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Conference to look at lack of male nurses in Scotland

The Royal College of Nursing Scotland event aims to bust myths around the profession.

The reasons why so few men are entering the nursing profession are to be explored at a conference in Glasgow.

Scotland’s largest nursing trade union is holding the event on Tuesday at Glasgow Caledonian University, looking at the myths around male nursing.

The free Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland event will examine the challenges to getting more men into the profession as well as possible solutions.

While perceptions of the profession among men have improved, the number working in nursing remains low, with men accounting for less than 10% of applicants to nursing courses.

A report by four Scottish universities earlier this month found the percentage of male nursing students has hardly changed in the last decade.

The ‘Men in Nursing’ study commissioned by the NHS, led by Dundee University researchers with help from Edinburgh, West of Scotland and Robert Gordon universities, found the profession was broadly still seen as a “female job”.

Others interviewed in the study cited a lack of male role models in the profession, or a lack of men in recruitment material, as barriers to entry.

But the research also found the perception of nursing as a worthwhile career was cited by many men as a motivating factor in choosing to join the profession, which is generally viewed as stable and with opportunities for development.

The report recommends a “gender-neutral rebranding of nursing” along with “more narratives showcasing positive male nursing role models”.

Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director, said: “Nursing is a rewarding and exciting career and it’s really important that we encourage as many people as possible into the profession.

“The growing demands on health services mean that more nurses with the right level of complex decision-making and technical skills are urgently needed.

“The shortage of men applying means we are losing out on many talented future nurses.”

She added: “Stereotypes, low pay and the perception that nursing is not a ‘male’ profession may be some of the reasons why men have steered clear but we need to break down these barriers.

“A number of universities are already taking action to highlight the benefits of a career in nursing to men.”

The conference is taking place in the Centre for Executive Education at the Glasgow campus.

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