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NOW HIRING MEN

By: Greg Houselander


Student Number: 100695767
April 12, 2018
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A profession that consists of wearing pajamas, working three days per week with
flexible shift times, job security, and health benefits would seem impossible to overlook for
most people, but, apparently this isn’t the case for men when it comes to the nursing
profession. So, the question must be asked. Where are we going wrong? In Ontario, men
comprised only 5.2% of the nursing workforce in 2008 and accounted for 8.2% in 2017 (College
of Nurses of Ontario, 2017). Like many professions, nurses should be a representation of the
communities they serve and encouraging more men to be nurses would be good for the
profession because it will: help close the gender wage gap; help to remove gender stereotypes
of male nurses; and could be a solution to the nursing shortage forecasted by 2020.

An hourly rate much lower than male dominated healthcare positions may be one of the
reasons why men don’t give much consideration to a career in nursing. “Men in the lowest-rung
health jobs, like the nursing assistants who change patients’ sheets and help them bathe,
earned 10 percent less than men in blue-collar jobs (Dill, Price-Glynn, & Rakovski, 2016).”
Historically the “work done by women simply isn’t valued as highly (Miller, 2016).” A study
shows that, “when women enter fields in greater numbers, pay declines — for the very same
jobs that more men were doing before (Miller, 2016).” Because women make up approximately
90% of the nursing workforce, this has caused the salaries of nurses to be lower than they
would be if a majority of men held this same job. It is interesting to note however, that men in
jobs like nursing or teaching appear to glide up to higher pay and management positions on a
“glass escalator (Dishman, 2015).” This phenomenon is apparent in the statistic that “male
nurses earn an average of $5,100 more than their female counterparts (Dishman, 2015).” While
this statistic shows that gender wage gaps still exist even within the nursing profession itself, an
influx of men into the field would help change the view that nursing is not only the work of
women, and the subsequent wage increases would be beneficial to female nursing staff. “The
gender pay gap would shrink if men moved into female-dominated jobs and vice versa (Hu,
2018).”
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Many men are hesitant to explore a career in nursing because it is considered a pink-
collar job and carries many stigmas calling into question their masculinity. “A recent study into
gender issues in nursing has found male nurses are being stereotyped both outside and within
the profession as homosexuals, low achievers and feminine-like (American Society of
Registered Nurses, 2018),” and ‘stereotyping them as homosexuals exposes them to
homophobia in the workplace (American Society of Registered Nurses, 2018).’ I have witnessed
this type of stereotyping myself. In most other professions, we, as a culture, do not associate
sexuality to the task being performed. But, in nursing, there seems to be a need to attach the
label of ‘sexy’ nurse for women, and the ‘homosexual’ nurse for men. By achieving a more
gender-balanced nursing profession, these stigmas for both men and women will, most likely,
disappear.

By 2030, people over the age of 65 in Canada will account for 25% of the country’s
population (Parkinson, McFarland, & McKenna, 2015). At the same time, Registered Nurse (RN)
registration, according to the College of Nurses of Ontario, has dropped 23% from 2010 to 2015
(Dubé, 2016). Although efforts have been made to address the shortfall, the Canadian Nurses
Association estimates that by the year 2022 we will have a national shortage of as much as
60,000 RN’s (Chachula, 2018). Historically, we have ignored 50% of potential nursing students,
that group being men, and ensuring that they are welcome into the profession, is perhaps the
only chance of bridging the shortfall.

It will take many years to remove stigmas men face in the nursing profession,
help close the gender wage gap that has been assigned to ‘women’s work’, and bridge the
projected shortfall of practicing nurses but, we can start to make a difference by shifting our
attitudes towards men who practice nursing. It is an honourable profession. Will you encourage
your son to be a nurse?
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Bibliography
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Chan, D. (2018, April 1). Aging boomers highlight need to bring more men into caregiving
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