Its a fact that in our country Nigeria not to mention across the world, the Nursing Profession is seen as a female-dominated world. But this is changing, as more males join the profession at a ratio of sometimes 5:2 (females:males). Nonetheless, we are witnessing men penetrating the nursing industry as the years go by, though we still face certain stereotypes every once in a while.
Although we can be as caring and reliable as our female counterparts, male nurses still struggle to break some of these misconceptions.
When you check the web for pictures of Nurses or who a nurse is, you always get the face of nursing as being that of a female. If you search some more you might get one with a single male backed up by his female colleagues. Yes We all know that Florence Nightingale and the rest who founded the nursing profession were female and members of the public have been oriented to the particular idea that a ‘nurse’ is a compassionate female wearing white uniform, white nursing cap or dressed in scrubs.
This is an image of Nursing that has been propagated across social and print media in Nigeria and across the world. Not to mention ads from organizations and some platforms who never use pictures of smartly dressed young nurses in scrubs it has to be old some times tired looking nurses dressed in the old nursing uniforms with white caps on their heads.
Sometimes I stop and think to myself, I can’t really blame them because this is all they seem to know about the Nursing profession. If you have to visit any of our schools of nursing you would find out that about 90-95% of the populace of the school is made up of females from classmates to clinical instructors, lecturers and heads of the school or department.
But no matter how small the population of men are in the profession we are slowly proving to the world that gender will never be an issue and that we would fight to break any existing stereotypes and moulds we are being cast into by members of the public, from Men in Nursing Like Alh Faruk Abubakar, Nurse Jude Chiedu, Nurse Ogundare Johnson, Nurses Olaniyan Abiola, Nurse Kelvin Ossai, to Nurses Dessy, Aghedo, Osagie, Odunayo, Opakunle, Lionel, Tunde (Prof T) amongst many others too numerous to mention.
You might ask, what exactly are these stereotypes? Some are:
1. Most, if not all, male nurses experience unfair treatment from time to time. These include being looked down upon by some "You Know Who's" and colleagues in the healthcare settings, being unwanted in the maternity ward, and friends as well as family members asking the never-ending question “Why aren’t you a doctor?” OR "You should have read medicine!".
2. Some patients prefer female nurses bacause they believe that female nurses are more approachable, caring, and less threatening or sometimes for religious reasons.
Yes, sometimes you can't blame some of these patients because lets face it if im a guy and im stuck in a hospital bed, and given the option of a male nurse or female taking care of me, id go with the ladies. Male nurses, on the other hand, are commonly mistaken as "You Know Who's" (who should be approched except for a very good reason) and someone who is too intimidating to be approaced. But that is just one side of a male nurse.
3. People usually believe that men should do a “man’s job”.
Men are free to choose the path that they want to take in life. They can be a nurse or a hairdresser, house husband, tailor, or whatever they want to do. It will all lead to the fact that life is all about choices and fulfillment will never be achieved if we are too concerned about societal pressures and stereotypes. Besides, being a nurse means having the ‘heart’ to serve and doesn’t put mush importance to one’s sexuality.
4. Male nurses usually suffer from a case of “mistaken identity”; they are usually mistaken as a doctor, womanizers or just one of the “cleaners”.
For the record, not all male nurses are Doctors (MD) though we do have some with Ph.D's (Dr), not all are playerz (although I admit I know some to be truthful), not all male health professionals wearing white uniforms or scrubs in hospitals who lift patients or push wheelchairs (although this is actually an edge for male nurses given the body strength that they have) are “cleaners”.
5. People tend to think that male nurses are "RUDE" and cannot be worked with.
If it seems I am rude because I know what my job entails and what it doesnt and I stick to that irrespective of any other persons directives. Then I guess you can call me rude.
We see scenerios across the country where some of our female colleaguesare expected to sweep and mop the hospital grounds, fetch water and operate the generating sets when power goes out while in uniform and some of them do so without question. Or standing up from your seat when and if you know who's step into a room as the God of Thunder Thor or Odin) that they are. While male nurses have been known to question such directives and never perform them while asking what the job of the porters, cleaners and security men were or state the fact that respect is reciprocal (if our matrons or superiors enter a room where you and yours are seated, then they should also stand up).
Although some of these false assumptions occur in the hospital every once in a while, I know that at the end of the day, compassion and unconditional care for patients will still be the components of what we know as a NURSE.
Let’s all remember that Nursing is all about care, love, and compassion. That, in the end would definately defy all stereotypes.
Compiled By Avalon
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