Saturday, June 23, 2007

Nursing: It's a guy thing, too

I came across this interesting poster of male nurses that was used by the Oregon Center of Nursing in 2004 to recruit more men into the nursing field. Obviously, women have dominated the nursing field and largely outnumber male nurses. Studies in the U.S. reveal that there are only about 146,902 male nurses or just 5.4% of the total nursing population in that country.

Men in nursing is an intriguing area of study in the Philippines, where nursing has been historically defined as a domain of women. Studies of Philippine culture would show that caring for the sick and nursing the wounded have always been a job for the women. Men, on the other hand, do male chores like planting rice, fixing the house and drinking "lambanog" at the end of the day. It is the image of the Filipina mother that is more compassionate, more caring, and thus more capable of being a carer for the sick than Filipino men. Men were regarded as incapable of showing compassion and lacked a true caring attitude that nurses were supposed to have. The few men who ventured into the field of nursing in the past, especially before the 90's, were either called "soft" or "eccentric".

Increasingly, though, more men are going into nursing, not just here in the Philippines but also all around the world. A study on the number of male nurses employed in local hospitals and clinics would certainly open up new areas of research, but unfortunately, I haven't encountered one. I would certainly encourage others to pursue one just to know how cultural values have evolved with regard to the nursing profession.

As a male nurse, trying to make his own way into a field that has been the traditional empire of women, I would love to see more men going into nursing myself--not to compete with the other sex but only to debunk the age-old notion that men are meant only for war and do not have a caring side.

To reach more men with this message, however, another man has to convey it. It has to come from another man, that's why there's such a thing as a "man-to-man talk". To quote a line from the Web site: "Nursing is a great deal for men, but a man needs to hear that from another man. It's a guy thing." I agree.

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james85RN said...

WOW! Excellent site!
kuya, Congrats po!
keep up da gud work!
pls keep us updated of what's what....thaks po!

Beverly said...

Just to let you know that these statistics are about the same for Canada.
Approximately 5% of the nursing workforce is male.

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