Male Nurses - the Murse

Not a purse, a nurse. We're talking about male nurses again. The profession has always been dominated by women, and still is. But we're seeing a few more males entering the field. THe stigma of an all female profession is slowly lifting.

Some of the change is due to cultural changes where women are no longer seen as the sole primary gender capable of offering care.

How many male nurses are you working with? Have you noticed an increase? Any gender bias in school that may prevent male nurses from entering the field?


  1. Most of the Emergency Departments I transfer to are about 60/40 ratio of female to male nurses. In some of them, it's at least 50/50 or even skewed more heavily male.

    Nursing, it's not just for chicks any more. ;)

    (Although if one of my male nurse friends dressed up as a naughty nurse for Halloween, I'd likely vomit.)

  2. Hey Ambulance Driver I make a pretty good Naughty Nurse. Murse is not a name, or a word come to that, and implies that men cannot be caring without giving them a different title. This is as bad as saying that we are "in touch with our feminine side" meaning unless we are feminine we cannot care - sheer sexist nonsense.

    When I started the male nurses in the hospital all knew each other now there are too many, however I do not see all that many male students coming to our ED. Strangely there is a huge increase in the number of female doctors and medical students around.

  3. When I trained there were perhaps 10 males out of 400 (spread between four hospitals) and predominantly in Mental Health. We all started in a variety of areas but gradually (with being disallowed from undertaking certain procedures, chaperone's, etc) drifted into the 'acceptably male' areas of A&E and ITU/HDU/CCU. Example? Females can catheterise both males and females, males only males.

    I've been at this quite a while and have noticed increases and decreases in the numbers (still tiny in proportion) of male students. Recently though there's a massive drop (personal opinion/interpretation) in male nurses due in part to the dearth of full time posts here in the UK. Whilst it's possible for a lady with children to survive on 8 hours a week (just a bit of extra income to top up those benefits), the males predominantly need a full-time wage to survive (either single or with partner). So they (and yes it affects the younger, single females too) are qualifying and leaving in droves.

    As GrumpyRN says, I too have noticed the increase in female doctors, here it's partly due to the.. er, positive discrimination policy at universities that was intended to 'compensate for the misogynistic attitudes' (?) of all those grumpy old male consultants, apparently. So now we have intakes of students where males (well if you exclude all the foreign nationals) are the decided minority.

    'Stigma' (?) of an all female profession. I hate to say it but there are some female nurses (especially senior) who see that as a positive statement (at least here).

    Leaving after 18 years, yes I am, already in the process.

  4. I have seen a gradual increase in the number of male nurses. I personally like to balance of having men providing nursing care at the bedside. Last week I went to a class for PALS certification. There were three paramedics in the class, two of them are also fire fighters. We were all talking during one of the breaks and one of the medics expressed that he liked the idea of becoming a nurse. A few of the female nurses encouraged him to get his nursing degree. He quickly said he would never do that. Then he went on to explain how medics and fire fighters view male nurses stating they often make fun of the male nurses they interact with in the ED. He even used the term "murse" in a derogatory manner. I was pretty shocked. I thought we had progressed much further than this. All I could think was, "What a neanderthal."

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  6. There's still definitely a gender bias. I lived my life in a male-dominated world-all boys' school and the military, and when I was transported to nursing, it was culture shock. When instructors taught maternity, they just assumed that we knew pregnancy cycles, periods, and breastfeeding. As a result of my experiences in nursing school, I'm in the process of writing a book to let people know what we actually go through.

  7. IMHO, "murse" is about as sensitive a word as n----r when referring to black people. Unless you want everyone to start calling y'all a "furse". And male nurse is about as stupid. Like I asked the geniuses refugees the Stone Age who asked me if I was a "male" nurse, "Do I have a choice?" (Think how stupid someone would sound if they asked a woman if she was a "female" nurse. It sounds just as dumb when it goes the other way, believe me.) Do you differentiate sexes between plumbers or x-ray techs or reporters? Not unless you're old enough for social security, or a moron.

    We're nurses. Period.

    I work in emergency nursing, in a huge department and a large hospital. Hospital-wide, men are 3-5%. In the ED I work in, it's 50/50. Some nights 40/60, others 60/40. There are nights when the docs have to go searching just to find a female staff member to chaperone procedures because of the ratio.

    As far as school, the 5 males I went through school were accepted 2 weeks before the letters went out to the 35 women. But that was some time back.

    I notice in the department that the docs, male and female, are universally better-behaved towards nursing staff with this many men around, and I don't think that's just coicidental or merely an unverified impression. The kind of put-downs and talking down they might have thought they could get away with (or used to get away with) towards women alone don't fly as well when it's a 50/50 world, and the women themselves have commented on it.