From the silly portrayals on TV to the punch lines made about Greg Focker, male nurses have to deal with their share of stereotypes, but some males majoring in nursing at Ohio State are not sure what the fuss is all about.
Many men who join the nursing field say they find the opportunities available far outweigh any jokes made at their expense.
Matt Freeman, a nurse practitioner and clinical instructor at OSU, said he believed many people underestimate the benefits of going into the nursing field.
"Nursing is very diverse," he said. "There are opportunities to work as registered nurses in emergency rooms, intensive care units, operating rooms, helicopters, you name it."
James Diaz, a senior in nursing, said the most common stereotypes in the media show nurses doing simple and almost "girlie" work, such as fluffing pillows and giving sponge baths.
"There is a lot more to nursing than some people give credit," Diaz said. "The media never helps by always placing this job into a feminine role."
This leads to another large misconception: nursing is only for females.
Jason Payne, a nurse practitioner and clinical instructor at OSU, said he does not understand why gender is a factor when people perceive the occupation. Payne said he believes nursing to be a complicated field requiring skills that can be met by males and females.
"Nursing is both an intellectual and technical profession," Freeman said. "It requires an extensive knowledge of science, strong organizational skills and the ability to think fast in emergencies."
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of male registered nurses in the United States. Up from 3.1 percent in 1986, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of registered male nurses was 5.6 percent at the end of 2005.
Cody Moyer, a sophomore in nursing, said he believes men in the nursing field have a promising future.
"I think more guys that want to get into some kind of medical field will realize that nursing has a lot of opportunities," he said. "There is a shortage in nursing right now, which means there will be jobs, and the pay is good too."
According to the College of Nursing, 10.5 percent of the current undergraduate students in nursing are male, compared to only 6.3 percent of the graduate students. This skewed distribution also spills into the faculty and staff members in the College of Nursing. According to the college's annual diversity report, only 5.5 percent of the faculty and graduate associates were men in 2006.
Moyer said he agrees that while each class may have one or two males present, the majority of classes in the college are and will remain dominated by women for a while.
According to Payne, the Buckeye Association of Men in Nursing was created at OSU to support male students in nursing. The group offers recruitment, scholarships and programs for other interests of men in nursing.
Freeman said he believes males will continue to get into the nursing field in the future.
"Once I tell guys what I do all day, how much money they can make and how much fun it can be, they realize that it's a great profession," he said.
While some stereotypes will always remain intact, Diaz said he is hopeful men in nursing will become more accepted.
"The main purpose of nursing is to help others," he said. "When it comes down to it, I don't think many people can say anything bad about that." source
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