Nursing profession is one of those professions that was monopolized by the female sex during the early stage of global civilization. This domination was justified by the fact that women and the profession share a similar quality "caring". However, "nursing" has proved to be a profession for the both sexes since the modern age. There is a statement "what a man can do a woman can do better". There is some truth to that statement, after all nowadays women are scattered all over every work of life. But as the case may be, some individuals have always said that nursing profession is not meant for the male folks, this made me to exhume an old saying "a man is not a man when he cannot do a job which a woman is capable of handling". Women are capable of doing the nursing job but till date, some men who would have loved to be nurses keep shying away from the profession.
Such men are trapped on the above mentioned adage, they are not worthy to be called men, hence they end up as the critics who criticize the male nurses out of sheer jealousy and the feeling of inferiority. Probably, I am not the only male student nurse in a country like ours where nursing is predominantly a female's profession who had gone through humiliation from patients in the ward, insults from students in the university environment and discrimination from the female colleagues. But I am definitely one of those who picked up his pieces and built strength out of experience. Those ugly experiences I had those days when I had to exit the nurse’s room so often for the female nurses probably because they wanted to change their uniforms. Those times when I was left with very few male friends because only few males are seen around the nursing department. Those days when I had to wear my uniform from home to hospital and from ward to classes hearing fellow students calling me names like "security man" and "gate man" because of the nature of my uniform. Those hot afternoons when I had to put on the lab coat atop my uniform which is a coat on its own. Those long discussions I had to endure from my few friends who would strongly and abusively suggest that i opt out and go for medicine and surgery.
Those regular questions I had to answer on daily basis from almost everybody on why I chose to become a nurse. All these moments made me strong because I accepted them on good fate and converted them to the source of my strength. There were days not too long ago when I had to go home from school every day regretting my decision of becoming a nurse. I thought I made the worst decision of my life by choosing to be a nurse.As they say, expression of thoughts relieves the mind , I set out on the quest to unburden my mind and to seek clarification on what seemed to be the worst choice of my life.Through the use of social network I was able to meet some senior colleagues who gave me several advices and told me that a lot of opportunities await me abroad as a male nurse.
Though their advices helped, I have grown to understand that traveling abroad to practice after studies is not worthy to be a choice for every nigerian trained nurse. We can reshape the image of the nigerian nursing profession. If we all travel abroad, nursing profession in nigeria will suffer a retarded growth.To aspiring student nurses, do not study nursing because you want a better life abroad or because you want to marry a better husband/wife, you may be disappointed. Do not study nursing for what you stand to gain, think about the good thing that you can bring to the profession. Remember, years ago providence chose certain males for this profession and fortunately you are among.The discrimination you are facing at the moment prepares you for bright moments. Sooner or later you will look back at this ugly moments and recall them with fondness because after the experience comes the strength. To my male friends out there who are going through hard times because people think you do not fit in to the profession, do not be discouraged! Make my experience your strength.
Obilo uchechukwu kingsley is a Registered Public health nursing student at University of Port Harcourt at Nigeria
Obilo uchechukwu kingsley