Technorati href="http://www.technorProfile Thinking Nurse: Nursing and Sex Role Stereotypes

Thinking Nurse

This blog will reflect my interests in learning disabilities, nursing, nursing theory, philosophy and politics and my general interests in the arts and literature. (Nursing is an art as well as a science!) Philosophy and nursing have been intrinsically linked since the days of Socrates, his mother was a midwife, and taught him everything he knew!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Nursing and Sex Role Stereotypes

Nursing is typecast as a feminine profession, but as this rather excellent website demonstrates male nurses have played a key role in nursing since the earliest times.

The first nursing school was set up in India in 250bc it would train men,

"of good behavior, distinguished for purity, possessed of cleverness and skill, imbued with kindness, skilled in every service a patient may require, competent to cook food, skilled in bathing and washing the patient, rubbing and massaging the limbs, lifting and assisting him to walk about, well skilled in making and cleansing of beds, readying the patient and skillful in waiting upon one that is ailing and never unwilling to do anything that may be ordered."
The Charaka (Vol I, Section xv)

There have been many male orders of nursing, including ‘The Parabolani’, the Benedictine Nursing Order, the Alexian Brothers, the Knights Hospitalers, the Teutonic Knights, the Tertiaries, the Knights of St Lazarus, The Order of the Holy Spirit and the Hospital Brothers of St Anthony. Some of these were monks, some soldiers, some both. There is a tendency to describe men who are actually carrying out nursing tasks as 'healers' or 'witch doctors', so the existence of male nurses has been edited out of a lot of history.

Male nurses are much more common in learning disabilities and mental health nursing than in general adult nursing, though the numbers are growing in every branch of nursing, as sex role stereotypes begin to break down.

However, some things do not change – male nurses tend to rise through the ranks more quickly and end up in management positions more easily than female nurses, reflecting the fact that sexism is still a powerful force, even in professions where women outnumber men.
It is in the interests of all nurses to challenge the sexual stereotyping of nurses, and the assumptions that give male nurses an easy ride into management positions.


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At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I just came across your website doing research on male nursing issues. I am a male nursing student in the US. I like your website. You're right nursing is an art and a philosophy. Sexism is prevalent in this profession with many inequalities.
Keep up the website and dont be afraid to say what is true. In this country there is alot of social and political pressure to keep quiet and not speak the truth.

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