The stereotype that male nurses are predominantly homosexual continues to deter men from entering the profession, warn academics.
New Zealand researchers, who carried out a literature review and interviewed 18 male nurses, urged educators not to collude with the stereotype, as it risked marginalising men within the profession. One nursing student who was interviewed said he faced comments such as: ‘You must be gay if you want to be a nurse.’ Another said he was forced to hide his sexuality because of negative perceptions.
‘The continuing stigma associated with homosexuality may deter the entry of more men into nursing,’ the study authors warn in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Wendy Irwin, RCN diversity and equality coordinator, said: ‘It is disturbing and it shows the power of stereotyping that people are not considering nursing as a viable profession. Nurses need to challenge homophobia in the workplace.’