Nursing: No Longer a Profession Just for Women

In “Meet the Parents,” Ben Stiller’s character was mocked for being a male nurse by his much older father-in-law, who found it as a source of amusement. Ten years after the film was released and decades after gender-specific professions were widely-accepted as the norm, there has been a real-life increase in male nurses. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, six percent of nurses in America are male – three percent more than in 1980. Despite the increase, there’s still a bit of a stigma that comes along with being a male in a female dominated profession.

If you’re a male nurse, you’ll inevitably be mistaken as a doctor. And when you explain your actual profession, it might be assumed that you couldn’t cut it in med school. This was the case in “Meet the Parents,” and Stiller was forced to prove his worth to his father-in-law by boasting his MCAT scores, which were worthy of acceptance into a good medical school. Many male nurses feel the need to prove their worth because they’re chastised for working in a so-called “feminine” profession. When you and I think of “manly” professions, policemen and firemen come to mind. They endure physical and mental challenges to maintain the safety of citizens. Nurses do the same thing – and they save lives too. The rewards that come with the profession are appealing regardless of your gender. Nursing is not only a noble profession, but pay is steady and there are always job opportunities. Every respectable male wants to remain financially independent and proud of their work, right?

More often than not, male nurses are accepted in hospitals everywhere as long as they perform their duties to the best of their abilities. They have just as much training as their female coworkers, and they are just as effective. Male nurses bring in a different perspective that enhances the hospital environment. For the same reason female patients might prefer female nurses, male patients might prefer male nurses. Lets face it, some medical problems can be a bit embarrassing for men. For that reason and many others, male nurses can become quite popular around the hospital. They’re a break from the norm. Regardless of their roles, at the end of the day they’re just nurses – and not “male” nurses.