The Cairns Post, 29th March 2003:
Not quite 10 percent of nurses are male (please don’t call us male nurses – we’re nurses, but happen to be male).
Like our female colleagues, we’re spread across all aspects of health. Blokes nursing in Cairns include Stephen in Intensive Care; Adrian and Denis who work with elderly people; Bill the midwife; Andrew in orthopaedics; Colin who runs a medical ward; Sean who visits new parents and their babies in their homes; Greg and Clif who work with people battling mental health problems; Andy does mostly policy and administrative stuff; Steve and Scott on the local crisis team, and Nick who has spent a fair bit of time nursing out bush and is currently back in town.
There’s plenty of blokes nursing locally not mentioned (sorry fellas), but you get the picture – we pop up everywhere.
So, why nursing? I won’t presume to speak for other nurses of either gender, but I can tell you what I like about the profession – I like being useful.
It’s a peculiar privilege being a nurse. Peculiar because, for all its different guises and specialities, the basic job description is the same – try to be useful to people. It’s a privilege because nursing offers an amazing level of responsibility and intimacy.
It might sound more convincing if it wasn’t coming from a bald bloke with a bit of a beer gut, but nursing is a nurturing profession. The nature of our relationships with patients is therapeutic, but first and foremost it’s a human relationship.
We often have the privilege of being with people at very important stages of their lives, and we get the opportunity to show that nurses can be professional, skilled and caring.
I’m sure it’s not unique to nursing, and it’s certainly not unique to nurses who are male, but let’s not forget that there are daily demonstrations of man’s humanity towards man.
Back in 2003 a journalist from The Cairns Post invited me to submit an article for the My Say column (a daily feature presenting the views of a cross-section of the community). The article’s reference to man’s inhumanity to man is in the context of current events at the time – it was published during the second week of the war in Iraq.
As I was identified as an employee of a local hospital, at the time of publication the content of the article had to be approved by the hospital’s media department. The media department approved the article without changes to content.
In 2003 I should have used the phrase “man’s humanity towards mankind” instead of “man’s humanity towards man”. Sorry. I was tempted to correct it in this 2014 version, but decided it was more authentic to leave the original unaltered.
Anyway, I stumbled across the very-low-resolution JPG version of the article today and thought it might be worth reprising. Man’s inhumanity towards mankind is still dominating the mainstream media. This is a tiny, inadequate bit of counter-balance.
As always, your feedback is welcome in the comments section below.
Paul McNamara, 26th October 2014
Short URL: meta4RN.com/men
McNamara, Paul (2003). Humanity to man. The Cairns Post, 29 Mar 2003, pg 19.