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'I struggled as the only man in my first year cohort'

  • 3 Comments

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.

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Michelle Parker

    I totally get where you are coming from, there is one man in our cohort of childrens nurses and he does take some stick; all in good fun but it must still have been intimidating initially.

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  • Well done Mikey for taking it all in your stride and sticking at it.

    Unlike you, I was not the only rose among the thorns but I know what it is like to be different from the rest of the group. All 20 in my cohort were school leavers and I was about 10 years older than the rest and the only mature student. Having held a responsible job abroad for a good number of years I felt quite isolated in the group where the main topics of conversation were men and clothes, and the hospital social life I tried to join in revolved round hops and discos with the medics where they stood around the edge of the darkened room with disco lights swigging beer and looking all the nurses up and down who were dancing together in the middle. The problem was that the music was so loud that any attempt at conversation and getting to know people was totally impossible and being of an older generation I never did get used to dancing with other women!

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  • Michael Whitehead

    LOL @ anonymous

    I totally understand and I fully feel for you. It is not easy, but because we are males na dseen as tough and robust we are expected to get on and not make a fuss, and not have our feelings hurt! didn't want to sound like a party pooper with this article but knew other men in similar circumstances would understand!

    Thanks Michelle, appreciate your comment. It's all in good fun as you say, and it just builds character if anything I think!

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