Following our first ever MINT: Men in Nursing Together meeting yesterday, I wanted to write a short blog post about why I am supporting this new network…
For a long time now, it has been almost expected that if you were a nurse then you were most likely a female. Efforts to promote and support gender equality in the workplace are on the increase, however, the number of men joining the nursing profession is still very low. There are only 11.4% of registered nurses in the UK that are Male (NMC, 2017).
An interesting twist to all of this, of course, is that there are in fact more men are in leadership positions. This is definitely another topic for discussion! But personally, my current focus is that we have a 42,000-nursing shortage that is predicted to increase!
Nursing shortages have been driven by various factors, an ever-growing population, better access to health care, advances in medicine and more effective treatments. I am happy to say that the demand for men to take up a career in nursing is on the rise, this is mostly due to the increasing demand for more nurses in general. I think it is important to note that a lack of men in nursing is not only a UK wide issue, it is also a global concern, which just reaffirms the need to take action. I am a firm believer that we must act on the issues we are facing with our current recruitment crisis NOW. How can we succeed in bridging the staffing gap if we are only recruiting from half a population? We have a duty of care to provide our patients and the public with safe staffing, timely and effective care for everyone. It is vital that we act to increase our workforce to assure we can deliver competent and quality care. Not only should we be driving more men and women into the nursing profession, but we should be as a society supporting and giving more opportunities to different ethnic minorities in nursing, moreover the more diverse our workforce is the better we can represent a culturally diverse population.
This brings me back to why I said yes to representing MINT as their brand ambassador, I am a newly qualified nurse working in an acute medical unit, I see day-to-day the struggles in being able to provide my patients with the best quality care, due to staff shortages, under-resourcing and undervaluing of the profession. I am looking to remove the stigma which is ingrained into us all from such a young age that nursing is ‘women’s work’ and that all ‘Doctors are male’. There should be no mark of disgrace in being a caring professional, regardless of your gender. If you are a competent and skilled individual, with a passion to save lives, then YOU should be a nurse. Gender is irrelevant to saving lives, nursing should have no gender.