On my first day as a fresher, I felt like I had walked into an eery, ominous environment.
It felt like an environment that would eat me alive if I let it, that could make my life very difficult and challenging. I was walking into university as the only man studying paediatric nursing, and therefore strolling in to a female dominated world.
OK, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But on a serious note, it wasn’t easy. I had worked previously as a HCA for four years so I knew what I was getting myself into. But that didn’t make it any easier …
Despite being married, I was aware that being the only male on the course I may be labelled immediately as a bit of a player because I would be surrounded by so many girls. I was also aware that, being an extrovert and bubbly character, this may be mistaken for flirting in some situations.
This may sound a little far fetched and over the top, but I can assure you that being the only man in a large group can be very difficult and a little intimidating.
It’s something that is never mentioned in nursing, but being a man can mean that you will be the butt end of jokes and misunderstood.
There is a bit of a stereotype to nursing as a man that I try not to take too personally. After time, I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t affect my ability to nurse and if anything, I could encourage other men to be proud and hold their heads high.
Ultimately, it does not affect your ability to nurse or to care. So if you’re a man coming into nursing - enjoy the differences and be proud.
Mikey Whitehead is the children’s nursing branch student nurse editor for Student Nursing Times.