The definition of nursing is most popularly considered a career in which a medical knowledge and nursing degree is required. The profession itself entails the act of providing care for the ill or wounded and assisting doctors with administering care and treatment. Nursing has been traditionally a women’s profession although men are increasingly entering this profession worldwide. The nursing profession is mostly a female dominated profession that men find hard to break into. The movement of men into nursing has been slow, whereas women have been taking male-dominated professions. Some examples of professions that women are moving into are law, business, medicine and dentistry with support from both men and women. But there is little support for men who choose to enter the nursing profession that is mainly dominated by women.
The first known trained individuals to provide nursing care were men who were supervised by male physicians. Back in ancient Greece, woman stayed and worked in the home and the males took care of patients. The first nursing school founded in India around 250 BC, was where only men were considered pure enough to become nurses. They would not allow women admission because they were not pure enough to serve as a nurse. Some of the training that they performed was cooking, bathing, bed making, physical therapy, caring for patients, and to be obedient to physicians. (1) In 300 A.D. a group of men called the Parabolani started a hospital that provided nursing care during the Black Plague epidemic. Military and non-military nursing orders cared for the sick and abandoned and they buried the dead. The disappearance of men in nursing hit during the Protestant Reformation. The reason why men left the nursing profession at this time was that they were employed by monasteries, convents and hospitals that were staffed by religious orders that closed their doors, leaving the nurse no place to practice. The government put a stop to the military nursing orders and diminished them due to lack of funding and political funding and instability. Men did continue to nurse the injured in hospitals, but when it came to intimate care for men was needed they would call on nuns as nurses. They did not want to perform those tasks.
The first European nurse to step on American soil was Friar Juan de Mena. He was shipwrecked off the south Texas coast, seventy years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The Crimean War started in 1853, and the pioneer of nursing Florence Nightingale arrived on the scene. She was considered the first modern female nurse. Florence had a big influence in the demise of men in the nursing profession. She was responsible for more of a female dominance in nursing. Florence Nightingale “believed ha nursing was a natural extension of the caring role of women and mothers, and for that reasons to be a woman was to be a nurse”. (2) She felt that women were more superior then men in the area of emotional caring. But there were social changes that were underway before Nightingale’s influence.
Some of the social changes were that nursing became a low status and pay job that was left to women. The Industrial Revolution helped with the reduction of men in the nursing field. Both the Crimean War and the U.S. Civil ward decreased the male population. With the decrease in men to help with the labor, many women were unable to continue farming at home and moved to the cities and became matrons in military hospitals. The military used men as nurses.
In 1888 the Mills School for Nursing and St. Vincent Hospital School for Men were founded in New York. The Pennsylvania hospital opened a school for female nurses in 1914 and also opened a men’s only nursing school. In 1901, The Army Corps was formed. The military nursing changed from predominately male to all female. At this time only females could serve as nurses. During WWI and WWII is when the nursing shortages were reported and women were offered...
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