Take a look on any stock photography website and search for the word “nurse”, what do you see? Lots of images of healthcare professionals in different settings, but overwhelmingly most of the images will feature women instead of men.
Why is this?
It’s not for obvious reasons like appearance or even because women tend to do the nursing profession more often than men.
Rather, it’s because there are more women in nursing than men.
Nursing Qualifications: What Are They?
The difference between registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) is one of eligibility for entrance into the profession in America. Most countries have some kind of national qualification organization set up to standardize nursing qualifications across the country. This organization will set the standards for training, licensing, and specialization for that country’s nurses.
The term “nurse” will generally refer to someone who has been awarded a license and is qualified to practice nursing in that country.
In America, the two main organizations are the American Nurses Association (ANA) and National League for Nursing (NLN). While their criteria differ slightly, most nurses will be able to work in both; however, they will be limited by what they can do within that particular country and at their particular level of qualification.
As a side note, qualifications for nursing are changing and becoming a lot more accessible with the advent of online learning. If you’d like to find out more about doing an online nursing qualification, check out this link from Carson-Newman University for more information.
Why Do Women Make Good Nurses?
One reason put forward for women being naturally good in the professional nursing fields is that nurses have seen the worst and most horrific parts of human society, and they’re better able to heal the wounds left behind.
Women, on average, are more empathetic than men, which can provide a much-needed respite to the hard-working and often stressed-out nurses. Women also tend to have a higher threshold for pain, so they’re better equipped for the physical aspect of the profession.
Being compassionate and empathetic also makes it easier to work with more demanding patients, which is an important factor when someone is trying to care for another person.
There are also fewer social barriers for women at present in the professional nursing fields, so there’s less of a backlash for them. Men may be likely be seen as being more dominant and threatening toward their patients than women; that said, this is changing with time as men become more involved in the profession.
Professionalizing Nursing Careers
The recent issues with the Coronavirus and medicine taking a decidedly more scientific route have lead many to notice that the nursing profession needs to change its image. Many of the stereotypes surrounding healthcare professions are changing, and nursing is no exception.
Instead of nurses being seen as mere hands to do the medical work, they’re increasingly being recognized for their skills and knowledge in a professional capacity. In fact, many people are seeking out nursing careers because they have a desire to help people in a truly valuable way.
The problem with the stigma of nursing is that some people only see it as a lesser profession than medicine or other more scientifically-driven fields when in reality, it’s one of the most demanding careers around.
In fact, many people are put off by the image and a lot of the nursing profession’s stereotypes.
More women than men will eventually have to decide whether they’d prefer to be a nurse or if they want to “go pro” in one of the other highly-reputed medical fields. It’s interesting to note that a lot of people who want to become nurses actually fail in their exams the first time around.
Nursing as a Well Paid Career
The pressure is on for nurses to begin earning more money and being recognized for their skills and qualifications so that those who choose this profession can see some real value in it.
Traditionally, nurses were low-paid and seen as disposable in some clinical practices, but this is a view that is rapidly changing. In fact, nurses have been campaigning for better pay and better working conditions for a long time.
Professionalizing the career path of a nurse has meant the creation of entirely new areas of nursing that are less about hands-on practical care and more about being a specialist in that particular field.
The gap between these roles is becoming increasingly narrow, with many nurses now following specialist paths as well as doing their core duties. Additionally, nurses who are further qualified will be able to move into managerial roles within the professional nursing fields.
This can provide a whole variety of opportunities and career paths for nurses who want to move up in their field; they can even become involved in research or teaching at universities once they have enough experience.
Governance and Social Change
Nurses are being increasingly called upon to change legislation within medicine due to their traditionally hands-on approach to patient care, so that’s something else to consider if you’re thinking about joining the professional nursing field.
Nurses have to take the initiative, and a lot of the social changes we’ve seen recently have come from nurses being on the front line with their patients. It’s also becoming common for nurses to be used in advertising campaigns for health awareness, such as breast cancer awareness.
The Future of Nursing Careers: Where is This Going?
One of the major issues surrounding nursing is that it has a history rooted in humankind going back thousands of years.
In those times, women were seen as having more compassion than men, and they were also actively involved in childbirth. This meant caring for the sick was something that was naturally associated with women.
The profession has traditionally been seen as a female domain, and it’s only in recent times that men have become more involved in nursing at all. This is an interesting phenomenon because, while we’re seeing an increase in more men entering the profession, there are still far more women than men doing nursing courses.
Will this change in the future? It definitely seems like it is going forward.