Male nurses learn to defy stereotypes

Men in the nursing field know how it feels to be the odd man out. After hearing some opinions from men in the nursing program, it is evident that it’s impossible to ignore the majority of women in nursing compared to men in the field.

Junior nursing major Corbin Winkle explains the first time he experienced any tension in the nursing field with female classmates was during a viewing of a film called Perry Care.  The movie was an instructional  video on how to clean patients and administer care.

Winkle said, “Having to watch that with girls on either side of me was pretty awkward. It’s a bit shocking. It goes away after a while, though.”

Winkle also said he is one of only two or three other guys in most of his nursing classes, and several people call him and his fellow male nursing mates “murses.”

The days of nurses being pretty girls in white dresses are quite over. The degree for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is for both sexes. There isn’t a B.S. in Male Nursing. However, some may wish that there were.

Junior nursing major Dan Black said, “A struggle is that you’re entering into a profession that has been dominated by women for many, many years. Currently there are about three million registered nurses in the United States and only about 6.2 percent are male, so that’s kind of what we’re going up against.”

He said male nurses  bring great qualities to the table in the nursing field.

“You’re going to get a lot of patients that aren’t exactly … light. Some men view this as bad because they feel that they’re the muscle in the job, but if I can help a fellow co-worker, then I’ll do that.”

Many male nurses easily adapt to being around a large number of women because they all share a common goal  they are jointly working to achieve. Though they may come from different perspectives, it is still the same goal.

Black said, “We take care of the patient not only physically, but we look at them as  needing holistic care, who they are and how they feel.”

Black discuss the different mentalities both female and males bring to the field of nursing.

“We do a lot of psychology with that. So the job description is the same, but men and women are just different, so, yes, we have the same job description, but sometimes I’m going to approach a situation differently just because I’m a male,” he said.

One nursing student seems to run into the occasional problem of not even being identified as a nurse or a “murse.”

Junior nursing major Charlie Hoving said, “It’s always funny when someone assumes you’re a doctor. Sure I’ve got a beard, maybe a little chest hair, and I’m wearing scrubs, but let’s get one thing straight: there are female doctors as well. I don’t think they would appreciate being constantly considered a nurse or needing facial hair to qualify otherwise.”

Although working in a sea of women may be a bit of a culture shock for some men, many UMHB male nurses believe they were led to their field of study by God. They say he has blessed them with their gift of compassion .

Black said, “It doesn’t quite matter what point I end up at. My purpose is still the same. My identity rests in Christ.”


Author: Kirby Franze

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