Growing up, many young boys play superhero and dream of saving the world. In reality, nurses are as close to real-life superheroes as it gets. While the number of men in nursing is growing, they still represent less than 10 percent of the field. Men who choose careers in nursing often do so because of a strong desire to help others. In fact, there are many reasons why men find nursing is an excellent career choice.
Male nurses can earn a good living and enrich lives
Nursing is not just personally and professionally rewarding, it’s also lucrative. According to the U.S. National Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses (RNs) make about $77,000 per year. The top 10 percent of nurse earners make about $111,000 per year. Salary varies depending on experience, education, geography, and other factors.
“It’s all about people,” says Adetoyi Olatilo, BSN, RN, a clinical manager in Allentown, Pa., who has been with Maxim for 13 years. He thought about becoming a doctor or pharmacist, but ended up falling in love with home health nursing. “I love listening and helping people, especially those who can’t help themselves.”
Olatilo’s decision to become a home health nurse derived from his mother, Olajumoke Olatilo, who is a retired nurse in Nigeria, where he spent his childhood. “My mother was a very good nurse who treated everybody,” says Olatilo. Olatilo shares that in Nigeria, people cannot always afford medicine and medical supplies, so they would look for the best and cheapest way to get things done. His mother would invite sick people into their family’s home for treatment. “I can remember my mother sewing up someone’s hand in the house,” he says. People who were suffering with malaria would come for anti-malaria injections.
Enjoy flexibility and honest company
You can be a nurse anywhere. Nurses work in doctor’s offices, schools, hospitals, homes, skilled nursing facilities, and more. What’s more, travel nurses are nurses who accept short-term assignments all over the country, allowing them to meet new people and have different experiences.
Nurses make a real difference. They give comfort and emotional support to people during the best and worst moments of their lives. Nurses provide education and advocate on the patient’s behalf.
Nursing remains the most trusted profession in the U.S., significantly more so than doctors, teachers, and police officers. Why do people trust nurses? According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 85 percent of Americans perceive nurses as ethical and honest.
Male nurses bring diversity and adaptability
Men bring a different perspective. They tend to be solution-oriented, which works well in home health nursing, where you are working one-on-one with a patient and family. It’s important for male patients to have representation in home health nursing so that their needs are fully met.
You might be one of the only men in your nursing school, and that’s OK. Always be professional and work to make patients and families feel comfortable. “Create trust by talking with patients and family members about what you’re doing, what you’re going to do. Be honest and follow up when you say will,” says Olatilo. Qualities like patience, compassion, and advocacy are important in nursing, because not every person is at the same level of understanding in terms of health literacy.
The hardest part about nursing is not what you’d think. Every job has its ups and downs. A lot of people assume that the hardest thing about being a nurse is dealing with bodily fluids and smells. For Olatilo, it’s actually the unpredictability of human beings that makes the job challenging. “Sometimes, there is something a patient is supposed to be doing and they’re not doing it,” he says.
Part of a nurse’s challenge is to work with a person on compliance of a desired behavior such as taking medication. This requires nurses to employ high skills in empathy, interpersonal communication, and even logistics management for some patients who lack the resources to do what is necessary to take care of themselves.
“Good nurses are problem solvers,” says Olatilo. “Change is inevitable, and so you must be able to quickly adapt.”
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