Happy Father’s Day Male Travel Nurses & All the Men Out There
Summer’s here travel nurses, and we hope you’re settling into your summer hot spot locations with plans for restaurants, touristic activities, and your new job with excitement and pleasure. This month, in honor of Father’s Day, we thought to bring attention to our travel nurses who are also fathers. Gender roles have long dictated career selection in our country, and while the majority of nurses in the country are still women, the number of nurses that are male is rising!
Florence Nightingale is heralded as the mother of nursing, and indeed she was responsible for much of the movement towards formalizing nursing as an institution and career. However, in the centuries prior to her life, nursing was actually a male-dominated field.
Facts About Men in Nursing
The first nursing school in the world dates back to 250BC in India, and was for men only.
During the Roman Empire, the nurses were men referred to as nosocomi.
The Knights Hospitallers was a military nursing order made up entirely of men during the Crusades in the 11th Century.
Men served as nurses during the Civil War.
In the late 1500s Italy, Camillus de Lellis a soldier and later priest formed a group of nurses to care for soldiers in battle, they would wear large red crosses on their robes.
Camillus de Lellis was canonized in 1746 and is known as a patron saint of the sick and nurses.
The U.S. Army formed the Nursing Corps but prohibited men from entry in 1901.
From 1977 to 2018, the number of male nurses increased drastically from just 27,000 to 310,000.
In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for a nursing school to deny entry to qualified male applicants.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), in 2021 12% of registered nurses were men.
Influential Men in the Nursing Field
We’ve written about the significant and lasting impact Florence Nightingale had on the field of nursing, but this month in honor of fathers who are nursing, we want to point out some of the influential men in the field of nursing.
Walt Whitman – Perhaps most famous as a poet from the Civil War, Mr. Whitman was also a nurse. He began nursing soldiers during the Battle of Fredricksburg in 1852 when his brother was wounded and he personally observed the needs of the battlefield hospital. What started as an impromptu response to being a nurse volunteer during the battle became his calling until the war ended. His poem, The Wound-Dresser, is moving prose sharing the grief and suffering of both patients and nurses. If you’ve never read it before, follow the embedded link to the title for a quick, free read. He managed to capture the somber reality of a war nurse.
Luther Christman – Mr. Christman was the first man to become dean of a nursing school. He also founded the American Association for Men in Nursing. He pushed for gender and racial diversity in the field and was part of the development and implementation of the Rush Model of Nursing.
Joe Hogan – Mr. Hogan is famous because his desire to be a registered nurse ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1981. He already had his associate’s degree in nursing, but he wanted to move forward in his chosen career to earn a bachelor’s degree. The nearest nursing school to where he lived was the Mississippi University for Women, they denied his application because he was not a woman, and Hogan went to court in 1979 citing a violation of his 14th Amendment right. Following the Court’s ruling, in 1982 Hogan went on to enroll 1982.
James Derham – Mr. Derham was born a slave in 1762 and had more than one owner who was a medical doctor. One of his owners encouraged him to pursue the medical field, and he worked as a nurse until his last owner either gave him freedom or allowed him to purchase his freedom. What we know of Derham is that while he never formally received a medical degree, he opened a medical practice in New Orleans after his freedom from slavery.
Cliff Morrison – Mr. Morrison was a hospital janitor at the impressionable age of 12 years old. At 17, he began working towards his associate’s degree in nursing, and instead of moving on to medical school as was socially expected of men in the medical field, he moved on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Morrison eventually moved from Florida to San Francisco, where he committed his efforts and knowledge to work with AIDS patients during the 1980s. In response to the stigmatization AIDS patients suffered, he set them up in their own ward of the hospital and developed a coordinated care model, the San Francisco Model that was adopted by other facilities as well, and is the subject of an award-winning documentary, 5B.
Ernest Grant – Mr. Grant is the first African-American man to earn a Ph.D. in Nursing and is also the first male nurse to be elected president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), which he presently serves as.
Support for Men in Nursing
Most male nurses report feeling supported and accepted by their mostly female nurse colleagues. However, the support for male nurses doesn’t stop at the work site. Men can join professional nursing organizations including the ANA. Moreover, there is a professional nursing organization, the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) that has launched campaigns in the past to encourage recruitment of men to the field of nursing and remains committed to identifying supports for men interested in entering the field.
To all our male travel nurses this month, whether you’re a father or not, we see you and appreciate the value you bring to the field of nursing. Thank you for following your own path instead of that which society expects of you.