Men in Nursing Forum hailed a success!


The Men in Nursing forum held on October 18th was a huge success.

Around 29 men attended the event, both nursing students and nurses. Others who could not attend expressed strong interest in being involved in future events.

Brett Holmes opened the event with a warm welcome from the NSWNA and a talk about his own nursing experience.

Other speakers included:

  • Brett Holmes, NSWNA General Secretary – ‘My Career in Nursing and Midwifery.”
  • Tom Schrader, President, Sydney University Society for Men in Nursing – ‘Promoting Men in Nursing and Developing Strategies for Future Forums.’
  • Murray Fisher, RN/PhD Senior Lecturer Sydney Nursing School – ‘Masculinities and Men in Nursing.’
  • Charles Linsell, Retired Mental Health Nurse – ‘History, Barriers, and Stereotypes for Males in Nursing.’
  • Phillipe Millard, Recruitment and Liasion Officer NSWNA, and Tom Schrader – ‘Discussion and Ideas, where to from here?’

Some of the key points that came up were:

  • The desire for an all day forum around men in nursing on the education calendar.
  • This was almost unanimously supported in a questionnaire given to all who attended on the night.
  • NSWNA has 10.5% male membership with 19.9 % of the delegates being men in nursing. Pre-empting a request for the NSWNA to be promoting men in nursing in advertising.
  • Increase in information to young men about the rewarding career opportunity nursing provides. Promoting men in nursing to school leavers.

Feedback was that the keynote speakers were enjoyable and informative.

The large majority of men (90-95%) who attended the forum offered to get involved with the promotion of men in nursing.

You can find our blog series on Men in Nursing here. To view photos of the event click here.

Are you a male nurse who attended or wished to attend the forum? What did you get out of it?

How would you like to see Men in Nursing promoted?

Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section!

Image credit: NSWNA

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  1. It has been interesting to read the various articles relating to male nurses and their experiences. My reply to this article of “Men in Nursing” would have to include some factors about myself so that what I intend to say has some relevance to the topic.

    I just turned 51 a couple of weeks back which indicates I have been around for some years. I do have three children who are now young adults themselves, and became divorced in 2005. When I first commenced nursing in aged care in2002 as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) I did on one occasion have a female (AIN) say, “why on earth would a male become a nurse?” “a lot of us female nurses think males who become nurse’s must be gay”. I didn’t respond to her comments at the time as I was just finishing off writing some progress notes and about to head off back home. It is now almost 2012 which equates to ten years of nursing and studying to which that was the only occasion a female questioned me about being a male nurse. The gender issue has never really affected me over the last ten years.
    Prior to nursing I had worked for State Rail NSW over a 14 year period in what was viewed by past generations as being a male dominated workforce. I recall when I was working as a freight guard in the 1980s that females were being trained into positions as guards for freight and passenger trains not to mention females becoming train drivers as well. In that 14 year period of working for State Rail I cannot remember hearing or seeing any negative comments or views about females becoming guards or drivers. I have worked on locomotives that were operated by female drivers and they were just as good at the male ones in my opinion.

    Nursing is a similar situation seeing males come into what was a female dominated profession. What is important is delivering best practice patient/resident outcomes which either the female or male can do together effectively.

    I must admit that I do have a great admiration for the female nursing profession especially when reading about the history relating to the military nursing roles and experiences they have endured. Living in Canberra and studying the BA of Nursing at the University of Canberra (UC) one does get to visit places like the Australian War Memorial which have a variety of information regarding the nursing involvement in past wars. Reading books like “Tears on my Pillow” by Narelle Biedermann that showed the life and trauma experienced by 43 Australian Army nursing sisters who went to Vietnam between April 1967 and November 1971. Their experiences of serving in military hospitals in a war zone with little advanced preparation particularly as clinicians with exposure to trauma, critical care, and theatre are ones etched into our Australian history. Recently I joined the Defence Force Academy Library at Duntroon as I found out I could become a courtesy member due to being a nursing student at UC. I borrowed a book called “The Forgotten Woman” by G. Robinson (1989) which relates to the nurses who served during World War one which provides a good insight to what the Australian female nurses endured all those years ago.

    Would these experiences and history be jeopardised now that males have entered the nursing profession? My answer would be no I don’t think it would. I am confident that the female nurses would also agree as today in the Australian Defence Force we do have male nursing professionals working alongside the female nursing professionals.

    An extract from the “The Forgotten Woman” has some relevance today by a nursing sister called Laura Grubb who lived in Hobart Tasmania before heading off to Salonika in Greece. The wounded soldiers from Gallipoli were shipped to the military hospital in Salonika to which Sister Grubb said that most of their time was taken up in writing bits of paper and documentation rather than spending quality time with the wounded (page 116).

    In conclusion Australia needs nurses in so many areas so it is a good profession to belong to that provides secure employment for all.


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