The once predominantly female profession of nursing is slowly seeing more and more males.
With this change, could past stigmas of male nurses finally become abolished? Although not long ago becoming a male nurse was not a popular career choice, Castleton has a growing nursing degree program and the enrollment of males is growing with it.
As a transfer student to Castleton State College from University of New England, 21-year-old second-year nursing student Drazen Smith said he could not picture himself doing anything else.
“In high school I took an EMS class which got me into fast squad and the fire department working as an EMT-B,” he said. “It’s because of that I decided to go into nursing.”
Although Castleton’s nursing bachelor’s degree is still in process of being approved as an accredited program, Smith does not regret making the switch to Castleton.
When asked how he felt about the stigma of male nurses, Smith made it seem like no big deal.
“There are more males in my class than women think. It’s not weird to see a guy in the nursing program,” he said. “Yeah my friends joke about it, but I really don’t care because it’s what I want to do, help people. Beside I’ll be the one laughing at them when I get my first pay check.”
Rich Marantz, a non-traditional student is in the first year of the nursing program, agrees.
“It’s not weird. I believe it’s a non-issue with the exception sometimes of the women’s gossip,” he said. “I started out with Chinese healing and martial arts. Nursing is an expansion of what I’ve already learned. I just want to continue helping people.”
The stigma of male nurses seems to mean little to females on campus and in the nursing program, even as the number of male nurses continues to grow.
“I don’t really think twice about it. I don’t think anyone does anymore and if they do, they’re just being really immature,” said junior Allie Dwinell, a non-nursing major.
Some, like first-year nursing student Seaghan Lafaso, think the idea of male nurses is great.
“It doesn’t really matter to me if there are male nurses, just as long as they are genuinely caring for the patient and giving them the highest quality of life possible. That’s all that matters,” Lafaso said. “I don’t think people really care about it anymore, in fact I think people really admire male nurses and sometimes prefer them over women. My professor actually told me today that male nurses are usually more desirable and more likely to get hired in the work force then female nurses nowadays, which is really shocking to me.”
According to Karsen Alcorn, a third-year professor at Castleton, it doesn’t matter whether a nurse is male or female.
“Students are students, I am very happy to see more males in the program. Compared to even seven years ago males are now better accepted,” she said.
But Alcorn admitted that the nursing world is very different than it was 10 years.
“When I was in school, there were two males, and one dropped out. Patients used to have a hard time accepting male nurses. But now it shouldn’t matter, they are trained professionals, and nowadays people are actually more demanding of a male nurse,” Alcorn said.