What is it like to be a male nurse, and how can you turn this career into a profitable one? Being a male nurse is a challenging, but rewarding job. So, if you need tips on how to become a male nurse, read along and discover interesting facts and statistics on males in nursing that you may want to know.
- Overview on Male Nursing
- Male Nursing Job Types
- How to Become a Male Nurse
- A Day in a Life of a Male Nurse
- Male Nurses vs. Female Nurses: A Closer Look at a Salary Gap
- Implications of the Gender-Related Salary Differences
Although the nursing field is open to both men and women, there are some males who are uncertain about pursuing this career because of the gender stereotype revolving around this profession. For instance, nursing is a female-dominated career, which tends to discourage a few men to proceed to this path. The male nurse stereotypes tend to get in the way of men who wish to pursue nursing, although there is now a growing number of men engaged in this field – so they do not have to worry about being the first male nurse in a hospital or clinic.
Nowadays, there are organizations that any male nurse can turn to for support such as the American Assembly of Men in Nursing. This organization is dedicated to providing conferences, scholarships, and workshops to men who wish to expand their knowledge of nursing topics. Thus, they no longer have to feel as though they are going through a career mismatch because of stereotypes revolving around male nurses.
It is also worth noting that there are numerous specialty options for men who wish to become nurses. These include trauma, anesthesia, and emergency nursing specializations. What’s more, a male nurse can expand his horizons by engaging in the field of pediatrics, nurse practitioner, psychiatry, and oncology. Thus, male nurses can develop their skills further and find a career suitable to their interests with opportunities for professional growth and development.
Male nurses can choose from several types of jobs in this field of healthcare. Among these types are the following:
- Registered Nurses
This type of male nurse deals with providing medical care and assistance to victims of accidents, or working closely with GPs. They may be employed in various settings including prisons, emergency rooms, private companies, schools and cruise ships. Moreover, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growth of over 10 percent in the number of men employed as nurses, as compared to the 1 percent back in 1950.
Registered nurses are responsible for gathering health histories, offer to counsel and conduct physical examinations to patients. They also interpret medical information obtained from patients and come up with a practical decision essential to their life and condition. These professionals also collaborate with other healthcare specialists for the best interest of patients.
- Licensed Practical Nurse
A licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse work hand-in-hand with a medical doctor, registered nurse or Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse. If you are a male nurse who is employed as a licensed practical nurse or LPN, you are in charge or providing routine and basic medical care to patients in a healthcare facility.
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
A male nurse with a Master’s degree who has completed clinical practice requirements for registered nurses is classified as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or APRN. There are several APRN types including a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse-midwife, and certified nurse anesthetists.
A male nurse practitioner offers preventive and basic health care services, diagnose common injuries and minor illnesses, provide treatment to diseases they have diagnosed and prescribe medications. Typical work settings include hospitals, clinics, private offices or even in nursing homes. A clinical nurse specialist may also be employed in these facilities, although they are more concerned about conducting research and providing consultations to patients suffering from physical and mental health issues.
A certified nurse-midwife deals with women who require care for obstetrical and gynecological problems. Hence, this type of medical professional works in birth centers, homes, and hospitals. As for a certified registered nurse anesthetists, they administer to patients over 65 percent of anesthetics as prescribed by the medical doctor or surgeon.
If you are aspiring to become a male nurse, you will need to undergo studies geared towards this career path. A Board of Nursing is established in each state, and it is responsible for setting requirements for basic and continuing education for nurses, as well as licensure examinations. It also investigates and assesses any complaints on licensed nurses or administers disciplinary actions after a thorough evaluation has been made in such cases.
The National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses prescribes a number of routes to become eligible to take the test and obtain a license upon successfully passing it. The common pathway to becoming a registered nurse is by completing an undergraduate diploma course in Nursing. However, a two-year degree program in nursing, called the Associate Degree in Nursing, may also be taken up to prepare students for a more technical aspect of this field. Hospital-based schools and community colleges offer this type of study.
Aspiring nurses may also choose to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which involves four years of study in universities and colleges offering this course. A number of areas are covered in this degree program including biology, human growth and development, nutrition, physiology and anatomy, microbiology, psychology and organic chemistry. During the last two years of study, core programs offered are pediatrics, maternal and child health, acute and chronic diseases in adults, community health nursing, and mental health or psychiatric nursing.
After completing this degree program, students may opt to take their studies to a higher level and pursue a master’s degree in nursing, or complete the Ph.D. or Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. These are geared towards preparing graduates who wish to become nurse educators, APRNs or nurse administrators.
It is important to note, though, that a degree program, as well as higher education for nurses, can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are male nursing scholarships and grants offered by some schools to support the financial concerns of students, as long as they qualify to these. Requirements may vary from one college or university to another, so it is important to inquire from the school to determine one’s eligibility for these scholarships and financial assistance.
To give you a better idea of how a typical work day of a male nurse goes, here are certain tasks and duties assigned to this type of medical professional. After all, they do not simply walk around the hospital or clinic in their male nurse costume without any clear purpose in their minds. So, the next time you see someone in male nurse shirts, you know well enough their responsibilities in the facility – and determine if these are things you can also handle (once you decide to pursue this career).
- Gather Patient Information
Nurses are responsible for obtaining important data about each patient. In fact, this is the initial means of providing nursing care as these professionals are able to have a thorough understanding of what individual patients need. Aside from receiving physiological information about patients, they also gather data on lifestyle, sociocultural, economic and even the spiritual aspect of every client. By having an understanding of these issues, nurses will be able to provide proper care such as the type of food and pain medications needed by patients, as well as the best means of communicating effectively with them.
Patients who are hospitalized may also respond differently, depending on their physical, psychological and mental state. For instance, some factors may affect their behavior such as the following:
- Current situation with family members
- Fear, anger or anxieties towards a hospital staff
- Refusal to take medications or eat any type of food served
- Inability to perform any activities without assistance
- Need for more or stronger doses of pain medication
By taking a comprehensive assessment of all patients, nurses will be able to know how to deal accordingly with their needs and administer the right type of support required.
- Diagnose the Need of Patients
As a means of providing proper care to patients, nurses should be able to make a solid diagnosis based on the complaints, present state, or physical/psychological data gathered. This is the clinical judgment made by the nurse, and it encompasses a range of areas such as poor nutrition, personal issues with family members, anxieties or possible complications from an existing medical condition. This is why nurses should be able to interpret patient data gathered to reach a sound diagnosis. These medical professionals should see past the physical pain experienced by the patient and understand the root of this condition.
- Care Plan Provided to Patients
After receiving patient information and making a diagnosis of the patient’s condition, it will be easier for nurses to provide the most effective care plan that will help improve the patient’s condition. A list of goals (both short-term and long-term) is prepared by a nurse to serve as a guide in determining whether the patient is getting better or worse after receiving treatment and medication.
These goals must be measurable, realistic and attainable, depending on the present situation of the patient. Sample goals that are part of the care plan offered to patients include these:
- Being able to move from the bed to the bathroom thrice daily
- Decreasing pain after receiving prescribed medication
- Increase in weight
- Finishing each meal served
- Reduced symptoms (after comparing the severity of symptoms before and during treatment process)
The set of goals, along with the diagnosis and patient information gathered prior to hospitalization are all included in the health care plan. Nurses and doctors who are attending to the patient have full access to these data for proper treatment and follow-ups.
- Evaluation and Modification of a Care Plan
During the time that the patient is hospitalized, proper implementation of the care plan must be done, as well as before the discharge process. Regular monitoring of the patient’s condition and evaluation to make sure each goal is met are both important in ensuring successful treatment. Every single medication, response to treatment, physical or psychological changes in the patient (whether positive or negative) must be documented well in the record.
Moreover, there may be a need to modify the care plan, according to how the patient responses to treatment obtained. This is why constant monitoring and implementation of the plan must be done to make sure the patient’s condition improves and returns to normal.
Based on a study by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), a male nurse, specifically RNs, earn more than a female RN. In fact, the difference in salary is over $5,000 per annum, and this is observed in most positions and specialty areas in nursing. Furthermore, the huge gap in earnings has not shown any changes in the last 30 years, since 1988, to be exact.
Although there is a wider range of responsibilities that RNs fulfill in their jobs over the years, primarily because of the Affordable Care Act, there seems to be no improvement in the pay structures in the field of nursing. Thus, it may be the perfect time for nurse employers to begin studying their existing pay schemes and make up for any inequities involving the salary given to these healthcare professionals.
This discrepancy in salary between a male nurse and female nurse was further studied by researchers at the UCSF, after using key data gathered from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses during the years 1988 to 2008. The study included over 30,000 registered nurses each year, with a 60 percent response rate to obtain validity of the sample. The main goal is to determine gender differences that are present in the workplace since there are ample pieces of information about each employee received by the NSSRN.
Aside from the data taken from the NSSRN, researchers also studied information obtained from the American Community Survey. There was a response rate of 90 percent from this household survey, which offered relevant facts on salary differences that nurses receive up to 2013. Quite interestingly, these two surveys presented that male nurses were paid about $10,000 more than female nurses. However, adjusted salaries of male nurses were still higher by a little over $5,100.
Salary gap among genders is observed in almost all positions and specialty areas, and there have been no improvements up to present. The largest gap was seen among nurse anesthetists ($17,290), followed by ambulatory care nurses ($7,678), cardiology ($6,034), middle management nurses ($3,956), nurses employed in hospital settings ($3,873) and chronic care nurses ($3,792). These figures were obtained by taking into account data gathered in 30 years from 1988 to 2008, using both the NSSRN and American Community Survey information. By using as reference the unadjusted salary gap, female RNs have earned $300,000 less than their male counterparts over the past 30 years.
So, what is the impact of this gender salary gap to female nurses? Since nursing is relatively a female-dominated career, the massive differences in salary between a male nurse and a female nurse can affect their families. Female RNs who serve as the primary breadwinner in the family bring home less money than they should. This salary gap may also discourage potential female RNs from pursuing the career and choose a different profession that does not suffer from this gender pay difference.
Meanwhile, this study is intended to be an eye-opener and motivating factor for nurse employers to begin conducting steps to abolish this inequality in salaries among nurses. Transparency in the pay structure for male nurses and female nurses should be applied, which can help identify gender salary gap in their organization. Afterward, proper action must be done to correct these inequities in nurses’ salary. As employees become more aware of the salary differences, this can motivate female RNs to request for wage parity from their employers. Eventually, such action can reduce or even eliminate the gap completely.
On the other side of the spectrum, this salary gap that is leaning towards the advantage of a male nurse may encourage more men to take up this career. In fact, with fewer concerns about stereotypes and opportunities for higher pay, these contribute to the increasing percentage of male nurses in various healthcare facilities in the country.