Some men shy away from the nursing field because of the perception that nursing is a female-dominated field. But, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, “the proportion of male registered nurses has more than tripled since 1970, from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent, and the proportion of male licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses has more than doubled from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent.” As a male nursing student myself, here are some of the things that I have learned along the way.

  1. Gender biases are usually all in our heads. During your clinical, approach every patient — whether male or female — with confidence. Unless it’s a cultural consideration or requested by the patient, you’ll find that most patients are accepting of male nurses.
  2. Don’t let patient preference get to you. Just as some female patients refuse personal care from male nursing students, some male patients refuse personal care from female nursing students. Just accept that and stay positive. Always remember that being male will have no bearing on the care and comfort that you can provide.
  3. Thou Shall Not Fear OB/Maternity. You will have opportunities to observe live births, c-sections and do cervical exams. As long as you’re polite and provide good nursing care, you will be “A-ok.”
  4. Those awkward moments in class or clinical are inevitable. Remember to be professional and focus on the task at hand of helping people get better and you will do just fine.
  5. Myth…. The concept that we must work harder to prove that we can be just as competent as our female counterparts is a myth. Have no fear, nursing school faculty provide male nursing students with the same opportunities given to female student nurses in the program.
  6. Half of your patients will think that you’re a doctor. It may feel frustrating, but keep your pride as a nurse.
  7. Play to your strengths. Male student nurses are expected to be stronger and thus often called on to help lift heavy patients. This attribute can work in your favor; consider yourself as a valuable resource.
  8. Be active. Some nursing groups, such as The Brotherhood of Nursing, the American Assembly for Men in Nursing and the National Student Nursing Association are great resources for connecting with other nursing students.
  9. You are studying to be a nurse, not a male nurse. Your female classmates are not studying to be “female nurses.” Just as female medical students break the gender barriers in medicine, we will continue to break the gender barriers in nursing.

Are you a male nurse? Comment your tips below!

  1. I graduated from Nursing School in 1971, an era when MALE nurses were fighting for acceptance. I was the first to graduate from my Nursing School. My first nursing instructor told me I would never make it. I now have my PhD in Nursing, am the Director of Emergency Services and Asst. Director of Intensive Care Units in our hospital system, and Director of Life Flight. We are one of the largest systems in the 4th largest cities in Texas. I MADE IT, and so can any of you. Never consider yourself a MALE NURSE, you are a NURSE. I only wish that Mrs. Davis was here to see me now.

    • That’s great.she should v bn alive to see n how u r a male myself working in Ghana and personally l think l’m doing well too.

  2. I am a fan of yours Femi Borisade. I’m from the Houston Chamberlain College of Nursing branch. I come from a very different career background compared to my peers. I was actually intimidated at first, and I did feel the need that I may have to work harder just to show I can be equally competent. I am taking Health Assessment, Fundamentals, and Pathophysiology right now. I am doing very well, but I do my best to help my peers because nursing is all about teamwork. I want to leave a positive mark here at our branch. Your accomplishments Femi Borisade has really pushed me more to be a well rounded Nurse. Keep the motivational posts coming!

    • Posting on Femi’s Behalf:

      Hey Brian,

      I would first like to thank you for your comments and your sincere kind thoughts. I would like to also congratulate you on choosing Chamberlain College of Nursing for your journey on becoming a registered nurse! I would like to share with you that at first I also had feelings of doubt and concern upon starting my first year of nursing school. I grew as I succeeded throughout the nursing program by keeping in mind that, “All things work together for your good”. That even pertains to all of the things that we thought were meant to bring us down. For instance, the fact that you have a different career background may seem like it would make learning in your courses more challenging. However, I see it as something that makes you versatile, well-rounded, and knowledgeable. Sometimes some of our greatest strengths are disguised but become unmasked when we change our perceptions. You will achieve so much in your program by having the giving and selfless attitude that you have. Continue to do your best in every area of study while offering yourself to others to bring them higher as well. I believe that you have already left an amazing impression on your campus, because by reading your post, you’ve definitely left one me. Remember that greatness lies within you, and by doing your best and shining, you’ll inspire others to shine their light as well.

      Femi Borisade

  3. I have always been uncomfortable with the term “male nurse”. Do we use “female physician”? Seems silly and degrading. I have been a nurse for 40 years and have served my patients and profession well. Please don’t use the term “male nurse” – it is degrading. I even wrote a novel about it called The Confessions of a Male Nurse” just to jab at the term and tell a damn good story.

  4. Great points! Especially #9. We are NURSES who happen to be men. Period. Be you. Be Kind. Do right by your patient. You’ll be fine. #RNx25years!

  5. im not a nursing student, but wanted to leave my two cents as a patient.

    I have been hospitalized several times due to various serious conditions. I’ve had many male nurses, and honestly feel they have a way of bonding with male patients that is amazing. I wish more dudes would go in to nursing. I have never had a bad make nurse or tech. I wish more men would go in to the field.

  6. What bugs me about this is if this article were written directed at females that work in a male dominated field and some of these things were said like “Gender biases are usually all in our heads” People would lose their minds and demand the author and anyone associated with this article be fired for writing such a sexist article.

  7. The only time I’ve noticed a patient has a “problem” with me being a male is when the nurse I’m following for the day makes it and “issue.”

  8. My husband is a nurse, and I teach high school juniors and seniors in a medical magnet program. When my students say, “Oh, your husband is a male nurse?” I respond, “No. He’s a male all the time buy a nurse from 9-5.”Attaching your gender to your job seems silly and really outdated. My husband is outstanding at what he does (a cardiac cash lab) and I couldn’t be prouder of all his accomplishments.

  9. One of my favorite retorts when someone says “Oh, you’re a male nurse” is “No, I’m a nurse who happens to be male”…That’s always good for a laugh.

  10. I disagree that males should, “play to their strengths” and make themselves available for heavy lifting. Of course, just a females, if you are available, please do help. However, I always tell my male nursing students to not feel obligated to do more, or allow themselves to be used and abused by other nurses. After all, we all have one back, whether we are male or female. Men should not be expected to put their health at greater risk to gain acceptance.

  11. Number 5 is quite funny to offer as observation. If anything, I have noticed that working RN I instantly get more unwarranted respect from family and MD’S than my female counterparts. Only in nursing school, from professors, did I experience #5.

  12. Im a first year student. My first day in IMCU, had made me to feel that I’m on a great line. That’s the day when Mrs parsmeswari went on arrest and I gave her the CPR,and the staff nurse gave the defibrilation. And some injections.she became normal. Proud to be in this profession.

  13. Loved the tips. As someone who taught LPN school for 10 years many faculty (female) would ask “what do you do with the men on maternity?” uh…give them patient assignments. I also spent the last 15 years per diem in the newborn nursery. I also do not like the term “male nurse”, I mean isn’t it obvious my gender (I have facial hair to help). On another note, are any of the guys on here going to Donna Cardillo’s conference in Arizona at a Spa on March 17? Love it if other men were going. Tony

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