The Nursing profession seems to be changing in society. More and more males are entering diploma and baccalaureate programs. Although the percentage is low, " it is estimated that of the 1.8 million "working" registered nurses, only 5.7 percent were men," (S. Boughn, 1994), and these numbers seem to be rising. As the number of males in nursing increase so do the questions and queries pertaining to the male nurse. Some of these queries include: Why do men choose nursing? Are there advantages for men in nursing? Are there any gender issues that pertain to caring? In the following paper, I will help to answer the three above mentioned questions.

A good starting point would be to analyze the reasons why men choose nursing as a career. It is believed that men get into the profession for all the same reasons women do. To be more specific S. Boughn (1994), states three main reasons why men enter nursing: " psycho-social motivation as defined as the desire to care for others; practical motivation, specifically as related to job security and salary; and feelings of power and empowerment." Contrary to societal views about males and caring, the masculine gender does have a sensitive side. For example, many men like nursing because of the satisfaction that comes from helping others or from saving a life. I can relate to some of the male nurses views. I find extreme pleasure from helping others and it is good to know that I am going to be in a profession where I can help others daily.

Another reason males choose nursing relates to job security and salary. For many men, nursing just isn't a job, it is recognized as a career. " The nearly $40,000 a year that the average nurse takes home is attractive to many men,"(T. Squires, 1995). This is one of the reasons I entered nursing, but not the main reason. With any career choice, I have to consider pay and security for practical reasons. Nursing has a good salary and there is always going to be a need for nursing. Since I am a minority I nursing, I think that it will be a little easier finding myself a career in this profession. Although job security and money are practical reasons for choosing nursing, one must clearly relate these issues to the desire to care for others.

The third theme that emerges for male nurses is that of feeling powerful and empowered in nursing. For example, many male nurses feel empowered in a way that they stepped up and broke the gender barrier that surrounds nursing. Personally speaking, I find that the knowledge I gain and the friends I meet will also cater towards becoming empowered. I believe that empowering is taking control of my life, and to be able to make critical decisions about the way I want to live my life. It is about taking a look at myself on the inside and developing a self-confidence level where I am comfortable with my choices, values, and my decision making abilities.

Male nurses also like the feeling of power. Many male nurses believe that responsibility and respect will earn them power. They want to be looked upon as professionals, and the respect that goes along with their profession. In addition, " male nurses looked forward to the power they would enjoy in practice," (S. Boughn, 1994). Traditionally males choose the aggressive areas of nursing such as ICU, or ER. The men believe that these "aggressive" areas lead to a better status and a felling of being in a position of power. I do not necessarily the aggressive areas lead to power. I think that a nurse can have power in any position he/she may be in, even if it is not one of the aggressive areas. It is about doing my job to the best of my ability and to give 100% of my self to the patient. I believe that giving yourself to the patient leads to a respected power. In review, men choose nursing for the same reasons women do: the caring, the challenge, the satisfaction, and, sometimes, the money.

Men are the minority in nursing, but do males "care" any differently than their female counterparts? B. Paterson (1996) suggests,