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5 Nursing Stereotypes Debunked

Hamsa Ramesha | NursingLink

nursing is a female profession

1. Nursing is a Female Profession

If ever there was one profession to undermine masculinity, nursing is definitely it. While the term “nursing” originally described new mothers breastfeeding their children, the definition eventually expanded to those who cared for the ill and disabled. And the role of caring for the sick was never limited to one gender.

History tells us that religious groups, priests, nuns, and nannies took on nursing roles. However, the stereotype does have a grain of truth: Nurses were predominantly women in wartime, when men were absent from the workforce. World War I and World War II gave women in general more opportunities to advance, with nursing being one of the more socially acceptable jobs available.

In fact, it was only in the late 19th century when female nurses became organized, shutting males out. The Nurses Associated Alumnae of the U.S. and Canada had their first meeting in 1898 and later became the American Nurses Association in 1917; no men were allowed until 1930. In 1901, the U.S. Army Nurse Corp. allowed only women to enter as nurses, which didn’t change until after the Korean War.

Yes, today’s nurses are mostly women. In fact, women outnumber men by a 16-to-1 ratio, according to a national registry. But the stereotype of limiting nursing as a career choice to one gender does everyone a disservice. As of 2004, men made up an estimated 5.8 percent of nearly 3 million registered nurses in the U.S. — and this percentage is expected to continue growing (National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

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