Over recent years I have noticed fewer and fewer men choosing nursing as a career. In fact in my own speciality of Children’s Nursing we haven’t trained any men in training in Hull for a number of years now.
There is so much men can offer as a nurse that it would be terrible to see us disappear. Not only do we provide support and dignity for male patients, we are also positive role models for young men. We demonstrate that it is OK to be kind, caring, and compassionate and it not effect your worthiness as a man.
This is where I feel the problem lies. Over recent years there appears to be a polarisation of the gender paradigm.
Men are supposed to be strong and resourceful, providing a home and protection for their family. There is no room for care and compassion as they are too busy being strong. Care and compassion are female traits, and therefore should be avoided, for fear of being labelled as weak or even worse gay.
Were as women are encouraged to be kind, caring, nurturing and all things homely with no room for drive and determination. However we also expect women to be successful, clever and beautiful, but not pushy.
We expect men to be strong, but now we want them to be sensitive and in to be in touch with their feelings and share their worries but not be weak.
If we listen to the paradigms our society creates for us no wonder young people want to keep things simple and opt for the old view of male and female roles. Men become engineers and soldiers, women become teachers and nurses.
So with this in mind how do I present nursing to young men as a worthwhile career choice.
I have had some thoughts on this and it centres around looking at themselves first and their value base, along with their view of the world, and then challenging their possible view of nursing, including highlighting values they share with nursing. Hopefully providing a paradigm shift for a few in the room. But most of all encouraging those present to be comfortable with their view of the world and showing them that they do not have to feel shame if their view of the world does not comply perfectly with the impossible ideals our society imposes on us.
If I get 2 or 3 young men interested in nursing and create a debate I will be happy.