Top 3 Misconceptions About Male Nurses

By on December 15, 2012

Male nurses are often the victims of some common misconceptions. Historically, the nursing profession has been inhabited by women. The nurturing, care-giving role has traditionally been considered feminine. There are three common misconceptions that male nurses face. First, some people think that male nurses are not masculine. Secondly, many people think male nurses really want to be doctors. Thirdly, there is the popular idea that men are not suited for care-giving positions. These misconceptions are incredibly outdated.

Male Nurses are Not Manly
There is a common misconception that male nurses are somehow not manly. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a nurse doesn’t mean that one is no longer a man. It doesn’t mean that a male nurse is any less masculine than a male lawyer. Some professions have traditionally been dominated by one sex. Female lawyers are never accused of not being feminine. In today’s society, men and women are free to work in whatever professions they like. Nursing has nothing to do with a man’s masculinity.

Hollywood also perpetrates this myth. Many movies and television shows have poked fun at male nurses. Everybody remembers how Robert De Niro treated his future son-in-law and male nurse in Meet the Parents. Men who go into nursing often have to be self-assured and confident to deal with potential stereotypes.

Male Nurses Wish They Were Doctors
Unfortunately, many people think male nurses are just failed doctors. They often think that male nurses quit medical school or just didn’t make it far enough. The idea is that they wanted to be doctors, but settled for nursing instead. This couldn’t be further from the truth either. Nursing is a true calling. Male nurses, just like female nurses felt the calling. They have made a conscious decision to become nurses.

Nursing school is no picnic. Many nurses go on to complete post-graduate work. Nobody questions a female on why she settled for nursing. It is a double standard. Male nurses are often explaining their choices to people. People may ask them why they didn’t pursue medical school. Male nurses take it with a grain of salt. They didn’t pursue medical school because they wanted to be nurses.

Men Don’t Make Good Nurses
Another unfortunate misconception is that men don’t make good nurses. Historically, women have typically held nursing positions. Many people associate nursing with women. It is a care-giving position. The misconception is that men aren’t capable of handling this type of position. This idea is incredibly outdated. People who have been in the care of a male nurse find them incredibly competent in their duties. Men and women are educated and trained in the exact same ways. The idea that men are unsuitable for care-giving positions is preposterous. Men make fantastic nurses.

This outdated stereotype is one that plagues male nurses, especially in gynecological or obstetrics wards. Women patients may not have confidence in a male labor and delivery nurse. They think that since they are not mothers they must not be good nurses. It remains a fact that many female labor and delivery nurses are not mothers either.

Ultimately, it is the male nurse’s ability to defy stereotypes that makes him unique. The nursing profession can be both mentally and physically stressful. Male nurses are just as good as their female counterparts at tending to the needs of patients. Although nursing remains a female dominated profession, there are men who feel the calling. Defying the stereotypes and misconceptions is all part of the job for male nurses.

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Jeff Farmer is an ER nurse and guest author at Best Nursing Masters, where he contributed to the guide to the Top 10 Best Online Master’s Programs in Nursing (MSN).

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