With diminishing mortality rates globally, there comes an increased need for long-term health services, and nursing continues to be an integral part of long-term care. Particularly in the US, Nursing jobs happens to be one of the fastest growing professions. With approximately half a million jobs likely to be created for nurses, there seems to be a probable shortage of nurses in the future. In fact, Nursing care was primarily provided by men well into the nineteenth century.
It was when Florence Nightingale, who was herself a pioneer of modern nursing set up nursing training institutions targeting women and men were barred from an admission that gradually contributed to the decline and invisibility of male nurses post 1930.
But, the situation is set to change soon, and men can and should no longer be kept away from this noble profession. But there is a clear shortage there.
In the USA alone out of the 4 million nurses, only a little above three hundred thousand are male nurses. This number is a little overwhelming because historically, both men and women have worked as nurses and it was only after the civil war that women have started dominating the profession.
In India also the situation is quite similar. As in 2017, India was short of 1.94 million nurses, according to an IndiaSpend report of the data collected from the Indian Nursing Council (INC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Although there are some pockets in India where male nurses are breaking into the so called “women dominated profession”, the light at the end of the tunnel is still shaky. There could be a variety of reasons for the lower percentage of men in the nursing profession in India. These could be:
- a) There may be fewer seats available for men in nursing
- b) Even fewer men may be actually applying for these courses
- c) Social stigma factors may be stopping men from joining this profession, or
- d) Male nurses employed in hospitals might be assigned more administrative and lesser patient-care duties.
Maharashtra Nursing Council (MNC) had witnessed a rise in male registrations for nursing jobs from 2013 to 2016, almost doubling the amount from 597 to 1038 between the two years. So, this is an optimistic update. Moreover, according to a report from 2016 provided by MNC, there are more than 7000 male nurses working in both public and private sectors across Maharashtra.
More and more men are now choosing a career in nursing jobs and those who have nurses in their friends or family are more now considering this as a viable career option. Men employed as professional nurses have begun to identify the job security therein, along with a reasonably good salary as their external motivators. Some have also reported a certain amount of personal fulfilment and satisfaction in caregiving.
The result is bound to be good. A diverse population needs an equally diverse nursing staff. Underlying discrimination needs to be addressed and stereotypes need to be changed. Only then can there be more male nurses in the nursing jobs profession.