A group of nursing students and lecturers in the UK launched a unique project to attract more men into the profession. Men into Nursing Together (MINT) was started at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the group uses mainly social media to get its message across.
False perceptions about men in nursing
Nursing is still perceived as a profession for women and this has to change in order to recruit more men into nursing. In 2018 only 10.6% of nurses in the UK were men and in the US only around 9% of nurses are men.
“Caring is central to nursing, but caring is still predominantly seen as a role performed by women. However, caring can be done equally well by men and women,” said Dave Gwinnell, a student at SHU and Chairman of the MINT group. ‘MINT aims to highlight the career opportunities in nursing, and to encourage more men into the profession.”
Using social media for change
The introduction to the Facebook group describes MINT as “a collection of nurses, student nurses, support workers and healthcare assistants who are aiming to bring to the forefront men in nursing and the healthcare industry.” The group is however not exclusively male – they encourage nurses of both genders to be one voice in encouraging more men to join the profession.
On Twitter MINT is described as “bringing to the forefront Men in Nursing, providing support and encouragement for nurses and to encourage more people of all genders into nursing.” They use the Twitter hashtag #MenIntoNursing.
Since it started in 2018, MINT already has 1,700 members from the UK, US, Australia, and South Africa. They’ve also issued an attractive pin that their members can wear to promote the group and its aims.
Other recruitment activities
Besides using social media, MINT also takes part in events and visit schools to promote nursing as a profession for both genders. “Gender stereotypes are formed at a young age, so more work is needed with children of school age to change this,” explained David Wood, SHU principal lecturer in adult nursing. “Nursing needs to be presented as a good career choice for boys in schools.”
Globally, the profession recognizes the need for a more even gender balance in nursing. One of the significant reasons is that it will help to address the ever-increasing shortage of nurses. Initiatives such as the one by MINT, where male nurses actively portray a positive role model, can go a long way towards changing public perceptions.