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Reply #243: Newsflash: Men Taking Over Nursing Profession [View All]

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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-05 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #82
243. Newsflash: Men Taking Over Nursing Profession
>>There are more women nurses than men nurses. Why? Caring for people and doing what nurses do seems to come more naturally for women. They have built in nurturing instincts as men have protective instincts naturally in their make-up.<<

I believe women are currently more numerous than men in most levels/certifications/specialties of the nursing profession. However, in a number of certifications/specialties, men are rapidly overhauling them, and in the profession as a whole the percentage of men is steadily increasing.

My spouse oversees five health care programs/facilities and the majority of the nurses they employ are male. Furthermore, as the nursing shortage becomes more acute, a good many hospitals are turning to the overseas market and "importing" nurses from other countries, the majority of them male. In a number of developing and newly-industrialized nations, nursing is still considered a male profession, as it requires levels of education and (ahem) scientific skills that women are presumed not to have.

The health care facility my HMO grudgingly permits me to patronize also employs a good many male nurses. One of the most popular nurses on the staff is male. He is extremely nurturing, with a relaxing manner and superb social skills, setting even difficult and anxious patients at ease. (Oh, and --by the way-- before someone makes the assumption, no, he's not gay. He's married and has a family, whose pictures he proudly shows off once he gets to know you.)

It's pretty well-established by now, and I have no quarrel with the data, that many women tend to solve problems in certain ways; and many men tend to solve them in other ways. Both men and women, however, can solve problems, even the same problems, reaching accurate and/or useful and/or productive solutions using their differing methodologies.

Any yes, physiologically, many women tend to find some types of activity easier and/or more congenial, and many men tend to find other types of activities easier and/or more congenial. However, there is a sufficient range of aptitudes among both genders to make it dangerous to formulate absolute standards or even to generalize to liberally. And it would be well to remember that the relative values of gender-linked activities and accomplishments are social constructs, not absolutes.

Please let's not confuse empirical data and well-documented research with the artifacts of social and cultural patterns. Because many men tend to use linear thinking patterns more often than nonlinear patterns doesn't mean that all men are incapable of, or even less competent at, using nonlinear patterns for situational analysis and problem-solving. Because many women tend to use nonlinear patterns more often than linear patterns, doesn't mean that women "lack aptitude" for linear patterns.

In fact, let's not confuse empirical data that can be accurately measured and reliably linked to specific causation, with research that documents the existence of phenomena without being able to establish causation. An example of the former would be hormones present in greater quantities in men or women, and the effects of those specific hormones on things like orthopedic development in puberty. An example of the latter would be the prevalence of linear and non-linear cognition patterns appearing at higher rates in males and females.

We know comparatively little about the brain and its physiology, and how brain physiology interacts with environmental and social stimuli during human development. The quality of "plasticity" --the ability of the brain to adapt and re-pattern itself-- is strongest in childhood and diminishes with age. All we know is that both physiological and environmental stimuli affect how the brain develops. And as long as we treat girls differently than boys (a demonstrated and prevalent human behavior pattern,) during the time when the human brain is at its most plastic, it will be impossible to establish physiological causation for almost any brain function.

We are still less than halfway through the process of providing women with full social, economic, and political equality, even in the most developed nations. The best we can say is that some of us, individually and in our social groups, do a better job of trying than others. The process (like any good developmental process) involves experimentation, and it is necessary for us to make errors, go down blind alleys, overcorrect, etc. Some of our most valuable lessons and developments come from our mistakes.

I'm deeply grateful for some of the progress women have made since my childhood (yes, my high school class was the first to permit girls to take shop and boys to take home economics.) I'm dubious about the long-term value of other progress. I'm frustrated and disappointed in our lack of progress (and even regression) in some areas. On the other hand, there have been some unexpected successes and quantum leaps, too. I honestly don't know if we'll ever reach a point where we can say women have achieved full social, political, economic and cultural parity with men. But until we do, we will never know what differences are inherent and what differences are forced upon us by a cultural matrix formed on the basis of inequality.

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