Men in Nursing: Moving beyond “add men and stir”

Dr Joan Evans

Professor at the University of Dalhousie shares what she has learned researching the role of men in the profession of nursing.

Dr. Joan Evans – RN, PhD




  1. What do you see as a need in relation to these kind of gender talks in the workplace? How are we going to make men and women nurses aware of the complex gender dynamics that are affecting men every single day?
  2. What is the kind of gender split in your workplace, and were do you work?

Vitruvian Man designed by Jakob Vogel from The Noun Project

, , , ,

2 Responses to “Men in Nursing: Moving beyond “add men and stir””

  1. Phil Baumann
    February 8, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    Very nice interview with Dr. Evans, Robert. This is a space that doesn't often get the attention it deserves.

    Perhaps because I entered nursing as a second-career, I never noticed much of a difference in how I was treated – for the most part. My sense is that men in nursing have had an increasingly more receptive treatment over the last several decades, much of which owes to general societal changes in gender equality (which continues to need change).

    Dr. Evans made an interesting comment about how nursing schools don't spend much time addressing the gender issues. Looking back, there could have been more emphasis on how differently men and woman (not to broad brush here) differ in how they interact with others. I know for myself, I entered ICU nursing not because I didn't want to 'care' for my patients, but I was heavily interested in the technical characteristics of critical care. To what extent that's gender-related matter is up for debate. It certainly is worth further study.

    There's a lot of food-for-thought in this video, so I hope it gets more traction. It's certainly in our interest to have more men enter nursing, but only if the entries are done for the right reasons.

  2. Drew Griffin
    February 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Robert, this was a very interesting conversation and interview. Some of the points or questions could be subject to debate. I submit that there may be acceptance by default as the nursing shortage looms. Gender Identification in careers is an interesting social phenomenon. I think a comparable discussion would be about women’s role in an industry usually dominated by males and see what common ground they share. Necessity vs. desire is also another debate. I think the gender aspect is quite superficial. I experienced some speculative behavior in the early years of my career in nursing. I was never uncomfortable . Luckily I think refusal of my care giving only happened once or twice based on my gender. I never took offense to that as an issue.

    As a Wound Care Specialist, I don’t really experience a lot of gender issues. I am sensitive to the needs of the patients and if its ever an issue, I make it a non-issue and make the patient feel comfortable by providing or asking for a female peer.

    With regards to keeping awareness of gender dynamics in the workplace, I think its improving. Most facilities typically touch on it with orientation. It may be good to touch on the topic in discussion periodically to improve upon what the industry has achieved already. Forums such as this or a blog or user generated video are a great way to bring awareness. New Media and Web 2.0 can be a catalyst for such discussions. Great job for doing so Robert!

    The gender split in the hospital which I work is a good question. I see more male nurses in the workplace but it still is dominated by females. I find it particularly interesting to see the split and ratio among the different units. OBGYN is always female. ER, ICU, Behavioral Health have more male nurses than the other units like Med-Surg, Telemetry etc. I wonder why?

    As a Wound Care Specialist, I get the benefit of visiting all of the units and nursing homes. I have the opportunity to see things on a broad spectrum and have a “litmus test” taste of the mix.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.