Why are there few Male Nurses and Midwives?

Male nurses vs Female nurses

The number of males in either the nursing or midwifery profession is quite low with midwifery having the lowest percentage of males when compared with other specialties in Nigeria.

Nursing: Males vs Females
More male nurses will definitely eliminate the myth that only women are meant to be nurses/midwives

There is a general assumption that nursing is female oriented. The average Nigerian can not imagine a male being called a midwife. This is also mirrored in our schools of nursing and midwifery as males are denied the opportunity of being trained to become a qualified nurse or midwife.

There is a circular put out by the Nursing and Midwifery council of Nigeria dated 29th January, 2021 urging schools and colleges of nursing to increase the admission numbers of male applicants. Without doubt, there have been cases of admission denial because the institution in question did not deem it appropriate for a male to enroll into the nursing or midwifery program giving the impression that males cannot study to become nurses or midwives in particular. 

There is a general assumption that nursing is female oriented.

Yours Truly was interested in studying to become a midwife some time ago but was met with disappointment when information from the training institution reached my eager ears that males cannot train to be midwives, most of all cannot practice. I was disappointed but then confused as I remembered one my lecturers in school said he was a midwife. We were struck dumb with that revelation! I remembered the murmuring and questions we asked him: “Do we have male midwives?” A firm “Yes!” was his answer and he went on to explain to us how he became a midwife. Being a graduate nurse, he had the option of choosing midwifery or public health nurse as a specialty (this is usually done by writing and passing the required licensure exams).

Unfortunately, other institutions (Hospital based training institution and monotechs) will deny males the opportunity to enroll into the program and this, I believe has prompted the Nursing council to issue this circular. The circular emphasizes on gender balance and discourages gender-based discrimination on admission for admission into nursing and midwifery programs. It is paramount that proprietors and program coordinators address this issue of misconception, and gender based discrimination in order to boost the not only the number of male nurse and male midwives but also the image of the profession as a whole.

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