Oct 11, 2011, 3:11 PM, Posted by Brandon Echtenkamp
Brandon Echtenkamp is a New Careers in Nursing scholar, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
I would wager that any male who has contemplated a career in nursing has considered the stigma of it being a woman’s career. I certainly did before I began my nursing program. However, those thoughts were exceedingly transient in nature. After being exposed to the nursing world and being able to observe men first-hand in the nursing role, I could see that gender made no difference. Based on my experiences, female nurses have been incredibly open to sharing their nursing role with men. Men have become integrated into the field in such a way that it is becoming typical to see male nurses on most hospital units. Of course, as males, we are still the minority, but great strides are being made.
The patients I have had the pleasure of caring for throughout my clinical experiences as a nursing student have been generally accepting of a male nurse caring for them. The one exception to this would be during my mother/baby rotation where I was welcomed by patients as a nursing student, but subsequently turned down as a student caregiver upon the discovery of my male status. This was very frustrating to me as a nursing student eager to learn. However, these were only my experiences, and it seemed as though patients readily accepted other males in my nursing cohort, which gives me hope that this sort of discrimination is not a common occurrence and was more coincidental in my case.
Despite my setbacks in my mother/baby rotation, this has certainly not been the case in other areas of nursing. My presence has been well received by patients I have cared for. This is not to say that my being a male nursing student goes without scrutiny. Although welcomed by patients, they are often somewhat confused at seeing a male nurse.