The nursing profession is a female-dominated career, and men who choose to become nurses often face criticism. According to "Nurses Education Today," only about 5 per cent of nurses in the U.S. were male, as of 2002. Nurses are automatically assumed to be female. This is evidenced by the term "male nurse" that is frequently used to refer to men in nursing.
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Nurses are typically depicted as female in movies and on television programs. Men who are nurses are often viewed as less masculine and weaker than other men. Sometimes the assumption is made that male nurses are men who were unable to get accepted into medical school. For these reasons, nursing schools have difficulty recruiting and retaining men in their programs. Male nurses also report lower job satisfaction rates compared with female counterparts.
Patient interactions can be both negatively and positively affected by the gender of a nurse. Nurses provide personal care to patients, often involving exposure of intimate body parts. Female patients in particular might be uncomfortable with a male nurse providing this type of care. On the other hand, patients sometimes view men as more authoritative and might be more compliant with treatment administered by a man.
Research shows that male nurses often feel discriminated against by females in the workplace based on their gender. Male nurses report that they are frequently treated poorly by female co-workers and supervisors as well. These issues lead to lower job satisfaction rates and higher incidence of resigning among male nurses. However, male nurses and female co-workers report that their perception is that male nurses get more respect from physicians -- particularly male physicians.
Significantly fewer men are in nursing school than women. This is largely attributed to the stereotypical view of women as nurses. Nursing textbooks fail to discuss prominent male nurses from history. Males who enrol in nursing programs often drop out, reporting that they feel isolated based on their gender. Some men in nursing schools report that they are treated differently -- talked down to -- by their female classmates and by professors as well.
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