Male nurses face prejudice, stereotypes on the job

Doctor and nurses wheeling patient in gurney through hospital corridor
Male nurses may experience unique prejudices in their work. Photo credit: Getty/Sam Edwards

Although male nurses are common, they often deal with stereotyping and face prejudice while on the job.

Male nurses interviewed by Minority Nurse reported that many patients make assumptions about their sexuality, or think they're only in it to “see women naked." Some patients even request a different nurse simply because they don't want a male one. Some see their gender and assume they are a doctor. Or assume that they failed to become a doctor. 

“As a nurse—but especially as a male nurse—you need to have a strong outside to let those comments bounce off. But you also need to have a warm heart for those who hold the prejudices,” Carl A. Brown, R.N., director of patient care services for BrightStar Care of Western Riverside County in Sun City, California, told Minority Nurse. “I think it is important for people to know that my gender does not prevent me from providing quality care to each of my clients.”

In a second article, the male nurses interviewed offered strategies that their peers can use to combat those prejudices. For example: 

  • Dispel the myth. If a patient questions why men would want to go into nursing, gently remind them that women are also entering a number of typically male-dominated fields.
  • Talk to HR. If prejudices evolve into discrimination, take it a nursing manager or someone in human resources—or, in extreme cases, a lawyer. 
  • Be a leader. Male nurses who rise through the ranks will have the opportunity to change the public face of the profession, the article notes.