What Will Be The Role of Males In Nursing Moving Forward?

If this is the first time you’ve come across me, let me introduce myself. My name is Kojo and I’m a male psychiatric RN. When I first started studying nursing, I had no idea what the future held for me. I definitely had no clue that I would go back to grad school to become a nurse practitioner, for example. I was one of the few men in my class, but it wasn’t a deterrent or barrier to getting ahead.

Nursing is commonly perceived to be a female profession. While men representation in the nursing field is low (around 10% in many Western countries), there is no inherent reason that makes nursing a more suitable job for women than men. While the numbers of men in nursing are still low, they have more than tripled over the last few decades. Many men now recognize nursing as a practical and desirable profession – one that is always in demand, can promise a steady paycheck right out of school, and has the possibility of continuing on into management positions. It is also a job with meaning for many – being able to help people.

While there is still a stigma attached to being a male nurse, there are also countless benefits – both for the practicing nurse and for the patients. Men nurses are still rare enough (and often assumed to be doctors) that it’s can be a topic of conversation and an ice breaker. It can also be something to bond over with other male nurses. But maybe most importantly, it’s a topic of interest with the patients themselves. A conversation between a patient and their healthcare provides can increase trust, which in turn can make the patient more relaxed and even improve treatment outcomes.

While the day to day job of being a nurse is the same whether you are male or female, there can be benefits to having a male nurse. Some might appear slightly superficial on the surface – like being able to do more heavy lifting (and in the case of a patient who might need assistance, that cannot be understated).

The main benefit of having more male nurses is the same reason all diversity is an advantage in the workplace. People from different backgrounds tend to bring fresh ideas and different ways of looking at a problem. With nursing, in particular, male nurses might be able to understand male patients better topics. A male patient might be more comfortable with a male nurse giving him a check-up than a female nurse.

Working in a profession that involves helping people – like nursing and also other professions like social work – strengthens empathy in men and shows that caring is not exclusive to women. From a young age, boys and girls are conditioned differently. Boys are more heavily discouraged to talk about their feelings. It is then taken for granted that women are “naturally better” at emotional labor – when really, they have been practicing since they were young. Our world is moving away from a heavily gendered and role defined world, where it was expected that men work outside the home while women worked at building the home and raising the children. More men are taking an active role in raising children. This move has a tremendously positive influence on men, women, children, and society as a whole.

I believe that in the future, more men will enter the nursing field. This will have a snowball effect – as more men join the profession, the stigma will naturally start to decrease and even more men will feel comfortable to choose nursing for themselves. Currently, 91% of male nurses say that they would encourage other men to pursue a nursing career.

In this video, I talk to a fellow male nurse. We talked about why we decided to go into nursing, the future of men in nursing, and other topics, such as the law of attraction.


How Long Should An RN Wait Before Going Back to Nurse Practitioner School?

For some, becoming an NP (nurse practitioner) is the next step from being a RN (registered nurse). Or others, it’s their goal all along. NPs can be independent providers, delivering both nursing and medical care. NPs can even open up their own clinics.

Many RNs – and even people who are still in school to be an RN – wonder how long they should wait before continuing to nurse practitioner school. As with most big career decisions, there are many considerations. I decided to make a video and write this post to help break down some of the factors that go into making this decision. Hopefully, it will help some of you decide what’s right for you.

There are two roads to becoming a nurse practitioner: getting a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree, or Doctor of Nursing degree. Sometimes, you need at least a year of experience working as an RN to be accepted. Some programs let you go straight to nurse practitioner school, without having to be first employed as a nurse. In those programs, as long as you are a Registered Nurse, you can continue the program. I think that can work as long as you dedicate yourself to working part-time to gain experience while you are in school. But if you know you want to be a nurse practitioner, why wait? One advantage is that the material is still fresh in your mind and you still have your study habits. Some people report difficulty in going back to school after a long time.

Some people say you should wait five to seven years before going back for nurse practitioner school. During that time, you should be working and gaining experience. Personally, I was working as a nurse for three and a half years before I continued on to grad school. This was necessary for me as I had an associate’s degree. I had to complete my studies to earn my Bachelor’s before I was able to continue on to grad school. That time was crucial to gain experience of things that can’t be learned from a book, such as how to talk to doctors and the best way to relay messages back and forth. I might not have had as much experience as others in nursing practitioner school, but what I learned was invaluable.

It’s important to look at work experience not just as a requirement set up by schools, but as a useful tool. As an NP, you will have a population focus. The more experience you have working in the field, the easier your decision in what to specialize in will be. Move around as much as you can to gain experience working in different areas. Personally, I worked in the ICU and then as a Psych nurse before becoming a nurse practitioner. Working in different places will help you get an idea of what you want to focus on and where you work best. It’s a great opportunity, so make use of it.

In addition, things like communication skills, leadership skills and seeing the in and outs of hospitals and different medical roles just can’t be learned from a book and memorized. Things like keeping a clear head and positive attitude during stressful times can only be learned from being in certain situations day-to-day. At the end of the day, you have to make the choice that feels right for you. I can talk about what worked for me – but I have no idea if a different path would have been better or worse. At the same time, different things work for different people. If some people say you should wait at least 5 years, but you feel ready after two – who is to say that is the wrong choice? Listen to your heart and follow the path that’s right for you. Check out the video for more on the topic.


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