Men And the Profession of Nursing

Table of Content

The following essay will look into the history of nursing; it will be looking at where men fit into nursing history and will draw upon some examples of men in the role of nursing it will then move forward to times where men began to disappear from the nursing role and reasons why. The effects that Florence Nightingale had to the changes of nursing will also be investigated. Caring as an art and the science in nursing will also be discussed and how men are perceived and finally how nurses contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community.

The Profession of nursing dates back to ancient times ‘many individuals provided what would now be considered nursing care to the sick. It is likely that this care was provided in the home, though we have few written records about this activity or about those who provided this care. The first known trained individuals to provide nursing care were men who were supervised by male physicians during the Hippocratic period of ancient Greece. The nurses of early times were men not woman, as woman were seen as having duties in the home and there was much restriction in what woman were allowed to do. In saying this, the actual role the men undertook has been related back to that of an ambulance nurse of today – and that woman were the ones to assist in the ongoing care of patients in the home.

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The first known formal school of nursing was started in India about 250 B. C. E. only men were admitted to the school, as woman were not considered “pure” enough to serve in this role. In the 3rd century B. C. E. , King Asoka mandated that hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleanliness, ventilation, and comfort. The nurses working in these hospitals were almost always male. Men’s stuff cited The Charaka Vol I, Section  states these men should be, “of good behaviour, distinguished for purity, possessed of cleverness and skill, imbued with kindness, skilled in every service a patient may require, competent to cook food, skilled in bathing and washing the patient, rubbing and massaging the limbs, lifting and assisting him to walk about, well skilled in making and cleansing of beds, readying the patient and skilful in waiting upon one that is ailing and never unwilling to do anything that may be ordered.

These are all specifications that are still in use in today’s working environment – we will investigate the changes to the caring of patients further on. Men were also largely associated with nursing in war times in ‘ancient Rome nursing care was provided to soldiers, initially wounded soldiers were cared for in tents or private buildings by old men and woman, However military hospitals were established and male nurses were employed in them.

Men started to disappear from nursing before the Florence nightingale era due to the ‘decline in the number of monasteries and the increase of convents during the renaissance also hospitals became undisciplined and of poor quality, the status of and the respect for nurses and consequently the pay plummeted and as such the low status low pay positions were generally given to woman. And the final and most probably the largest reason for the decline to the men in nursing was due to the industrial Revolution.

Florence Nightingale plays a large role in the domination of woman in nursing due to the way the male physicians and hospital administrators allowed the conditions to become so poorly. “This fact contributed to Nightingales view that woman, by nature, were better suited for organizing, performing, and supervising the nursing care of the sick. Florence then began the task of employing and training middleclass woman to take over the role of nursing.

Caring within nursing has changed a lot since the ancient times – but some of the general concepts written about all those century’s ago – remain prominent even today ’the text Astangahrdayam a text of ancient Indian medicine written by an unknown author notes, ‘The attendant should be attached, clean, efficient in work and intelligent – these requirements made in ancient times are not very ifferent from the expectations of caring in the art of science today. The Science of nursing has evolved over the century’s the nurses of today are far more equipped in the knowledge of science and chemistry, biology, and mathematics are used daily in the art of nursing, the calculations of medicine are of high importance a patient given an incorrect dosage of a prescribed medication could have diverse results – including death, ‘Organic Chemistry is all about the properties and mechanisms of compounds which have carbon as the most important component in them.

This branch covers the compositions of commonly used commodities such as drugs, vitamins, all sorts of plastics, fibres including the natural and the synthetic in addition to carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each of these substances is used in the making of certain materials which are used in the caring of patients with wounds and needing care. In the light of these facts, it becomes apparent that an understanding of chemistry is very important in the field of nursing both at a conceptual as well as in the practical domain. Nurses, once seen as healing angels or Florence Nightingales by the bedside, today are multidisciplinary professionals who provide quality patient care. While still focused on compassion and caring, 21st century nurses are trained in data collection and reporting, and work with electronic medical records, drug calculators, and diagnostic equipment, the new tools of medicine. And yet nursing is still “a balance between the art and the science,”

And although many nurses choose to practice at the bedside, there are more professional opportunities than ever before, from legal nurse consultants and case managers to pharmaceutical supply researchers and infection control nurses. Nurses who go on to become advance practice nurses or nurse practitioners can take on expanded roles similar to family practice physicians, prescribing medicine, performing physical exams, and ordering lab tests. Nurses are taught to be respectful, efficient, show empathy, kindness, and are taught to bath and help patients with hygiene the difference in the way aring for a patient has changed would be in the way these tasks are carried out. In ancient times nurses were expected to complete these tasks without question or thoughts to the patients level of illness. Today’s caring leans a lot more toward teaching and assisting the patient to promote self care. Leininger states ‘Caring is the essence of nursing, Leininger explains that not only does caring unify the profession with its dominant focus, but that caring also constitutes the heart and soul of nursing. Leininger wet on to develop the theory of Culture care and Diversity and universality .

The term profession is applied to those persons who have specialized and technical skill or knowledge which they apply, for a fee, to certain tasks that ordinary and unqualified people cannot ordinarily undertake. The term derives from the Latin: “to swear (an oath)” The profession of nursing has come along way in recent times – from training in the hospitals – it has moved into the classroom – and become a “Profession” nurses being trained today are far more well equipped with knowledge than in years past.

As a nurse in today’s society we are expected to show empathy and understanding we are required to educate and care for all individuals without prejudice we must respect our patients cultural differences But where male nurses are concerned they often face prejudice in their working environment even today there is the concern that a male nurse will be accused of sexual misconduct or inappropriate touching – where a woman performing the exact same task would not consider the implications of a routine task as a possible situation for concern. This discomfort is exacerbated when male students have gender based limitations placed on them in clinical situations involving intimate touch. Disregard of the issue of touch enhances some male students fear of being falsely accused of sexual inappropriateness when providing intimate care. The idea of men in nursing in today’s society of liberation and freedom should be not a passing thought but yet the lack of men in the theatres, emergency rooms or ever rarer the maternity ward is beyond a doubt obvious.

Since the earliest times both men and woman have been engaged in the practices that today we call nursing they combined biological, nutritional, social, aesthetic and spiritual support to optimise the health of the communities – in those ancient times they were called witch doctors or even medicine men – but this shows there was a major misunderstanding and there was significant lack of acknowledgment of their contribution.

Nurses of today are expected to be multi skilled particularly those who are working in community settings, they make strenuous efforts to prevent illness with the help of education and community programs designed to suppress transmittable diseases, violence, obesity, drinking, and tobacco use. In addition to this, they provide maternal-child education aimed at preventing some of the leading health problems of our time.

To conclude the information I have submitted has shown that the origins of nursing date back to the ancient times and that men were the significant face of nursing in those days – men were seen as Pure, intelligent and competent to cook and clean and were skilled in bathing – while woman were not considered for these positions until later in the 18th century when Florence nightingale revolutionised the way that the profession of nursing was portrayed not only did she teach middle class woman to be nurses but she also made it clear that men were not fit to take on such an important role of nurturing and caring.

This essay has discussed the caring role of the nurse and how over the century’s the role of caring has been investigated and although many changes have been made the essential thoughts of ancient times still prevail today. The Profession of nursing has evolved it has become a university degree and the classroom is the main learning point were in years past the teaching was done in the hospitals, it has discussed how the science of nursing has evolved and the opportunities available to the nurse of today are widely diverse.

The role nurses play in the community is of large importance – the constant need for teaching and informing makes the nurse role in the community a necessity. Overall we can see that nursing is a ever evolving Profession that’s has many notable times in history that are still in use today – the role of a nurse wether be male or female is an honourable and skilled profession and one that deserves the respect of the wider community.


Mens stuff 1996 Gordon Clay http://www. menstuff. rg/issues/byissue/malenurses. html#meninnursing Richard L Pullen, Jr RN EdD & laVon Barrett, RN Men in nursing – Closing the communication gender gap 2008 p21 Nursing Science Quarterly Madeleine M. Leininger 1988; 1; 152 DOI: 10. 1177/089431848800100408 http://nsq. sagepub. com/cgi/reprint/1/4/152 The boston Globe http://www. boston. com/jobs/salutetonurses2007/articles/2007/05/07/the_art_and_science_of_nursing/ papersinn. com (2009) http://www. papersinn. com/chemistry_nursing. htm

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