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A Survival Guide for Male Nurses. Really.

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   July 09, 2013

Male nurses face all kinds of prejudices when they enter the workforce. Those preconceived notions and misjudgments are not only harmful to them, but to the nursing profession as a whole.

"There's a real interesting thing about men in nursing," Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN, told me a few weeks ago. "They go to the top."

Research seems to back up her assertion. Data released earlier this year shows that even though men represent less than 10% of the nurse workforce in the United States, they are paid more than their female counterparts.

Full-time female nurses earned 91 cents for every one dollar earned by their full-time male colleagues. For both full-time and part-time nurses, the survey found that men earned an average of $60,700 per year and women earned $51,100.

That's why I was skeptical about the need for the new book Man Up! A Practical Guide for Men in Nursing. A part of me felt a savage sense of satisfaction that nursing is the one, last bastion of female domination. So what if there aren't as many men as women in nursing? So what if men feel like they're outnumbered and less influential at work? Welcome to how many women feel all the time.

But I had a change of heart when I actually started reading the book. Male nurses face all kinds of prejudices, ranging from the idea that they're inherently not as caring as women, to the notion that nursing is a "womanly" discipline, the book says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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