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Are you a ‘murse’, a ‘male nurse’ or simply a ‘nurse’?


Why is it so shocking that someone who watches football, loves cars, sports some facial hair, and is MALE can be a nurse?

A quick Google search of ‘male nurse’ prompts the suggested search result ‘male nurse jokes’, insinuating that numerous people have looked for jokes about male nurses.

It would seem role and gender stereotypes have an impact on the careers we expect people to have.

Careers in nursing, administration or beauty are often seen as jobs for women, whereas mechanics, and those working in the sports or construction industry are viewed as jobs for males.

When you think of a nurse, you’re often greeted with the image of a female with a peaked white cap and dress, not a male in a white two-piece.

Many male nurses report both positive and negative discrimination when studying and in the workplace.

One male student nurse says he didn’t feel that nurses had high expectations of male nurses, so he got an easier time than his female colleagues.

At workplaces, some male nurses report experiencing sexism and being frequently mistaken as doctors, orderlies or being assumed to be gay.

Males nurses are often dubbed ‘murses’, however nurses remain divided as to whether the term is derogatory or not, with some rejoicing in the fact that male nurses have a name specific to their gender and role, and others not seeing the necessity of such a term.

I for one can’t see why this term even exists, shall we start calling female nurses ‘furses’ now as well then?

In a Twitter survey, we asked student nurses what you think about the terms ‘male nurses’ and ‘murses’.

Quite a few of you feel there is no need to distinguish between male and female nurses.

@BeeNiBee said: “Males and females have exactly the same training so why distinguish?”

Christopher Whitton said: “Their term “murse” is (not required) and offensive.”

Steve Ham extremely dislikes the term ‘male nurse’ (and finds the term) “murse” even worse.

He asked: “what would happen if we started saying ‘female firefighter?”, insinuating that there is a double standard when using these labels.

Grant Byrne says: “The only time our gender matters is if a patient has a preference to their nurses’ sex”.

However others point out many wouldn’t dream of asking for a different doctor if the doctor was male, so why do they do it when it happens to be a male nurse?

The latter quote stresses the bottom line: If someone has the right motives, skills, knowledge and experience needed for their job, then their gender should not even come into the equation.

But, it appears this isn’t always the case.

Statistics from the Nursing and Midwifery Council show only 10% of those working in the nursing profession are men.

In a society where women strive to achieve equality with men, it seems ironic that men do not have equality with women in the nursing world.

Sadly, it seems we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality.


What do you think?

  • Are the terms ‘murse’ and ‘male nurse’ acceptable?
  • What can be done to attract more men to the profession?

Readers' comments (2)

  • The fact that many senior nurses are still referred to as 'sister' or 'matron' rather than the gender neutral 'charge nurse' shows that gender stereotyping in nursing is an intractable, institutional problem that isn't going to go away overnight. Modifying these titles would be a small, but necessary step in the right direction.

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  • I am not a "male Nurse" for I care for Females as well....

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