Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Support for Male Nurses: Three Ways to Make a Positive Difference

One thing is certain: male nurses often don’t get very much respect. Popular movies and comedy routines have poked fun at men who choose nursing as a profession. For some unspecified reason, we’re culturally committed to the idea that men should be doctors and women should be nurses.

Clearly, this attitude is outdated. In light of the current nurse shortage, we should be doing everything within our power to encourage motivated individuals to enter the nursing profession. Men who are considering nursing as a career could benefit from social resources and scholarships specifically tailored for their needs.

Positive change can start from within. Here are some ways that current male nursing students and practicing nurses can improve their work environment:

1. Join The American Assembly for Men In Nursing.

Although this group is primarily focused on male nurses in the United States, the discussion forum and other resources could be useful for male nurses in Canada and the UK. Currently, only 3.1% of all nurses in the United States and Canada are men. Since male nurses are a minority group, they are less likely to find individuals at their workplace or educational institution who can directly relate to their unique perspectives. The American Assembly for Men In Nursing offers a forum for sharing these perspectives with other men.

Other than emotional support, the site also offers access to scholarships.

2. Start your own college club devoted to men in nursing.

Having an official club on campus will encourage more men to enter nursing as a profession. Undoubtedly, many men are intimidated by the prospect of being the only male in their graduating class. Knowing that there are other men in the program will go a long way to alleviate that concern. Also, having a presence on campus lends more credibility to you as a professional. If nothing else, creating a club gives you valuable leadership experience.


3. Work to raise awareness concerning the challenges faced by male nurses.

A quick perusal of online nursing forums quickly reveals a trend of sexual harassment and discrimination against male nurses. Some even say that they are considering leaving nursing as a profession. Sex-based discrimination knows no gender, and has a significant negative affect on the work experience of those targeted. Starting online groups, organizing on a local level with other male nurses, and generally ensuring that these problems aren’t swept under the rug are all good ways to promote a healthier work environment for everyone.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident education blogger and performs research surrounding College Scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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