When I first started nursing (25 years ago) all the patients assumed i was the doctor-much to the disgust of my female colleagues. Thankfully this has changed. I have worked as a male midwife in Australia for 15 years and have had very little in the way of negative feedback from my clients. There is sometimes some initial surprise (moreso from their partners) before they relax and treat me the same as they would a female midwife. The majority comment that they find me just as caring and nuturing as any midwife. I do occasionally get some flack from my female colleagues. What I find interesting about this is that they don't make the same comments about male doctors involved in maternity....Stephen is correct, even in midwifery we are equal, and different.
Here in Australia we've had degree only nursing for many years. You will find that most nurses think it was a mistake. The most common complaint ( and this has been the same complaint for 25 years since they started degree nursing as they phased out hospital training) is that the students don't get enough practical experience during their training. In spite of the problem, the universities have consistently refused to change their courses. New graduates start work with woefully inadequate practical skills. They know nursing theories, they can reflect in/with/on their practice, thay indersatnd how medications work to the molecular level etc. I acknowledge that a lot of this knowledge is useful, and also that most of it is superfluous to their practice. Because someone completes a degree does not make them care anymore. In fact, another common complaint is that basic nursing skills are getting worse and worse. They understand what they are doing, and don't do it well. If degrees for nurses is about inproving nursing care, the evidence here is against it. It also makes a mockery of insisting that nurses get degrees to work on a ward if the employers then employ enrolled nurses. assistant nurses and patient care assistants to do the same work.( I don't have a problem with any of these other health care workers, i'm just using them as an example) This was certainly the case when i worked in the UK, and it is the case here. The push for degree nursing here was not about improving patient care, it was actually about improving the status of nurses. This was meant to put us on equal footing with doctors etc. Twenty-five years later this has not worked either. Barry