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Hospitals look to reverse male nurse shortfall

By Zhu Lixin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-17 08:14

Hospitals look to reverse male nurse shortfall

Yang Bin is one of the two head nurses at the elderly care department of Hefei Binhu Hospital.[Photo/Gao Bo For China Daily]

She believes male nurses are more suitable than females in a number of areas, including intensive care, elderly care, emergency rooms and male genitourinary departments.

The peak time for male nurses at the Hefei First Hospital Group was 2015, when 19 men were employed. In the two years that followed, though, four quit. "Three moved to medical-equipment sales," Yang said.

Sun, from the medical college, was sanguine: "Roughly 50 percent of male nursing students will find employment post-graduation, but a few will still quit the profession sometime in the future."

For Cheng Chi, a male nurse in the rehabilitation center at the Hefei Hospital, commitment is the most important attribute male nurses can have. "Money is not everything. For those of us who decide to stick with the job, the hardest thing we have to face is prejudice," he said..

As the national family planning policy now permits most couples to have two children, it's expected that a rising number of female nurses will take maternity leave, a situation that would make male nurses even more popular, according to Pan. "Even though the hospitals need more male nurses, we just don't have enough applicants," she said.

Special provisions

According to Sun, the lack of applicants can also be attributed to the fact that female students usually perform better in exams than males.

"Most hospitals in China are State-owned. In most cases, applicants have to pass certain exams to get into them", she said, adding that special provisions have been put in place to encourage more men to join the profession.

"As a result, a local hospital had to reserve 10 "male-only" nursing positions in 2015," said Sun, who is proud that three graduates of her college gained employment by passing exams, and not through a quota system.

Pan is hoping for a surge in applicants, but said her hospital can do nothing but wait. She doesn't believe that preferential treatment will remedy the shortfall.

"To insist that a certain number of positions are reserved for men could easily prompt concerns about gender discrimination, but we should at least treat male nurses well to make sure they are willing to stay in the profession," she said.

Sun said there are no official public policies to encourage more men to study nursing, but attitudes will change and men will flourish in the profession.

"Just wait until all the deeply-rooted prejudice is eliminated," she said.









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