Men in Nursing Essay

MEN AND THE PROFFESION OF NURSING 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 - Men in Nursing Essay introduction. 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. ’ (O’Lynn & Tranbarger, 2007 p9) ‘The first known trained individuals to provide nursing care were men who were supervised by male physicians during the Hippocratic period of ancient Greece. (O’Lynn cited christman, 1988b: Davis&Bartfay, 2001). 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 (O’Lynn cited Wilson 1997) ‘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. ’ O’Lynn cited Nutting & Dock, 1935 Wilson, 1997). Men’s stuff cited The Charaka Vol I, Section xv) 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’ (O’Lynn 2007 p21)

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’. (O’Lynn 2007 p24) 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. ” (O’Lynn 2007 p24) 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 (nurse) should be attached (affectionate faithful to the patient), clean ( in body, mind and speech), efficient in work and intelligent’ (O’Lynn cited Murphy,1994,p15) – 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. Papersinn. com(2009) 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’ (O’Lynn cited Leininger, 1991 p 121) 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 (O’Lynn cited O’Lynn, 2004a) 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. REFERENCE PAGE 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

Men in Nursing Essay

Men in Nursing

It is only in the late nineteenth century that women entered various professions - Men in Nursing Essay introduction. Until then they were restricted to household work and farming only. However, today women have been successful in establishing themselves in traditionally male dominated occupations, particularly since the 1970’s. On the other hand, it looks like men do not seem to be crossing over into traditional female dominated professions such as nursing. This paper mainly discusses the reasons behind only few men going into nursing. Currently there is a crisis in terms of a nursing shortage due to various reasons. One way to resolve this crisis is to encourage more men into nursing.

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If we look at the history, it can be pointed out that men have been a part of nursing for a long time. The first nursing school in the world was started in India in about 250 BC. Only men were considered “pure” enough to become nurses (Menstuff n.pag). According to Mackintosh men were an established part of nursing in the middle Ages, where they were often part of the monastic institutions. There is historical evidence that men were care takers in the voluntary hospitals and in the poor workhouses of early Victorian England (Mackintosh 232-236).

With the evolution of modern nursing, most of the men were out of the profession. The exclusion of men in the formative years of modern nursing especially from 1852 onwards established a pattern that has become profoundly entrenched in both nursing and the wider society (Mackintosh 232-236). For instance, in the UK, men were discouraged from entering nursing with the Nursing Registration Act of 1919 offering only women entry to the Register.

It was in the mid-nineteenth century when changes in the nature of masculinity and femininity occurred, spearheaded by Florence Nightingale, which resulted in nursing becoming feminized. Florence Nightingale promoted the idea that to be a ‘good nurse’ was also to be a ‘good woman’ (Gamarnikow). Klaus Theweleit explains this ideal vision of the female nurse as the ‘white nurse’, a pure ‘caring mother figure, who transcends sensuousness’ (Theweleit 91). Though Nightingale was a strong advocate for both women and nursing, she considered traits such as nurturance, gentleness, empathy, compassion, tenderness and unselfishness to be basically feminine. Naturally, today, this position has been gradually more challenged by those who argue that these qualities exist also in men, and might not essentially be found in all female nurses! (Wright and Hearn).There are also reports that say that Nightingale herself thought that men’s ‘hard and horny’ hands were not fitted ‘to touch, bathe, and dress wounded limbs, however gentle their hearts may be’ (Summers).

It was only when the modern day nursing especially in the post war period, that a subsequent review of nursing suggested that both men and women should be permitted entry to all parts of the register. As a result of this decision, in the period 1939-1947 there was a 542% increase in the number of men registering as nurses in the UK (Brown et al. 4-13). However, this increase was short-term and by the late 1960’s the number of men in nursing had fallen again.

Researchers such as Mackintosh points out, is probably due to three factors. The first reason was that the conviction in the natural nature of nursing as a woman’s occupation still existed that produced conflicting assumptions about men in nursing. The introduction of men in nursing was an attempt in some way to abuse the morality of the occupation, and that, because men were apparently not naturally capable of performing caring nursing activities, men in nursing could consequently not be ‘real men’ and certainly not ‘real nurses’. The second reason pointed out was the poor working conditions with long hours and low pay which was discouraging not only men but also women. Lastly, the failure to shake off the low reputation that men in nursing had acquired as a result of their long relationship with less respectable areas of nursing work such as custodial work in psychiatric hospitals predestined that even fewer men were fascinated to nursing (Mackintosh 232-236).

There are also other studies that suggest that in the early 1970’s particularly in the United Kingdom, men in nursing found that several hospitals indicated that they considered men in nursing to have only a limited role in general nursing. There was restriction on men and were not ready to accept men for training who did not show at least as strong a motivation as their women recruits (Brown and Stones). This could also be a contributing factor in the lack of men in nursing even up to the 1970’s.

If we take a look at men in nursing in the United States, it can be noted that men in nursing fared a little better where they were able to register as a nurse. But here again education was stringently segregated into different schools for men and women. In fact there were also some colleges preventing men from entering the profession until the 1980’s (Polifacio 39-42).

If we try to analyze why men enter nursing, it can be said that the reasons were almost the same as women (Villeneuve 217-228). Several researchers have also worked in this area (Squires 26-28; Boughn and Lentini 156-161; Perkins et al. 34-38). Nursing gives men the opportunity to make a difference in a person’s life thus gaining emotional rather than financial rewards (Mason 26-28).

By studying the opinions of male and female nursing students towards nursing as a career, it was found that male students were influenced by the availability of career opportunities and the nature of the clinical experience perceived through their nursing education. Results of this study indicated that nursing was attractive because of job opportunities, security, diversity, desire to help people and promotion (Lo and Brown 36-41).

According the Boughn a researcher, the three main reasons for taking up nursing profession by men and women were caring, power and empowerment, and practical motivation. He found that both men and women students had a similar commitment to caring for patients. However, the research found that there were some differences within the construct of power particularly in regard to empowering others. He found that women were more interested in empowering others while men were more interested in empowering the profession. The study also arrived at differences between men and women in regards to practical motivation. All male participants in the study indicated that they chose nursing because they expected a good salary and earning power and they saw nursing as a practical choice for achieving this end. However, among the females all but four of the 16 women students, did not quote financial considerations as being important to them. Finally, Boughn suggested that these differences should be seen not as completely opposed, but as complementing each other. He suggested that nursing education could encourage men and women to incorporate these different ways of thinking into the other’s professional values (Boughn 14-19).

One of the main barriers to men entering nursing is the challenge it presents to hegemonic masculinity in that men who choose nursing as a career, risk challenging the traditional roles of their gender stereotype. Additionally, there are also concerns of low economic status, less pay and importance given to male nursing. In general, nursing is recognized as a female profession and women’s roles continue to be less valued as reflected in social status and financial compensation. Indeed, Meadus sees one of the main barriers keeping men away from entering nursing is the “well-entrenched societal stereotypes associated with nursing” (Meadus 5-13).

In United States men were excluded from nursing in the military in the early 1900’s and did not resume this function until the early 1950’s, after the Korean War. However, this scenario is changing and throughout the world today, more and more men are entering the field of nursing.  There is a major push to remove the stereotype that nurses are women (

One of the major challenges faced by the health care sector is the shortage of nursing staff. With this shortage of nurses, more men are encouraged to join the profession. Recent statistics show the average age of nurses rising while the rate of those entering the profession has slowed over the past few years. The reason for the nursing shortage includes the average age of nurses is 45 years, the image of the profession, work environment issues especially the high stress situations and the faculty shortage.

According to the American Nurses Association estimates only 6 percent of nurses in the United States today are men. While the demand is growing for quality nursing care, hospitals and other facilities face a significant shortage of nurses to meet that need. According to the American Hospital Association, 75 percent of all hospital vacancies are for nurses, and the Department of Labor has identified registered nursing as the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2012, with more than 1 million new and replacement nurses needed in that time.

Even though women have effectively broken into the ranks of medicine–the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that the majority of medical students are now female and nursing has yet to see a similar shift in the gender balance. Still, men are beginning a push to set their roles within this female-dominated occupation. As part of this “Men in Nursing,” is the first professional journal to target this population. This journal was recently launched by publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. “Our whole intent with ‘Men in Nursing’ is to provide a professional journal that’s going to really serve as a vehicle to celebrate the accomplishments of men in the field,” said Robert Kepshire, the publication’s editor of the journal. Kepshire began his career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician before starting a 20-year nursing career that has included working on a helicopter to transport critically ill patients.

Some of the biggest obstacles to attracting more men to nursing are the persistent notion that nursing is simply not something that men do. As the word “nursing” itself is essentially feminine which also means breastfeeding a child. Male nurses often find that patients approach them with the assumption that they are not smart enough to become doctors. For some men, nursing symbolizes a secure career move. For instance, Scott Flaming worked for 15 years as an insurance underwriter for Fortune 500 companies before moving to El Paso, Texas, where he had difficulty finding a job. Later he decided to enroll at New Mexico State University to get a degree as a Registered Nurse.

Another challenge regardless of male or female to enter the field of nursing is getting into a nursing school. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing schools had to reject more than 30,000 qualified applicants in the year 2004 because of capacity constraints. “Just because there aren’t enough training opportunities available, that doesn’t mean the ones that are there should continue to go to females only,” said Jim Raper, president of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing, an organization dedicated to supporting male nurses and encouraging more men to enter the field.

Those men who are already into the profession successfully may find that being in the minority has additional challenges. There are reports saying that some men have been held back in their careers as a result of gender discrimination. This is especially true in specialties like obstetrics and gynecology. In these departments women often prefer to have female nurses and courts have ruled that hospitals have the right to hire women over men because of their gender (LeMoult).

Approximately 5.4% of the 2.1 million R.N.s employed in nursing in the United States are men, according to the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted in March 1996 by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Today, things are a little different. Physicians have come to realize that nurses are much smarter than given credit for years ago. Nurses are now moving into higher management roles and are more educated than in the past.” (Chung).

Today, the existing nursing staff faces problems due to the shortage of staff. They have to work overtime and long hours. This not only put their personal life into trouble but also put the patients at serious risk. Patient safety is a top priority for all physicians, nurses and other health care workers (healthsmart). However, error is always a possibility, especially with medications and particularly with the nurses who have to work more than 12 hours on an average. Such kind of medication administration errors can threaten patient and are a dimension of patient safety which is directly linked to nursing care (Stratton, et al. 385-392).

Although nurses compose the largest single group of health care professionals, only a few studies have addressed the effect of long shifts on their performance. As study by Wagner and others said that there are three major reason for shortage of nurses this include shortage of hospital nurses, faculty shortage, and a shortage of highly- trained nurses.  In addition, issues such as job burnout and dissatisfaction with the current working nurses also add to these problems (Wagner et al.). If more and more men are encouraged to enter the field of nursing such problems of shortages and stress on existing staff would reduce tremendously.

Today, with the increasing pressure on the nursing staff, it is estimated that first-year retention rates for new graduate nurses is only between 40% and 65%. In terms of numbers as many as 6 out of 10 new nursing grads leave nursing practice within one year of graduation (Rosebrough). And studies have indicated that one of the main reasons for them to leave the profession is the workplace violence they experience particularly in the initial years of their practice. It is important that in order to make a real difference in the nursing field, stringent laws need to be enforced.

As nursing career offers an exceptional combination of job security and excitement, there are also plenty of opportunities for career advancement. For instance this profession gives opportunity from high-paying nurse executive and nurse practitioner positions to high-status research positions as nurse scientists. Additionally, nursing careers especially in the military provide opportunities to perform heroic efforts on the battlefield. Incidences such as the 9/11 attacks call for more and more influx into this prestigious profession of nursing.

Today, it is important to overcome the persistent—and outdated—stereotypes of nursing as a strictly female profession. The nursing profession is working hard to dispel these old misconceptions and make up for lost time. Today nursing school faculty and male nursing leaders are developing innovative, stereotype-busting recruitment strategies in the hopes of ultimately making the number of men in nursing more comparable to the number of women.

Finally, it can be said that the modern day society need more men and more people from varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds in nursing because the patients and the number of people requiring their service is growing.  While physicians take care of a patient’s physical well being, nurses play important roles of consolers, comforters and counselors. Patients are more comfortable to share their true feelings with a nurse than their physicians. As a nurse provides care to patients, nurses are perhaps the best friend of a patient. In general, what nurses actually bring about is an ability to help identify the health care needs of the patients and families in communities.
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