Forget About the Stigma: Male Nurses in the Field

Sophie Freeman, Photo Editor

When one hears the word “nurse,” they will probably picture a woman. When one hears the word “doctor,” they will probably picture a man. More often than not, male nurses are mistaken for doctors, solely based on the fact that they are male. Since nursing has become a female dominated career, stigma has developed around male nurses.

This stigma I am talking about needs to be addressed. In our society, males are not fully accepted as nurses because people subconsciously associate nursing as a female occupation. This has also become a fast-growing topic in the medical world. More articles have been published about it and more male nurses have spoken out about their struggles in the field. Recently, I read an article about a male nurse practitioner who has been mistaken for a doctor. I find it hard to comprehend why male nurses and male nurse practitioners are often mistaken for doctors or surgeons, but I admit I have contributed to this stigma by making assumptions and stereotyping nurses.

Nursing is an important job and unfortunately only 13% of nurses in the United States are men. I believe that more should be done to expand gender roles to make it less “unusual” for men to go into the nursing field. Many men are afraid to share they have taken on a career traditionally considered for feminine roles. There was an interesting quotation in the article I read from a male nursing graduate. He said, “When my wife told her grandfather that I graduated from nursing school, he just laughed.” I found this disappointing and upsetting. Men should not be ridiculed for pursing a job that is crucial in the medical world.

As a future nursing student, I have so much respect for the males who chose to apply to nursing school. Because of them, society moves closer to eradicating this stigma for good.