Men in Nursing

Topics: Nursing, Florence Nightingale, Nurse Pages: 6 (1951 words) Published: November 7, 2009

The following essay will look into the history of nursing; it will be looking at where men fit into nursing history and will draw upon some examples of men in the role of nursing it will then move forward to times where men began to disappear from the nursing role and reasons why. The effects that Florence Nightingale had to the changes of nursing will also be investigated. Caring as an art and the science in nursing will also be discussed and how men are perceived and finally how nurses contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community.

The Profession of nursing dates back to ancient times ‘many individuals provided what would now be considered nursing care to the sick. It is likely that this care was provided in the home, though we have few written records about this activity or about those who provided this care.’ (O’Lynn & Tranbarger, 2007 p9) ‘The first known trained individuals to provide nursing care were men who were supervised by male physicians during the Hippocratic period of ancient Greece.’ (O’Lynn cited christman, 1988b: Davis&Bartfay, 2001). The nurses of early times were men not woman, as woman were seen as having duties in the home and there was much restriction in what woman were allowed to do. In saying this, the actual role the men undertook has been related back to that of an ambulance nurse of today – and that woman were the ones to assist in the ongoing care of patients in the home. The first known formal school of nursing was started in India about 250 B.C.E. only men were admitted to the school, as woman were not considered “pure” enough to serve in this role (O’Lynn cited Wilson 1997) ‘In the 3rd century B.C.E., King Asoka mandated that hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleanliness, ventilation, and comfort. The nurses working in these hospitals were almost always male.’ O’Lynn cited Nutting & Dock, 1935 Wilson, 1997).

(Men’s stuff cited The Charaka Vol I, Section xv) states these men should be, "of good behaviour, distinguished for purity, possessed of cleverness and skill, imbued with kindness, skilled in every service a patient may require, competent to cook food, skilled in bathing and washing the patient, rubbing and massaging the limbs, lifting and assisting him to walk about, well skilled in making and cleansing of beds, readying the patient and skilful in waiting upon one that is ailing and never unwilling to do anything that may be ordered. These are all specifications that are still in use in today’s working environment – we will investigate the changes to the caring of patients further on.

Men were also largely associated with nursing in war times in ‘ancient Rome nursing care was provided to soldiers, initially wounded soldiers were cared for in tents or private buildings by old men and woman, However military hospitals were established and male nurses were employed in them’ (O’Lynn 2007 p21)

Men started to disappear from nursing before the Florence nightingale era due to the ‘decline in the number of monasteries and the increase of convents during the renaissance’. (O’Lynn 2007 p24) also hospitals became undisciplined and of poor quality, the status of and the respect for nurses and consequently the pay plummeted and as such the low status low pay positions were generally given to woman. And the final and most probably the largest reason for the decline to the men in nursing was due to the industrial Revolution. Florence Nightingale plays a large role in the domination of woman in nursing due to the way the male physicians and hospital administrators allowed the conditions to become so poorly. “This fact contributed to Nightingales view that woman, by nature, were better suited for organizing, performing, and supervising the nursing care of the sick.” (O’Lynn 2007 p24) Florence then began the task of employing and training middleclass woman to take over the role of nursing.

Caring within nursing has changed a lot since the...
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