Dallas, TX (NursingSalary.org) – Gary Springfield, a graduated Registered Nurse from the Baylor University’s School of Nursing, is one of the approximately 9 percent male nurses in the United States. Every now and then, he gets put off by a patient: “Well no, thank you, please get me someone else.” Even though numbers are rapidly changing, Springfield is still in minority.
We are living truly enlightened times where most prejudice is dropped off. After all, this is the twenty-first century, as we like to say. However, a male nurse might still raise an eyebrow, to say the least, and the most common reaction is similar to WOAH look over there! That’s a GIRL playing FOOTBALL!
Despite the counterintuitive description of his occupation as a “male nurse” in times when we have dropped unnecessary epithets like “lady doctor” or “man teacher” for ages, Springfield manages to keep a positive attitude. “It was worse 30 years ago”, in says he in an interview for Dallas News.
Springfield began his career at a registered nurse in 1974, being one of the eight male graduates from his class. From his colleagues, he was the first to get his license as a registered nurse. Back then, statistics said that less than one percent registered nurses were men, and the figure hadn’t changed since the 1900’s.
Dallas News editor noticed, after a few minutes of talking to Springfield, that he possesses some sort of reassuring touch that gets even the most anxious and reluctant patients change their minds, regardless their cultural stereotypes and their beliefs that a nurse should, by definition, be a woman.
“I’d say, ‘Let me talk to them first,’ ” he said. “I’d tell them, ‘I am very, very interested in your getting better and in your health care needs.’ If I had that chance to talk with the patient first, I don’t remember ever being rejected.”
Last week, Springfield received an award from a statewide association of home-care and hospice organization, being “distinguished service in the nursing arts.”
As a final note, Dallas News mentions that
Springer said he didn’t encounter hostility from his female classmates in nursing school, even though he began studying years before the landmark Mississippi University for Women vs. Hogan decision, widely regarded as opening the doors of previously women-only nursing programs to men.