By Josephine Reid
There are many negative connotations regarding Indian men in the nursing field, starting with accusations of female patients claiming their discomfort of male nurses due to the perception of them being “heavy lifters”. Usually, women do not prefer to have the assistance of male nurses during delivery, antenatal, post-natal and labor ward for care, which makes it extremely difficult to impart the training to male candidates.
Earlier, this profession was considered a female’s profession due to their nurturing nature. Nursing is often perceived as a “woman's work” and male nurses are seen to be patient-unfriendly toward women.
There is a rationale that male nurses are beneficial in a few areas, usually those that require particular physical strength or where they would be less vulnerable. Male nurses are not allowed to care for pregnant women or new mothers, presumably because women would be embarrassed or afraid. There are several hospitals that have not opened their doors to male nurses. However, progress is being made and new developments are stemming away from this rationale.
Aspiring male nurses now have 30% of seats in nursing colleges, which increased from 10% in one part of India. Nursing has always been perceived as women dominated profession, however, we are seeing an increasing interest among men in this field, which is often fueled by the high pay and the growing opportunity to migrate to the West.
The social composition of aspiring migrants among Indian nurses is becoming more diverse. The scope of this growth, job security in the government sector and promising salary help men overcome the embarrassment of working as a nurse. When male nurses were registered with the Maharashtra Nursing Council (MNC), the count has doubled to from 578 to 1,038 in 2015 across the state.
Male nurses, or “Brothers” as they are called in the Indian profession, are making small but sure steps toward reversing this regressive attitude. Young men have successfully lobbied for a larger slice of a stronghold of 'Sisters' (female nurses).