Sydney Nursing School: are you a man who cares?

22 August 2012

Men make up a small but growing portion of nurses.
Men make up a small but growing portion of nurses.

With university application closing dates approaching, Sydney Nursing School will host a 'Men in Nursing' lecture at the University of Sydney's Open Day to encourage men to considering an extremely rewarding career in nursing.

"At the age of 18 when I started nursing, I used to walk around the hospital thinking I was the luckiest man alive. It was exactly the environment I wanted to be in and doing the work I wanted to do," says Dr Tom Buckley, Course Coordinator of the Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) program at the University of Sydney.

While only approximately 10 percent of registered nurses in Australia are men, 16 percent of Sydney Nursing School's student population are male - a number the faculty hopes will increase in future.

Despite this imbalance being fairly constant in the profession over the past two decades, Associate Professor Murray Fisher, who has undertaken considerable research into men's experiences within the nursing profession, says this is something that can change.

"There are some barriers you may have to overcome but the first step is to pursue the career you really want. Everything else becomes easier from here," Fisher says.

Fisher acknowledges men may face obstacles when considering nursing as a profession but that there also many rewards for men in nursing.

"We all have a mental picture of what a nurse is and does, and what a nurse should be, but this isn't necessarily a legitimate portrayal.

"Nursing is always meaningful and being a nurse is a very privileged position. Men get into nursing for the same reasons as women - they want to care and want to help."

Tom Schrader, a final-year student of the combined nursing program who left his corporate sales position to study nursing, says: "Men in nursing have a skill set that is very valuable in the clinical situation. This helps to balance the hospital experience for patients - who are both men and women.

"Nursing is a career with so many options, you can literally create your ideal job. I remind nursing students to think outside the box and the world will become your oyster."

Associate Professor Fisher also says that aside from the opportunities, nursing offers job stability. Employment for Registered Nurses is anticipated to grow very strongly in the next four to five years according to the Government's Job Outlook Statistics.

"The whole health workforce is changing," adds Dr Buckley. "Whenever I teach at the University, I am pleased to see how many men are in the classes, which for me takes gender out of the issue."

Dr Tom Buckley, Associate Professor Murray Fisher, and Tom Schrader will all be speaking at the 'Men in Nursing - are you a man who cares?' lecture at the University of Sydney's Open Day, this Saturday 25 August.

Event details

What: 'Men in Nursing - are you a man who cares?' lecture, part of the University of Sydney's Open Day

When: 2pm, Saturday 25 August

Where: Mallett Street Campus, Camperdown. See map and directions

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