Gender Discrimination For Male Nurses And What Can Be Done?
In recent years it has been observed that there has been an increased interest of males in the nursing profession. One prime reason that has led to the growth of males in the healthcare and the medical industry is the career prospects that the nursing profession offers. It is no longer considered to be a female oriented and dominated profession. Healthcare units are encouraging men to join the profession and fill in the shortage of nurses that the nation is currently facing today. Currently there are 5.7 registered nurses in the nation and more are required to bridge the gap. The number of males joining nursing school has increased to a large extent and the current figure of males attending nursing schools in the USA is 13%.
The above is indeed good news however when it comes to the male nurse satisfaction in the nursing profession many of them complain of gender discrimination from nursing care units and their female counterparts. There are many male nurses who state that this discrimination begins from the classroom itself. They state that the classes are directed towards the female student and there are some books and text that even has “she” indicating that the nursing profession is targeted towards the female gender only.
Some even complain that these texts refer men as patients or doctors and they never specify them as nurses. This bias exists from the learning environment and stretches into the nursing profession. Even in the workplace male nurses are considered to be inferior to their female counterparts and they are treated differently by their co-workers, supervisors etc. There are some patients who do not like the presence of male nurses and they often reject their services. Many patients even consider them to be homosexual or effeminate for opting to choose a female dominated profession. There are many stereotypes and mental preconceptions that the male nurse faces even today. They are often prohibited entry in the delivery and labor rooms of hospitals to a large extent too.
Keeping the above in mind it is obvious that male nurses will suffer from a low morale. There are ways in which this gender discrimination can be handled. There needs to be an evolution to break mental barriers and generate the acceptance of the male nurse in the nursing profession. The first place where this can be done should start from nursing schools. Male students should be placed at par with their female classmates. The nursing curriculum should be more male oriented and the text books should address both genders as nurses.
Healthcare units should encourage the employment of more males in the profession to balance the male-female ratio. In this manner the discrimination of the male nurse can be handled effectively. Patients also need to change their perceptions and attitudes towards the male nurses and accept them more in the healthcare and medical units. The nursing profession needs an evolution and this has to be done for the betterment of male nurses who are still struggling with gender discrimination and bias in the nursing and medical profession.