"A full 20% of my nursing staff is male," wrote Lynne Beattie, RN, MSN, Interim Manager Telemetry at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California. "As sensitive as I was to being left out of the usual "he" and "him" communication in the late 70's, I'm equally sensitive today to articles [and] discussions that imply all nurses are female."
Her email also stuck a fork in the savage satisfaction I once felt about women dominating nursing. When someone knows what oppression feels like, they should do all they can fight it elsewhere.
The IOM's report on the future of nursing calls for more diversity in the nursing profession, including more gender diversity. For men who are in the nursing profession or want to pursue it, Man Up! seems to provide a good primer for navigating the field.
The book covers nearly every aspect of work along the entire nursing continuum, from the decision to become a nurse, to "breaking" the news to families, to moving through school, to finding a mentor, to becoming a nurse leader or entering academia.
And it provided this little nugget, which really struck a chord with me: "Research shows that men enter nursing for the same reason as women: They hold personal values (like caring for others) that are consistent with the holistic approach in nursing. Men who are nurses and seek leadership roles must be aware and sensitive to the fact that inequities on social and professional levels still exist for both male and female nurses."
No one wins when one group of otherwise equal workers is perceived and treated differently than another.