Stereotypes of Men in Nursing

Written by Anthony (AJ) Paterson, Year 3 Mental Health Nursing Student

I woke in bed one morning and with my hazy eyes I opened twitter to scroll though and what catches my eye, a blog about males nursing on the Hull nursing society’s page. As I read this beautifully written blog it got me thinking. The blog navigated the views of a male in the role of a nurse and that they found it very good but understood the biases that male nurses can face in a mainly female dominated profession. The author had not seen any negative issues toward himself and I myself have not in my 15 years as a support worker and my nearing 3 years of Mental Health nursing.

Now I am a happily married homosexual man (I would call myself gay) and normally I don’t voice LGBTQ+ issues or opinions as I keep myself to myself, but this got me thinking is some of the preconceived ideas about male nurses due to society thinking as it’s seen as a female dominant profession and the male nurses being seen to be gay men. Now I do appreciate that understanding and acceptance are changing, and men and women perceptions of job roles are changing but we do still have enough of the society still within the thinking “oh a male nurse”, “are you gay”. As fast as culture is changing do, we need to promote denomination of male nurses – straight, gay, transgender etc.

So, I did some digging and found that there is a perception that “male nurses are gay”, “nursing is not a manly profession”. On the other hand, one article said that some people believe males become nurses to see women naked but funnily enough, have not said this about homespun nurses. 

An image that has been set for people in media and teaching of Florence Nightingale, a female nurse, as the image of nursing for some people, we need to highlight male nurses to strengthen the idea in society and normalise this to more people.

Positives seen is having a male nurse is a bonus as some male patients would prefer a male to a female. Male nurses who identify as straight say they love their job and are strait but happily work alongside their colleges who identify as homosexual.

One last point of view I found it has been said that male nurses generally become mental health nurses and most identified as straight and that seems to be the accept norm in mental health nursing. This is funny for me as I am gay and doing mental health, so I don’t fit a stereotype which is funny when you think about it.

Males in the profession should trend set and be proud of being a male nurse regardless of gender and sexual orientation, Male or female we are all registered on the NMC as a Nurse not male or female nurse.

In the nursing times they have said-

“Until the barriers that prevent men from entering the profession cease to exist, it seems unlikely that the gender imbalance is likely to be reversed any time soon.”

I believe we are an ever-changing profession, and it may take 10 maybe 20 more years but we will say a nurse is nurse regardless of orientation and gender, but I suppose times will change but it does take time.

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