Sexism against Male Nurses
“In the field of nursing, men appear to be discriminated against. “While more men are entering the nursing profession, the field is still dominated by women (Wojciechowski 2016).” This is also supported by the Department of Labor statistics and the United Census Bureau which shows there are 2 million registered nurses in America; of that total, only 10 percent are men. This may be because our society is discriminating against men in the nursing profession. Patients may be prejudiced by traditional female and male roles.
Research is pointing to this problem as ambivalent sexism. Ambivalent sexism is defined as a theory that sexism towards women is multidimensional.
How it works
In my personal experience, when I am having an annual exam and a man walks into the room, I assume he is the doctor, not the nurse. That is my own personal bias jumping to a conclusion. Nevertheless, my research has shown that there are studies that point to this first reaction as being common. Sociologists and psychologists have studied ambivalent sexism and its two subcategories: hostile and benevolent. Hostile sexism is reflecting negative views of women who challenge traditional gender roles. Benevolent sexism is reflecting positive views of women who conform to these roles.
Together, these forms of sexism can create societal prejudices against men in the nursing profession. Male nurses are not viewed as compassionate, caring, and loving caregivers, whereas female nurses are; this is an example of benevolent sexism. Gender roles in society suggest men to be decisive, resilient, and bread winners not the homemaker, house wife, or caregiver which is the societal gender role of women.
Male nurses as compassionate caregivers go against societal norms; this is an example of hostile sexism. Sometimes, this leads to intentional or unintentional discrimination upon male nurses. For instance, male patients prefer female nurses over male nurses because the patients feel they would be “homosexual” for letting another man look at their body.
Research has shown economically many manufacturing professions are decreasing at an alarming rate. This leads to the growth of nursing occupations. The nursing profession is a growing lifestyle for many nurses including male nurses. Nursing is an accountable lifestyle where there are always occupations available, with benefits of a sustainable pay wage. “Even though men are a minority, they are all paid more than women (Miller; Fremson. January 4, 2018.) This case may be true, but male nurses still face difficulties in their careers.
At some clinics and hospitals if they are hiring new nursing positions sometimes if the applicant is a male, they don’t even consider the application. Research has shown these facilities do this because they are mostly staffed with females which allows the personal to be more serene working with each other.
Societal messages regarding men in the nursing profession seem to support the theory of male nurse prejudice at a common level. I am not surprised because I thought the same way until I read sociological research explaining why I have formed my opinions. Women are traditionally the caregivers not men. I was not aware of how I was discriminating against male nurses at a subconscious level.”