POVs help men and women grow as nurses. Most men I know consider this a big plus, each for their own personal reasons.
- You get to follow in famous footsteps. Walt Whitman was a nurse. Add your hero's name here.
Bottom line: Nursing is a great job, and that’s why more men are getting involved these days. Gender labels provide interesting chat, but in our hearts we are all nurses working together, male and female. Men who choose nursing as a profession have just as much pride in their career choice as women, of course, but we are unique. There’s no need to lump everyone into one white-capped category or definition of nurse. Stereotypes like that have no place in today’s nursing work force; however, there are certainly many aspects of nursing that draw men to the profession.
New male nurses out there—how do you like it so far? Veteran pioneer male nurses, think back to your first year on the job and share a story! How is real-world nursing compared to school and clinical training? Have you discovered even more reasons to support your decision to go into the nursing field? What has been the most surprising aspect? For information about travel nursing, contact Fastaff.