Being man enough to nurse

By Karen Ann Monsy/khaleejtimes.com
It’s no longer a woman’s prerogative to be a caregiver: meet some gents who do not think there is anything ‘odd’ about choosing professional nursing as a career. And they’re loving putting smiles back on patients’ faces

In Season 2 of the well-loved television series Scrubs, male nurse Paul Flowers doesn’t understand why Dr Elliot is suddenly not as thrilled about dating him when she finds out that he’s actually a male nurse or — as she puts it — a “murse”. Enlightenment comes swiftly in the form of the cynical Dr Kelso, however, who cracks, “That’s because you’re doing a woman’s job, son.”

You could seethe at the blatant sexism on show here but, in all ?fairness, the writers were likely only attempting to capture a social stigma rooted in the decades before — that nursing, as a profession, is a woman’s preserve. To say that today though would be as ignorant as assuming a doctor’s profession is meant solely for males. And yet this notion that a nurse, by default, must refer to a woman in a white dress and cap is still alive and kicking in some parts of the world.

In the UAE, the male to female ratio is pretty stark too. At the American Hospital Dubai, where Filipino expat Clyde Ruyeras works as a surgical clinic staff nurse, there are just 23 males out of a total staff strength of 262 nurses. In his experience, the 26-year-old says it’s always been “20 female nurses to one male nurse” — even when he worked in the Philippines. But in the UAE, he points out the difference is more likely down to cultural norms than discrimination.

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