Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

Males make up about 5% of all RNs working in the United States today” (Poliafico). Nursing is a profession in the health care field that concentrates on the nurturing care of individuals. The United States currently lacks testosterone (the male hormone) in the nursing field. The subject is something many people have thought about at least once in their lives. Some may argue nursing is a career meant for a woman, while others may argue it is a non-gender specified career option. Either way, the world has come to accept the lack of men in nursing. The nursing profession should be for both men and women, but society puts a stereotype on the ‘average nurse’ preventing men from being accepted into this career. Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

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A male nurse is considered a “valuable man” (Craig). Men currently are looked down on in the nursing profession due to many different beliefs. While it’s true in some, if not a very rare few, these beliefs are what make the nursing profession for men uncomforting and discouraging. It is believed many male nurses are gay and because of this lack the acceptance they look for. Another belief is that men have an inappropriate ‘sexual’ behavior. They must be careful when caring (touching) for a patient in any way. Men are highly subject to accusations and it makes it almost impossible for a male nurse to perform his job to the fullest (Evans). Male nurses are not typically encouraged by the society we live in today. Men are not in favor of being called nurses and maybe would have a bit more encouragement if the caregiver word would simply be changed from ‘nurse’ to ‘medic’ (Gorgos). Just the change in title can make a positive difference to both men and women in the nursing field. Men and women enter the nursing career with the same goals and interests; but are still yet separated by the name ‘nurse’ and ‘male nurse’ (Kouta). Eddie Hebert a 35-year nursing veteran claims that the caregiver one usually pictures a white woman. This image is being projected into the American public. He believes that, “Caregiving is not feminine; it’s universal.” The lack of men in nursing though is, “a result of cultural stereotypes and image” (Gorgos). Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

During the last decade it was predicated that there
would be a massive nursing shortage due to the high percentage of baby boomers that would retire. This nursing
shortage was somewhat alleviated because of the 2008
recession when many of these baby boomers did not retire
and leave the nursing profession.
In 2014, the job prospective for new graduate
nurses continues to be grim, and this may imply that it is
not necessary to continue to increase the number of new
nurses. The American College of Nursing suggests that
this strategy does not take into consideration factors such
as: the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections
2012-2022 that the total number of nursing job openings
would be 1.05 million by 2022, (American Association of
Colleges of Nursing). In addition, an analysis performed
by Staiger, Auerback, and Buerhaus (2012) on the RN
workforce model suggests that between 2010 and 2015
there will be an increase in the RN’s employment as the
economy improves and the baby boomer population retires. It is inevitable that the “demand for health care is
expected to increase, as an estimated 32 million additional
Americans obtain health insurance coverage” (Staiger,
Auerback, and Buerhaus, 2012, p. 1465).Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay
In response to the anticipated nursing shortage,
men can fill the void of the potential nursing shortage. Men
continue to be a minority in the nursing profession although
small increases in their representation have occurred in the
last seven years. The Census (2006) report indicated that
men only constituted 7% of the United States workforce in
nursing. National Council of State Boards of Nursing found
Men in Nursing: Their Influence in
a Female Dominated Career
By Susan Barrett-Landau, Ed.D, MS, ANP/FNP, RN-BC;
and Sharon Henle, Ed.D, MS, ANP, RHIA, CNE, RN
that men account for 7% of the RN workforce. A survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2013 found
that men now comprise 9.6% of all RNs (Census Bureau’s
Industry and Occupation Statistics, 2013). Recruiting men
would be a viable way to increase the number of registered
nurses and to promote a more diverse population of nurses
in the workforce.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay
Until recently, many occupations were traditionally
classified according to gender. People held a set of expectations concerning whether or not specific employment positions required masculine or feminine qualities to fulfill them.
These perceptions have changed considerably in the recent
past, especially as they relate to the role of females in American society. More and more women are now found in formerly
male-dominated employment positions, such as trades and
professions. However, little change in gender representation
has occurred as it relates to female-dominated employment,
and no field better exemplifies the situation than that found in
the field of nursing (Meadus & Twomey, 2011). According to
the Census Bureau’s Industry and Occupation Statistics
(2013), men represented 9% of registered nurses and at that
time men’s average salary was $60,700 as opposed to women
who earned $51,100 per year.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay
11Fall, 2014 Journal for Leadership and Instruction
Family Involvement
McLaughlin, Moutray, & Moore (2010), found that
entry into nursing for men is often pre-dated by familial involvement in professional nursing, where moral support,
often critical in their decision making, is often found. Unless their role identity is supported by a significant other or
group in their social environment, men do not choose nursing as a nursing career choice (Cook-Krieg, 2011). Difficulty
in conforming to role expectations among potential male
nurses may be alleviated by the support of friends and relatives. Acquaintances and family relations generally have
mixed feelings while most fathers are opposed to their sons
becoming a registered nurse (Pham, 2011).
History of Nursing
Through the efforts of Florence Nightingale in the
mid-nineteenth century, nursing was established as a
women’s profession (Hus, Chen & Lou, 2010).
Nightingale’s image of the nurse as subordinate, nurturing,
domestic, humble, and self-sacrificing, as well as not too
educated, became prevalent in society. The American Nursing Association ostracized men from nursing until 1930,
when as a “result of a bylaw amendment, provision was
made for male nurses to become members of the American Nurses’ Association” (In Review – American Nurses’
Association, p. 6). Looking back in nursing history, Florence
Nightingale, and the American Nursing Association ostracized men from the nursing profession Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

You are walking down the street, minding your own business, when suddenly you see someone collapse to the ground. They are unresponsive, not breathing. Do you perform CPR? No doubt you like to think that you would. But what if the unlucky person was a woman? The question may seem redundant, but unfortunately it is not: a study this month found that women are less likely than men to get CPR from a bystander, and are more likely to die.

The research, funded by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, found that only 39% of women who have a cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR, versus 45% of men. Men were 23% more likely to survive and one of the study leaders, Benjamin Abella, speculated that rescuers may worry about moving a woman’s clothing, or touching her breasts. One idea mooted was more realistic-looking practice mannequins to account for the female torso.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

Fear of touching women’s chests may be barrier to giving CPR, researchers say
Read more
It is hard to know what to make of the research, or where to place it in the panoply of ways in which women get short shrift. Medical care – which, at its essence, is about keeping people alive – should, of course, be free of gender bias. Naturally, however, it is not.

This is not to discount the ways in which men fare badly within the system, particularly when it comes to mental health. Race and poverty also feed into bias in healthcare – both huge topics in their own rights. But there is no shortage of ways in which women are discriminated against in medicine. This is evident throughout history, from Aristotle’s distinction between the superior male “form” and inferior female “matter”, to the medieval idea that women (“leaky vessels”) were unbalanced due to their wombs. In antiquity, doctors recommended marriage as a cure for female psychological disorders, and the Victorians had an unfortunate habit of committing women to asylums, regardless of evidence of mental illness. Today, while female GPs outnumber male ones (52% to 48%), 55% of registered medical practitioners are male. And the majority of specialists – 66% – are men.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay


For patients, the stereotype runs thus: men are less aware of health problems than women, less attuned to symptoms and they don’t visit the doctor as often as women. In other words, men are silent stoics; women hysterical hypochondriacs. There is evidence for this, to an extent – government statistics published in 2010 showed that women were more likely than men to say they were in poor health, but less likely to die over the following five years.

But this does not explain what happens to women when they genuinely need treatment. In 2001, University of Maryland academics Diane Hoffman and Anita Tarzian published , an analysis of the ways gender bias plays out in clinical pain management. They examined several previous studies, including one that indicated women are more likely to be given sedatives for their pain and men given pain medication, and concluded that women were more likely to be inadequately treated by healthcare providers. Several authors attribute this to “a long history within our culture of regarding women’s reasoning capacity as limited”, the paper noted.

‘For so many years I was told the pain was in my head.’
‘For so many years I was told the pain was in my head.’ Photograph: Sedgwick-Jones.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay
In the 16 years since the paper was published, has anything changed? Probably not, says Tarzian, a programme coordinator at the University of Maryland’s school of law. “Every time you think things have changed, you look at the news and you think, ‘Hmm, maybe they haven’t.’ It still happens because that attitude people have towards gender is so inherent it’s hard to even be aware of – it’s subconscious.” Julia Buckley, a freelance journalist, can attest to this. Having had chronic pain since her teens, she was dismissed by doctors, told by a dentist she was “making it up” and, when she asked for physiotherapy on her arm so she could return to work, she was told to wait for a year, because she had already had physio on her leg. “I was gaslighted,” she says. “I don’t think I would have been treated that way if I were a man, and the psychological turmoil I was put through made everything worse.” She was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited condition that affects connective tissue, five years ago, aged 31, and has written a book about her experiences, Heal Me: In Search of a Cure, which is out in January. “Women need to be pushier, and not revere doctors so much,” she says. “I respect doctors, but they’re not infallible.” Tarzian agrees. The traditional medical system disadvantages women, who, unlike men, are socialised to question themselves, she says: “There’s an extra value for women to trust their instincts.”


Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis. One in 10 women suffer from the disease, but it takes, on average, seven to eight years to be diagnosed. Emma Cox, the chief executive of the charity Endometriosis UK, says that unless women with the disease are trying to conceive, they are often overlooked by doctors. “The attitude is that women are there to have babies,” she says.Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

It took Kaye Sedgwick Jones, a freelance illustrator and designer from Kent, more than 12 years to be diagnosed. In pain and seeking help, she was told by one doctor: “‘It’ll be better when you’ve had a baby’ … which, when you’re 13, is a weird thing to be told,” she says. When she was finally diagnosed, at age 25, her first reaction was “sheer anger. I was livid. For so many years I was told the pain was in my head.”Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

‘Listen to women’: UK doctors issued with first guidance on endometriosis
Read more
In September, new guidelines were published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), in a bid to speed up diagnosis of endometriosis. Nice added that the NHS must “listen to women”.

Sedgwick Jones, now 36, has decided not to have children, although she once wanted them. An earlier diagnosis, she says, could have made a difference. “I wasn’t taken seriously because I was a young woman,” she says. “I can’t imagine why it is still so difficult for a woman to walk into a GP’s office and say: ‘Help me, I’m in pain.’”

Dementia care is another area where women draw the short straw. In 2016, researchers at University College London found that women with dementia receive worse medical treatment than men with the condition. Namely, they make fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men. “We know very clearly what’s happening, but we can’t clearly explain why from that data,” said Dr Claudia Cooper, who led the study. One factor, she says, could be that women, who live longer than men, are more likely to be alone and thus less likely to have a primary carer to help them. “Two-thirds of people over 80 are women,” she says. “But they are the marginalised majority.”Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay

This is a big, unwieldy issue is a discussion that is perhaps too amorphous for some. Health charities the King’s Fund, the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, were all approached for comment for this article but failed to provide anyone to talk to.

For Buckley, gender bias in healthcare is an epidemic that needs to be addressed: “People are dying because they are female and doctors are blinded by their gender,” she says. “Don’t assume that women are hysterical. That’s quite basic. Treat everyone as a person.” Shortage of Men in Healthcare Essay


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