Courtesy of my Google News feed this morning, I came across this, possibly the most boring headline ever written about nurses:
I think nurses of, ahem, uncertain age will recognize this headline or its variants, because for the last twenty years we’ve been hearing with tedious regularity about impending wave of nurses who happen-to-be-male about to wash upon the shores of our female-dominated profession. This tsunami of eager male graduates has never actually materialized: in the U. S. (the article points out) about 6% of nurses are male; in Canada, the numbers advanced from a miniscule 3.8 % of nurses in 1995 to a very tiny 5.89% in 2005.
I’ve always been somewhat puzzled why young men find the prospect of a nursing career so unappealing and distasteful. On the face of it, the practical reasons for choosing nursing as a profession are compelling: nursing offers good pay and benefits, job security, portability, advancement, and so on. Is it because nurses have difficulty clearly articulating what we do without jargonizing like an abstract of a scholarly article on nursing paradigms, or worse, sounding like very inferior and dependent versions of physicians? (I recently saw an article somewhere by a nurse, and darned if I can’t find it, which defined nursing as a primarily concerned with executing physician orders!) Or is it because popular culture presents our profession as trivial, infantile and powerless and nurses by-and-large collaborate in maintaining this image?
[Update: Minor grammatical correction. Gaw, I need an editor, ’cause can’t proofread and I miss the stupidest things.]