Balancing Act

I constantly hear that the lack of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is a huge problem that we must work to overcome. To a large degree, I support this view, but I always wonder if these rabid proponents think that it works both ways. Should we also be trying to increase the number of males in traditionally female-dominated professions, like Nursing?

Look at the facts_ Nurses are in high demand and well-compensated, with median salaries around 45k, and specialists making much more than that. The lack of males in the field can, in large part, be attributed to societal pressures that say what jobs a man can and cannot do. This closely mirrors the situation with females in STEM fields. So where are the male-only recruiting scholarships in Nursing? Shouldn't we be trying to break gender barriers in both directions?

I'm sure that this post is going to get me labeled misogynistic by some people, but I'm genuinely curious to hear responses.


Written by Christy -

In the 11 years I spent working critical care, I only worked with a few males nurses. There was definitely a perception that if you were a male nurse, you were most likely gay. I don't understand why this pereption exists. The male nurses I worked with were anything but gay. If you were to become a nurse practioner, you could easily make a six figure salary. There is nothing "girly" about working in the OR on an orthopedics team with huge power tools, in the ER in a trauma center, or in the Cardio-Vascular ICU where I worked to recover people who had just had their heart stopped with drugs, then had it manipulated by the surgeon to attach a graft, and then had it shocked to restart the pumping action. Too bad more males don't spend a week or so in situations like these to see that there really are "manly" jobs in the field of nursing. Unfortunatley I can see both males and females staying away from nursing just because the compensation doesn't outway the miserable hours--despite the shortage, you can't pick and choose your hours. Most nurse still have to work every other holdiay and at LEAST one weekend a month. It really messes with family life. Who wants to work on Christmas when you have kids? Staffing on the floors is so bad, a smart nurse would be fored to carry malpracatice insurance because you can be guaranteed to have more patients than you can reasonably care for. That's why I gave it up. School nursing is good, but hard to get. The pay is miniimal, but the hours are great---I'm off when my kids are and get all summer off too. I personally think it's the males that need to get over the fact that it's "womens work." Kudos to all the men I worked with. I certainly can't lift or roll a 300lb person by myself. I depended on them for things like that and they depended on us female nurses to take care of their female patients when they inevitably got vaginal infections from dirty urinary catheters. (More info than you wanted I'm sure)

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