© 2007- present Kathy Quan RN BSN All Rights Reserved
The 2010 IOM (Institute of Medicine) report on The Future of Nursing explains how the field of nursing needs to change to meet the needs of the American public in light of the Affordable Care Act and changing health care needs in general. One of those changes needs to be an increased number of male nurses.
Many people are surprised to know that the first nurses throughout the world were actually men. The first nursing school was in India in about 250 BC and only men were felt to be "pure enough" to be nurses. During the Black Plague in the 1300's, a group of men formed one of the first hospitals to care for the victims.
Today, about 6% of the nursing workforce in the U.S. is made up of men. However, in the military at least 35% of the nursing force in each of the three branches is composed of men. Men were excluded from nursing in the military in the early 1900's and did not resume this function until the early 1950's, after the Korean War.
Throughout the world today, more men are entering the field of nursing and there is a major push to delete the stereotype that nurses are women. In fact, men are finding roles in all fields of nursing. Nursing is a not a gender, it is a profession. The art of caring is not something only women understand. With the tremendous shortage of nurses, more men are encouraged to join the profession.
Sexism, misogyny, gender bias and prejudice are huge issues in the workplace everywhere and nursing is no exception, but it's reversed. Males are feeling the brunt of sexism and prejudice in this case. Power is always at the root of the issue and if we are to empower ourselves to fight against sexism and gender inequity in the nursing profession, we need to bring the discussion of men in nursing to the table as well. This needs to be resolved so we can all work together to provide the best patient care.
After the events of September 11, 2001, people throughout the world began to feel a sense of needing to bring more meaning into their lives. The desire to do something to make a difference has lead many to look to nursing as a new career. Many more men as well as women have begun to find a great satisfaction in becoming nurses. And more and more men are considering nursing as a second career.
The American Assembly for Men in Nursing would like to see men making up 20% of the student nursing population by 2020, but they foresee struggles to get there. To find out more about men in nursing today, check out their website.