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Is nursing a low-status profession?

  • Comments (16)

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?
  • Comments (16)

Readers' comments (16)

  • Anonymous | 31-Jul-2013 1:54 pm

    My family have been treated by wonderful, spectacular Nurses and we and the public think you are all high-status. Personally, its a privilege having a Nurse looking and caring for you.

    Nurses are treated as low-status within the NHS and in the government because they never, ever fight and they never ever complain to the public about what is going on and how badly they are treated.

    Nurses are treated as low-status because they don't have a voice so the government and the NHS and the Trusts can do what they like to them.

    I am incredibly proud of all the Nurses here and the way you carry on, in spite of the awful way you are treated, to help all the patients is really amazing.


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  • Nurse jack of all trades, master have none, well that's what it use to be. If you want the job doing, ask the nurse. Other professions have always worked within their remit, I guess it's because there's few of them. I have worked in various mental health teams and its always the nurses that respond to emergency s, take on the difficult clients, take on most of the referrals, but sadly are respected the least! Without the nurses, a state of emergency would be declared.

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  • Anonymous

    There is an easy way to raise the profile and allow the government/public /etc., to appreciate the profession. Organise and withdraw labour. Stop doing everyones job, take your breaks, go home on time. The gaps would become apparent very quickly.
    Do it in a well coordinated manner, providing emergency cover, etc, then why not strike? Take to the streets and show that you mean business. I know that it will never happen and nursing will continue to be a low status profession. But it is up to the profession, not outside forces, to change that.

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  • MeThinks

    Anonymous | 31-Jul-2013 12:18 pm

    As Anonymous | 31-Jul-2013 5:19 pm has pointed out, you have (yet again - whether this is deliberate is hard to decide) missed mike's point.

    The huge number of nurses should make the Nursing Voice powerful and listened to: but nursing is often ignored, in relative terms, presumably because either nurses are not all rowing in the same direction, or else nurses are not loudly enough explaining to non-nurses the direction we should all be rowing in!

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  • Anonymous

    We as nurses are criticised, publicised trodden on by those in higher places yet we still manage to work with a smile even it we don't feel like smiling, we say
    no problem to our patients when they need our help and carry out our jobs with low staffing but to the best of our abilities. I totally agree that we as nurses should join together, petition, go on marches, write to those politicians that make unrealistic proposals and invite them along to have a look at what these proposals are doing to our NHS. Petitions should be online so accessible to all and a site that enables us to unite together and fight for each other as a united front. We

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