Male Nurse Myths Debunked

Male Nurse with patient

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an episode of the TV show Switched about Mike Tyson the boxer trading lives with Mike Tyson the RN. While as entertaining as it was to see the famous boxer squirm when doing daily tasks as a nurse, it got me thinking about the many misconceptions about male nurses. So in this blog I am going to expose some of the most popular male nurse myths.

  • Nurses are female
    • The whole nursing population is not female. Male nurses are a minority in the profession, making up only 5.8% of the total nursing population. After doing some digging, I believe I have found the culprit of this myth. The term nurse stemmed from Latin and French roots. The term nurse was first used in English in the 13th century and its meaning was ‘”a woman who cares for and tends young children”. As the scope of nursing expanded so did the meaning but it wasn’t until the 18th century that the meaning stopped being gender specific.
  • All male nurses really wanted to be a doctor
    • One of the largest misconceptions about male nurses is that they really wanted to be a doctor. There was something that has stopped them from pursuing being a doctor so they settled on being a nurse. This is usually never the truth for male nurse. Many have always wanted to be in this profession for multiple reasons and have worked hard to be there.
  • Male nurses are not in touch with their feminine side
    • Due to the nature of the work a nurse must preform, taking care of and tending to the sick, it is thought that one has to have a maternal instinct to preform these tasks. I believe that being a nurse, you have to be in touch with not your maternal instinct but your parental instinct, which is has no gender barriers.
  • Once a man becomes a nurse he loses his “man card”
    • Male nurses have to be in touch with their nurturing side but that doesn’t make them any less manly. Nurses have a natural tendency to respond to helplessness or threat to life from disease or injury. This is very similar way to describe some of the manliest jobs.

Many have been trying to squash the myths of male nurses for years. In the league of male nurses is NFL player Nate Hughes. He is a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions and also happens to be a licensed Registered Nurse.  He even took a job as an on-call nurse during this summer’s lockout. While he was playing for Jacksonville he would often receive calls from his teammates asking to diagnose them. I’m sure that his new teammates will be doing the same shortly. Nate Hughes and all male nurses know that the spirit of nursing has no gender boundaries.


Related Articles and Sources:

Meet the Detroit Lions Wideout Who’s Also a Registered Nurse
Discover Nursing, Men in Nursing
Minority Nurse
Dose of Influence
My Strong Medicine