Male nursing vs female nursing

In today’s career boards, nursing is still greatly occupied by female professionals, the result of a century’s worth of this field being cemented as a “feminine” career option. This strong social expectation presents challenges to the minority of male nurses who are faced with strong stereotyping and consequent specialization orientation. These factors create gaps in the understanding of the male nurse vs female nurse both from patients and hospital teams that has piqued several studies’ interest.

Historically however, professional nursing was mostly undertaken by men, firstly through mendicant religious orders accompanying the crusades, and later on with medical teams in wars, were taking teams composed by women was unthinkable at the time. The shift towards a female dominated nursing came at the turn of the 19th century through the work of Florence Nightingale, who maintained the idea, consistent with Victorian family values of the era, that women were naturally caring and nurturing, and therefore intrinsically fit for the nursing profession, not even needing education before apprenticeship with medical teams. The nursing associations formed at this time were all female, and the American nursing Association excludes male members up until the 1930’s.

This is the mindset which still prevails today, nursing as female dominated profession. In our society, the values mostly associated with this career, nurturing, intimate care and dependency relationships are still closely associated with female gender stereotypes, while men are seen to fit in more aggressive, dominant roles, hard to reconcile with this sort of medical assistance. However, the increasing flexibility brought by an increasing comfort with personal choices not encumbered by social gender molds has made it possible for many men to consider this career, greatly aided by the increasing reputation of nursing, and the higher pay offered for a job in great demand.

Even with this increase, the number of males in the nursing profession is still within a small percentage, and men are still very much faced with a certain level of stereotyping and discomfort from different sectors. Studies show that overall, they are well received by their female peers, who welcome their different skills. When it comes to society at large however, the pressure of stereotypes that frequently try to tag male nurses with homosexuality to make sense of their “feminine” jobs can be felt harshly.

Patients however, being on the receiving end of nurse care, have their own particular reactions to the introduction of males to this career, often expressing reluctance in seeing intimate care provided by men. In many hospitals, male nurses are barred from tasking within ob-gyn wards, with the argument their presence would increase discomfort for patients, and receiving the counter argument that this unfairly implies a lesser level of professionalism from male nurses when compared to male doctors, who are a common staple in these care specializations.

This adjustment effort has mostly lead to a more accentuated specialization within male nurses. To a great extent, male dominated medical teams steer their own gender’s nurses toward types of care that are easier to reconcile with the traditional gender role. Task oriented specializations like the ER, psychiatric wards and anesthesiology don’t imply the level of intimate care that seems to be the core cause of discomfort from patients and the medical organization.

Male Nursing Statistics

The male nurse is a minority in today’s health care setting; but, the opportunities for male nurses are unlimited and lucrative. so how many male nurses are there????

Out of 2,909,357 registered nurse, men nurses occupied only 5.8% of the total nursing population. So total male nurses are approximately 168743 across USA. Male nurses are increasing roughly 2 to 3% every year. By 2020 male nurse population will increase and reach about 25%.  Nursing career options for both  female and male nurses available from long-term care, Acute care, psych, and non-patient care positions.  Starting salary for male nurses differ greatly from region to region but an RN should expect a beginning wage of no less then $25 per hour in rural settings to the mid $30’s per hour in metropolitan areas.

Both male and female nurses in California can bring home a six figure income plus lucrative benefits such as sign-on bonus, shift bonus, etc.  States like New York and Florida are just as lucrative as California.   Male nurses salary options should include base rate of pay and shift differential.  Important aspects of determining true salary include benefits, overtime laws, and bonuses.  Base salaries are typically the rate at which a nurse is hired at and is usually based on work experience and years of experience.  Shift differentials are typically paid to nurses who work the PM shift or Night (NOC) shift and is comprised of a percentage of base pay.  An important aspect of shift differential is that it is not part of calculating overtime pay.  Overtime pay is based entirely on base rate of pay.  This is important if a positions offers nurses a lower base rate of pay and a higher shift differential in facilities where overtime is expected.  12 hour shifts do not always include overtime pay for the last four hours of work.  The rules that stipulate standard work hours and overtime payment vary greatly from state to state and from community to community.  Rural hospitals are sometimes exempt from state wage laws if the facility falls under a federal rural hospital status.

Determining the value of benefits such as health insurance, etc. should be based on what the benefits offered are worth to each individual nurse.  Sometimes taking a non-benefited position is more lucrative then a position with a higher base rate of pay and  benefits.

Understand the bonus structure by knowing how it works, how much bonuses should be, when they apply and when they do not apply.  Bonuses can sometimes make up as much as 25% of annual income, especially in facilities where working double shifts is fairly common.

Understanding how the pay scale works is important when choosing a position within the nursing industry.

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