Think of a nurse in your mind and you'll always picture a woman regardless of whether you are a male or a female and statistics also state that there is a massive lack of male nurses in the industry. Women have been outnumbering men in nursing for generations and today about nine to one across the world and the male ratio is even smaller in some countries.
Men face gender bias in the nursing industry
A lot of people think that men who choose nursing must be severely unmasculine or there is always a question mark on their sexuality, and though there have been some efforts to increase the number of male nurses, there still continues to be very few of them in hospitals. Although there are men who see it as a stable and rewarding job, there is still a long way to go in the perception of them. Due to this, men also face gender bias like the male nurses of the Indian army where "Combat male nurses have been in the Army since 1966. We get trained in the same school. But we are commissioned as Junior Commissioned Officers, while women are commissioned as officers," said one anonymous male nurse. An occupation which is severely female-dominated is denying men of equal status, wages and even allowances and sources reveal that male nurses have been denied what is rightfully theirs despite petitioning authorities repeatedly.
There is a lot of stigma associated with male nurses
However, there are many male nurses in India who are breaking stereotypes, like Akhil from the small district of Kallara, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala who has been in the service for the last seven years and has helped deliver 13 children inside homes, in an ambulance and even on the road. Even though he has faced a lot of backlash for his work, he continues to do it because he finds so much fulfillment in it. He says, "There is a stigma associated with this, there have been cases where the pregnant women refused to let me examine them. In some cases, while the woman was willing to, the people around her have refused," he said. There is a lot of stigma in India surrounding male nurses and this needs to change if healthcare in India has to improve and make waves in terms of gender parity.
Image credit: UC San Francisco