Male nurse. The term is not an oxymoron. Nor are we morons for choosing nursing as a profession. And no, we didn’t become nurses because we failed our “doctor’s test” or because we have some complex about who we are as men. In fact, male nursing has been around for a long time. It’s only in recent years that it was considered strange for a man to choose to work as a nurse. Take a look at this timeline history of male nursing:
300 - The Parabolani, a group of men, founded a hospital so that they could provide nursing care during the Black Plague.
1300 - St. Alexis started the Alexian Brothers - a group of men that provided nursing care for the poor and underprivileged.
1538 - John Ciudad founded the order of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God and cared for the needy. Today, Ciudad’s order runs over 250 hospitals and health centers in nearly 50 countries.
1783 - James Derham was an African American male nurse in New Orleans. He saved up enough money to buy his freedom from slavery and eventually became the first African American physician in the U.S.
1859 - Jean Henry Dunant worked as a nurse and helped to found the International Red Cross. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
1862-1865 - Walt Whitman serves as a nurse in the Civil War. His experiences inspired his writings - “The Wound Dresser,” “Drumtaps,” “Specimen Days,” and “Collect”.
1988 - St. Vincent’s Hospital School for Men and The Mills School of Nursing were founded for men. These schools were specifically meant to train male nurses and physicians.
1901 - The United States Army Nurse Corp was formed. Nursing went from being a male-dominated profession to being exclusively female.
1955 - After the Korean War men were once again allowed to serve as military nurses.
1979 - Joe Hogan applied to earn his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the only local school to offer such a degree - Mississippi University for Women. He was denied admission because of his gender, so he sued and the case went to trial. In the end, Hogan won. Today, any publicly funded schools for nursing are not allowed to bar men from admission.
2000s - About 6% of working nurses are male. In the army, however, 35% of nurses are male. The overall shortage of nurses is prompting more and more men to consider the field as a career choice.
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