A news story last week highlighted that nurse leadership is ahead of the rest of the NHS in reflecting the gender of its workforce, but concerns remain that nursing’s perception as a “female” profession means it does not get the attention it deserves.
Speaking to Nursing Times Professor Jill Maben, director of the National Nursing Research Unit –based at King’s – said the predominantly female nature of the nursing workforce, combined with traditional notions of women’s place in society, meant the profession’s power did not reflect its size.
She told Nursing Times it made little difference whether a nursing director was male or female in terms of their influence.
“You may be a male director of nursing but your voice still may not be heard because it’s a low status profession,” she said. “It still seems very easy to sideline nursing and the nursing voice.”
For example, she highlighted that there was evidence of the impact of low nurse staffing levels dating back “years”. But it was only now, following the publication last week of NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh’s review, that the issue appeared to be taken seriously at senior levels of the NHS.
Do you agree?
- If nursing has a low professional status of nurses is it possible to change it?
- Do nurses have less power because around 90% of the workforce are female?