In November 1854, Florence Nightingale, with a slew of volunteer nurses that she had trained, arrived to aid the wounded during the Crimean War. This incident catapulted women into the nursing industry and became a staple for many years to come.
But, the hiring of male nurses has been steady for the past 5 years at 11%. In the United States, approximately 13% of nurses are male, and it’s notably higher than the 2% scale back from the 1960s. It doesn’t seem like a big jump, but this gradual rise in number has left many optimistic for the future.
In the healthcare industry, nursing still remains as the largest group of workers as reported in last year’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report. In general, the demand for nurses is there, and whether female or male, the need for these healthcare providers is vital to assure competency and quality care in the medical field.
Why men should consider the nursing field
Today, religion still plays a big role in many communities, and their conservative traditions don’t allow for them to interact with the opposite sex. Though many think this only applies to women, this fact also applies to men. Not having a male nurse on standby may cause a lot of discomfort on the patient’s side.
The comfort of the patient
People who are confined to the hospital are never at their best and some men find that they can relax better with someone of the same gender. It’s an unavoidable tendency. By profession, nurses do not have gender bias regarding their patients, but that doesn’t always go both ways.
With the high demand for nurses, fresh nursing graduates find employment quickly. The idea of securing employment immediately after training has attracted the younger crowd. Also, the aging population is one of the reasons nursing services have grown in demand.
Great Wage Trajectory
Healthcare employment is said to add more jobs than other occupational groups in the coming years. With a projected growth of 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, the demand for nurses increases as the population grows older. Thanks to that, more job opportunities are opening for nurses.
Thanks to the resounding success of Florence Nightingale’s participation in the Crimean War, nursing has become a predominantly female-driven occupation. However, before Nightingale’s contribution, men have participated in all kinds of medical fields and now should be no different. Having male nurses ensures that male patients are well represented and that they get the needs that only those of the same sex can understand.
How about minorities?
With roughly 30% of America’s population being of the minority, a growing concern is that the healthcare being provided is not sufficient as it does not reflect a large part of the community. Sheldon D. Fields, Dean of the School of Health Professions at New York Institute of Technology, mentions the difficulty for the minority students to even afford a BSN program.
“We are not training an adequate number to mirror the cultural and ethnic development of our country,” said Fields in relation to funds supporting nursing students.
As the minority continue to rise in population, it shows that not too far into the future, nurses will be caring for a diverse population, making it even more important to have minorities enter the nursing profession.
Will a nurse’s ethnicity affect care?
Many types of research have shown that patients are more relaxed and more welcoming in receiving care from someone who comes from the same racial or ethnic background as they do. Topics such as cultural beliefs, spiritual affiliations, and language barriers can be quickly addressed in the case of having a minority as a nurse.
The language barrier
Many difficulties the minority face is the language barrier. For some, English is their second language and learning to understand how to speak and understand words correctly could prove daunting. With practice comes, proficiency and the time and dedication one puts into learning will greatly improve their chances. Here are a few things to consider improving quality of communication:
- Ask questions: Do not be embarrassed to get clarification especially since certain medical jargon will likely be different from their own knowledge.
- Welcome challenges: Take communication classes, enter leadership seminars, and take part in public speaking. This will guarantee to improve one’s understanding of the English language.
- Find mentor: Actively search for someone to trust for mentorship who can give sound advice and proper encouragement.
- Constant immersion: Be in an English-speaking environment. Be exposed to mainstream media as much as possible.
Diversity in nursing starts in school
For the minority, not many know about the great opportunities that they can get from the healthcare industry. More effort is needed in giving the minority proper representation to help gain more knowledge in which nursing programs they can apply to. There was a time when the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing had a shortage of staff that could focus on the minority that caused the number of minorities in the program to drop.
Something as simple as filling up applications was a hurdle, but when the issues about the underrepresented minorities were addressed, they had a significant success in recruiting minority graduates. At this stage, it still takes concentrated effort to attract minorities into the nursing program, but many remain optimistic in attracting them to the healthcare industry.
The future of the nursing industry
By 2020, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) aims for 80 percent of registered nurses to have a BSN. An aging population also means an aging nursing workforce. The demands for better and improved healthcare has schools stretched thin as lack of professional instructors is seriously causing a problem.
The solution they found was to have a large proportion of registered nurses having a BSN. This means nurses will have more opportunities for supervisory roles and higher salaries. For men and minorities, this is a perfect time to enter the nursing industry. With the many job variations among healthcare providers, nursing is turning out to be one of the most promising occupations up for grabs.
Why diversity is important
In the world of nursing, women have proven their mettle. However, men can be just as competent in providing healthcare. Thanks to gender roles being redefined today, being a male nurse is slowly becoming a norm. The stigma of being a male nurse is slowly fading as more men are being hired as registered nurses. Hopefully, minorities will also find growing support for representation in the healthcare industries.
So much effort is needed in reaching a goal one is said to be unsuited for. Regardless, the rise of men and minorities in the nursing industry is continuing to grow. Having a more diverse set of nurses can improve the quality of healthcare in the community. To stay stagnant and fixed in an ever-changing environment would be a crippling disadvantage.
With healthcare having such strong cultural roots, diversifying the nursing industry, a workforce that represents the majority of healthcare providers, will surely raise the quality of care given to the patients. Addressing the needs of the people is important. Adding diversity to a community that is a mix of race and ethnicity are giving them the care that they need.