Though jobs in nursing are expected to increase faster than average, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is overwhelmingly made up of females. Only about five per cent of all nurses are male, mostly because of outdated stereotypes regarding the masculinity (or lack thereof) of men in nursing occupations. Being a minority in any workplace can be frustrating, but there are several advantages for male nurses.
Whether you are male or female, nursing is stable profession with many job opportunities and above-average salaries. The Occupational Outlook Handbook has the median annual wage for all registered nurses in 2008 at £40,592, while a 2008 article in the Fresno Bee says that with overtime hours and per-diem work, nurses can make more than £65,000 per year, and that because of this, the number of males in Fresno-area nursing schools has been rising (see references 1).
While many jobs are cutting back, nursing is expanding. Besides licensed practical/vocational nursing and registered nursing, there is a long list of nursing specialities which nurses can train for, including psychiatric and paediatric, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anaesthetist, which, according to Nursing Link, brings in a salary of £87,750 per year and is the highest-paying speciality in nursing (see references 2). Travel nursing is also a growing profession, which confers benefits like paid housing and transportation. While some male nurses have reported that they are seldom assigned to units like obstetrics or natal, males may be preferred for some kinds of jobs, such as those in psychiatric nursing, emergency room or intensive-care units, where there may be more of a need for strength.
Nursing can be stressful, but it can also be very exciting. Life-or-death situations happen every day, especially in hospitals. Nurses are not only involved but also are often the ones in the leadership positions. Some men do not entertain the idea of going into nursing because they think it will entail mostly sponge baths and feedings. According to an article on the website Minority Nurse, when the University of Pittsburgh's nursing school began stressing the nursing duties which went beyond bedside care, enrolments for male nursing students rose to sixteen per cent (see references 3).
Nursing is a noble profession, and in a 2009 Roy Morgan Research study, it was named the most honest and ethical profession-for the fifteenth year in a row (see references 4) While some male nurses have reported occasionally being asked if they weren't good enough to be a doctor, most nurses are treated with respect by both patients and the public. An article by Jim DeMaria in Scrubs Magazine also describes more respectful treatment by doctors as well, saying, "Being a male nurse truly gives us an advantage with dealing with most doctors." (see references 5)
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