Guys! Be prepared! – “What you can expect when you’re a male nurse.”

canstockphoto6098958Guest Post by Matthew Morris

The field of nursing offers some incredible benefits.

These include; job stability, decent salaries and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

More and more men have decided to enter this field, and that’s a good thing.

But the truth is if you’re a male nurse, you’re going to stick out!

You’re going to face the same questions and the same issues again and again.

Here are some common experiences among nurses who happen to be male, including how they deal with them, and what they’ve learned.



You’re going to face some rejection

Believe it or not, but it is quite common for female patients to reject your care and ask for a female nurse.

Many female patients are uncomfortable discussing topics such as sexual function or toileting habits or getting catheterized by a male nurse.

It can be frustrating and even a little embarrassing when a patient requests for a different nurse.

There is a bit of a double standard here because male patients are not given the option to refuse nursing care from a female.

The rejection however, doesn’t seem so personal because in most cases, the female patient is asking for another nurse based specifically on the male nurse’s gender and not because of anything in particular that the male nurse has done.

Most administrators understand that some patients are going to immediately reject male nurses, and so they don’t see it as a mark against the male nurse’s performance.



You’re going to do more “heavy lifting” than your colleagues

If there is any physical labor that needs to be performed,  most commonly moving a patient, you’re going to be doing it!
Some male nurses are bothered by this while others take it in stride.

One male nurse I spoke to said, “If there is any physical labor involved such as moving or lifting a patient, I am the go-to guy.

Being the person always called to help move someone gets tiring, and I end up doing more work for the same amount of money than the female nurses.

But I guess that’s the case for women in almost every other job in America and other countries.

They do the same work but get paid less.”



You’re going to have to tell everyone, “You’re not going to medical school!”

One of the most common questions a male nurse will get asked is; “When are you going to medical school?”

Many people, including doctors, your friends, and even patients, will assume that a man’s job in nursing isn’t a career, but instead a stepping stone to a career as a doctor.

For those males who have found their calling as a nurse, answering that question again and again, for many years, can be a drag!

The question is very telling, in that it insinuates that society expects more professionally of men, than it does of women.



The good news is -Being a male nurse may open your mind a little bit

A lot of people in American culture have to overcome unfair stereotypes, and if you’ve never had to operate with someone stereotyping you, it can be an eye-opening experience.


One male nurse said, “I’ve never really been a minority in a group before, and I have to be honest, I hated it. If I messed up, everybody thought that my mess up represented male nurses everywhere. I really started to look at how women in predominantly male fields must be treated, and I imagine the treatment they got was a lot worse that what happened to me because what happened to me wasn’t really that bad, and it bothered me a lot!”
Many male nurses, particularly white men, who have to deal with fewer stereotypes become more sympathetic, and will give support to those who have to deal with stereotypes every day.



Finally, here’s a joke you can use

The bottom line is, nursing is an important profession, and no matter what your gender, it can be a long and rewarding career.

But being a nurse who is male can pose some challenges.

The biggest challenge, however, is the day-to-day questioning of your choices.

That can get tiring.

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So when a person asks, “Why did you decide to become a male nurse?” (And believe me; they are going to ask that)

You can reply:

“Because I kept getting turned down for the female nurse positions!”



About the writer

Matthew Morris is a hospital employee who also runs the CNA Career Agency website.

This site helps people explore careers as certified nurse assistants.
If you have not entered your name and email for more tips – go ahead today.



  1. Love the joke! But more importantly, LOVE the expansion of mindset that you offer. You are spot-on when you talk about cultural stereotypes based on gender. I myself was never a ‘girlie girl’ so I struggled in my own way being a tom-boy. But thank you for pointing out that in that struggle there are lessons to be learned. And the lesson is that by being a nurse as a male, you can thrive through and beyond those limitations that other people place on you. I found your post wonderful, thank you!

    • Matthew Morris says:

      Hi, Elizabeth—

      Thank you for the excellent comment! I think a lot of guys are a little surprised by the difficulties they face—especially those who enter the field of nursing after being employed elsewhere, where they didn’t face any limitations placed on them by others. I can’t speak for all males, but that’s my assumption!

      Thank you again for the comment!


  2. Matthew Morris says:

    Hi, Andy—

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend—but I’m grateful that he was able to touch the lives of so many patients. It sounds like he helped a lot of people.

    As for moving larger patients—yes, that definitely happens! It’s also common that a male nurse is requested to move medical equipment, and those machines can get pretty heavy as well. Most of the time, you’re happy to help, but sometimes when you’ve got a number of different patients to attend to, it can get difficult.

    Thank you for your comment!

  3. Andy says:

    Great article! My best friend was a male nurse and he’d tell me stories of how he’d be called upon to help move obese patients. Not the glamour part of the job for sure but he was very passionate about helping people. He passed away in his sleep from an irregular heart beat when he was only 33. He helped a lot of people before he left his Earth and I know his patients were grateful to have known him.