As a man working as a nurse for the past 24 years, I found the review of the research in “Men in Nursing” (January) thorough and compelling.
However, as clear as authors Brent Robert MacWilliams, Bonnie Schmidt, and Michael R. Bleich were in describing the problem—professional nursing's lack of gender diversity—the article lacked a solution-oriented summary describing how the goal set by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing and the Institute of Medicine of 20% male enrollment in U.S. nursing programs by 2020 can be achieved and maintained. Jeffreys,1 for instance, notes how nursing leaders and educators can play a role in the integration and socialization of male nursing students to ameliorate and avoid the potential attrition, role strain, and isolation described in this article.
In addition, I would have liked to see more information about how to advertise nursing as a potential career option for high school students, especially males. I also question the authors’ statement that men in nursing move toward high-tech, low-touch specialties or administration. Do men do so because of their skills and ability to excel in, for example, critical care, the ED, psychiatry, administration, and case management, or because they are consciously or subconsciously avoiding dealing with the issues described by the authors and the literature as challenges for men in nursing?
Finally, evidence-based strategies on how nursing can improve its recruitment and retention of male nurses would have been a worthwhile addition to this article.
Randy E. Gross, WHNP, ACNS, AOCNP
New York City
1. Jeffreys MR Nursing student retention: understanding the process and making a difference. 20122nd ed. New York Springer Publishing