Ohio State nursing program tries to shed female stereotype
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 09:02
One of the most common stereotypes about the field of nursing is that it’s a female profession, but some students in Ohio State’s nursing program are hoping to defy that norm.
In popular films and television shows, such as “Nurse Betty,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Nurse Jackie” or “HawthoRNe,” the main role of the nurse is played by a woman.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration found in its 2008 National Survey of the registered nurse population that of the more than 3 million licensed registered nurses living in the United States, only 6.6 percent were males.
Steven Shaw, a third-year in nursing and president of Buckeyes Assembly for Men and Nursing, believes being a nurse is a rewarding field for any individual, regardless of gender.
“Nursing is a very challenging, rewarding and highly marketable career choice,” Shaw said. “Nursing is constantly evolving and improving due to nursing research … the nurse gets to see the differences they make in their patient’s lives on a daily basis.”
And Shaw isn’t alone.
U.S. News & World Report listed registered nurse second on its 100 Best Jobs of 2013. U.S. News & World Report said the field is ranked highly because it’s rapidly expanding and nurses are in high demand.
The report said nursing has been one of the jobs that flourished despite the harsh economic times. The top-ranked job was dentistry.
Despite the growing number of people entering the nursing field and the high demand, the percentage of male nurses is still low.
“I do not understand why there is such a disparity between the number of men and women in the nursing field. It must be that a majority of males have a misconception about nursing,” Shaw said.
Jennifer Robb, coordinator for Diversity Recruitment and Retention at the College of Nursing, had similar thoughts on the subject.
“Traditionally it has been a female-dominated field. Part of my role is to increase the number of unrepresented students in nursing and often times when I contact high school counselors about it, they said, ‘OK, I will tell my girls about it.’ I just do not think the men are being exposed to it enough,” Robb said.
However, OSU has been praised for the number of male students it has in its program. In 2008, the American Assembly for Men in Nursing named OSU’s College of Nursing the Best Nursing College for Men. At the time only 10 percent of the undergraduate nursing students were male; however, that has risen to 14 percent in 2013, Robb said. The graduate program has also seen a big jump in the past five years, rising to 20 percent from 15 percent of the students being male, Robb said.
Even though percentages at OSU are greater than those nationally, the College of Nursing is still working to increase the diversity among students, especially the male population, Robb said. The College of Nursing Student Ambassadors have been reaching out to get new people to explore nursing.
“All throughout the year we do programs where students can come in and do hands-on activities and interact with some of our student ambassadors,” Robb said. “We work with elementary-age students, high school students and even college-age students.”
Andrew Bogart, a second-year in nursing, said society is becoming more accepting of having male nurses, and he feels right at home in Newton Hall, where the College of Nursing is housed.
“This year’s sophomore (class) in the College of Nursing has the largest percentage of male students in the history of the program. That’s exciting,” Bogart said. “There’s over 20 men in my class of about 160, so I don’t feel out of place at all.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: February 14, 2013
An earlier version of this story referred to Jennifer Robb as Rodd near the bottom of the story.