Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Men and Nursing.
Forget what you thought about male nurses. Six percent of all nurses in the United States are men and they have hobbies that are as diverse as any other profession. In fact, Bill Stacy races in the Fastruck Racing Series in Florida on asplanlt tracks from Daytona Beach to Ocala. See his website at www.stacymotorsports.com
Men in Nursing -
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Related Issue: Male Teachers, Male Mid-Wives, Male Nurses, Male Moms
Men in Nursing - A History
During the Byzantine Empire nursing was a separate occupation
practiced primarily by men. In the New Testament, the good Samaritan
paid the innkeeper to provide care for an injured man. No one thought
it odd that a man should by paid to provide nursing care. Story of
the Good Samaritan found at: Luke 10: 35-36
In every plague that swept Europe men risked their lives to
provide nursing care. A group of men, the Parabolani, in 300 AD
started a hospital and provided nursing care during the Black Plague
Two hundred years later St. Benedict founded the Benedictine nursing order. St. Alexis was a fifth century nurse. The Alexian Brothers were organized in the 1300's to provide nursing care for the victims of the Black Death. Today both groups continue in their work.
Military, religious and lay orders of men continued to provide nursing care throughout the Middle Ages. Some of the most famous of these were the Knights Hospitalers, the Teutonic Knights, the Tertiaries, the Knights of St. Lazarus, the Order of the Holy Spirit, and the Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony.
Two patron saints of nurses stem from this period. St. John of God
and St. Camillus de Lellis both started out as soldiers, and later
turned to nursing. St Camillus started the sign of the red cross
which is still used today, and developed the first ambulance
Fray (Friar) Juan de Mena was the First American Nurse icnne.boisestate.edu/1stnurse.html
Seventy years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, Fray (Friar) Juan de Mena was shipwrecked off the south Texas Coast. He is the first identified nurse in what was to become the United States. Two lay brothers, Friar Juan de Mena and Friar Marcos de Mena, were badly wounded...
Friar Juan de Mena received an arrow in the back; and with other
Spaniards, he died after going a little more than a quarter of a
league. From the time this friar donned the habit in Santo Domingo of
Mexico, he lived an exemplary life. Among his virtues, especially
noteworthy was the humble charity with which he tended the sick. He
was Mexico's nurse, esteemed and praised for his diligence until the
time he was deceived, along with others, into leaving his province
for Spain and was led to his death.
John Ciudad (1495 -1550) founded the order of the brothers of St. John of God or the Brothers of Mercy in (1538). He opened a hospital in Grenada and asked a group of friends to assist in providing care to the mentally ill, homeless, crippled, derelicts, and abandoned children. Men of this order also visited the sick in their homes.
St. Camillus de Lellis (1550 -1614) founded the Nursing Order of
Ministers of the sick. Men of this order cared for the dying, people
stricken with the plague, and alcoholics. St. Camillus opened a
hospital for alcoholics in Germany.
James Derham was an African American man who worked as a nurse in
New Orleans in 1783. He was able to save enough money to buy his
freedom from slavery. He later studied medicine and became a
respected physician in Philadelphia and the first African American
physician in the United States.
In 1808, Lazaro Orranti and Martin Ortega were two men employed as the nurses at a hospital in San Antonio. The hospital employed only men as nurses.
A century later a sign above the door to the San Antonio hospital
nurses quarters stated "Entrance to No Mans Land."
In the middle 1800's England became embroiled in the Crimean War,
and the United States fought the Civil War. During the Civil War both
sides had military men serving as nurses although we only hear about
the Union volunteers, who were predominately female. The Confederate
Army identified thirty men per regiment to care for the wounded. The
Union also had men in the military serving as nurses. Men, including
Walt Whitman, served as volunteers.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892), poet and writer, served as a volunteer
hospital nurse in Washington, DC during the Civil War. He recorded
his experiences in a collection of poems called "Drumtaps" and in his
diary, "Specimen Days and Collect".
Prior to the Civil War both male and female slaves were identified as "nurses."
Victoria Clayton describes "old Joe" who was "my husbands
nurse in infancy" being entrusted with the care of the plantation,
while the white men of the plantation were fighting in the Civil
The wars decimated the male population of both England and the
United States. More men died in the Civil War than in any other war
in US history. Following the Civil War the United States went through
a tremendous expansionist period. It was the time of manifest
destiny. Besides the men who died in the war, many male survivors
In 1863, women physicians founded New England Hospital for Women and Children to provide medical and nursing education for women.
Three years later the Alexian Brothers opened up their first
hospital in this country. They educated men as nurses.
On March 10, 1890 the first nursing school in Texas started. It was proclaimed in the Galveston Daily News as "a new field in which educated women may find a means of support"
There were nursing schools for men. The Mills School for Nursing
and St. Vincent's Hospital School for Men were started in New York in
As the turn of the century drew near, female nurses started to
organize. In 1894, the Superintendents of Female Nursing Schools
gathered in New York for their first annual meeting. The Nurses
Associated Alumnae (note female form of Alumnus) of U. S. and Canada
had their first annual meeting in 1898. Delegates to the 1900
convention contained only one married woman and no men. The Nurses
Associated Alumnae became the American Nurses Association in 1917,
and men were excluded until 1930.
One of the early accomplishments of the female nursing
organizations was to exclude men from military nursing. In 1901 the
Army Nurse Corp was formed and only women could serve as nurses. The
U.S. military nursing changed from being predominately male to being
It was not until after the Korean War that men were again
permitted to serve as nurses in the military. During the intervening
decades men who were Registered Nurses enlisted and were drafted, but
were not assigned as nurses.
Once men were again permitted into military nursing, the numbers
also increased in civilian nursing. Nursing schools, which had denied
admission to men, began to admit them. Gradually the numbers of men
in nursing increased from less than one per cent in 1966 (ANA,
Research and Statistics Department) to the 1996 five per cent
(Division of Nursing.BHpr/HRSA/US DHHS).
Today men are resuming their historical role as caring, nurturing
nurses, just as some women are resuming their roles as physicians.
After a century as a predominately female profession nursing is
One group working to support and promote men in American nursing
is the American
Assembly for Men in Nursing.
Men In American Nursing History - This information was taken from Professional Nursing Practice, 4th ed. By Blais, Hayes, Kozier & Erb. www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/6011/ (last updated 11.5.97.)
More Men in Nursing
There are certain areas in hospitals (such as labor and delivery and nursing units) that are still closed to most male nurses. However, Ramon Lavandero, Director of the International Leadership Institute of Sigma Theta Tau International, had a very positive experience working in obstetrics. He was offered three positions in women's health care after graduation.
The American Assembly of Men in Nursing is a fairly new
organization which is open to both men and women who share "our
beliefs that nursing is a profession, not a gender-based profession,"
said Gene Tranbarger, President-Elect of the organization.
MaleNurseMagazine.com represents one of the corner stones to a growing list of resource that are dedicated to men in nursing. This site and its sister resources are not intended to create a gender gap or bias, rather to explore issues that are of concern to men in nursing and strategies to address these issues.
Nurselookup.com , where male nurses and other medical personal lounge.
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