As a man who's enrolled in a college nursing program, I'm responding to "What Do Men in Nursing Really Think? Survey Respondents Speak Out" (November 2005). I plan on being a nurse because I enjoy helping people. Men are in nursing for the same reasons that women are: to help people and to make a difference in their lives.
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I was happy to see that this article gave men credit for being in nursing for the right reasons. I'm now working in a warehouse that's full of men who laugh at me for wanting to be a nurse. Even in the movies, men who are nurses are shown as being feminine. I hope that these social stereotypes can be torn down so more men will go into nursing.
RICHARD JENNINGS, NURSING STUDENT
Your cover story piqued my interest. The real question is "Why are there so few men in nursing?"-or more to the point, "Is nursing sexist?"
Many men are trying to get into nursing, without success. When medical schools were asked why so few women were becoming physicians, they responded quickly. The excuse that not enough women apply wasn't acceptable. Now, almost half of all medical students are women.
Oddly, when the tables are turned in nursing, the silence is deafening. The ones who used to rail against the old boys network are happy with the girls-only club.
J. M. BROADBENT, RN, FNP, MSN
I'm a woman pursuing a second career who's enrolled in an accelerated nursing program. Of the 46 nursing students in our class, 9 (20%) are male-more than double the national average reported in your article.
It's encouraging to see that more men are dispelling stereotypes and pursuing the nursing profession. Their presence in my class has opened my eyes to my own prejudices and has dissolved the reservations that I had about men in nursing. I'm now aware that they're fully capable of delivering the same degree of nursing care as any one of the female nursing students in our class. I look forward to working alongside them, and they can count on my support and respect.
STEPHANIE C. LUDWIG, NURSING STUDENT
I'm a man who's leaving nursing within a year to work in the building trades. Not only are the wages better, but the scheduling of the work is also better for my family. I want to work weekdays like the rest of the guys so I can go to ball games and practices with my son.
I think nursing is making a serious mistake in not recruiting more medics and emergency medical technicians. These fields are attracting men who might otherwise consider nursing.
GREG BURBO, RN
As I read the article about men in nursing, I thought to myself that any nurse would answer similarly. Most of us hate the long hours, low pay, and ungrateful attitudes we sometimes encounter, but we've chosen nursing because it's the profession that calls to us.
In nursing, there truly are no boundaries of sex, nationality, or skin color. This is the beautiful diversity of our job. All of us must overcome obstacles, such as the sexist depictions of female nurses in tight uniforms.
We should all constantly tout the nursing profession to any young adult who'll listen. And we should abolish the thought that nursing is a gender-based job.
RAMONIA S. KING, RN
Rising Sun, Md.