Male nurses aim to increase visibility, ‘break the female stereotype’

A group of School of Nursing students is looking to increase the visibility of males in the nursing population.

MAN-UP — the Male Association of Nurses at the University of Pennsylvania — is currently in the process of establishing a new chapter of male professional nurses with the American Assembly for Men in Nursing.

The group is looking to partner with local institutions including Drexel, Temple and Villanova universities to create the first-ever AAMN chapter in Philadelphia.

The chapter will provide an opportunity for male nurses in the community to get together and discuss issues that affect them.

Faculty adviser and Nursing professor Christopher Coleman explained that “the idea of establishing this group is very fascinating because it will actually give the men who are nurses at HUP and at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, for example, a place to come and socialize professionally.”

“For the first time, male nurses will be able to come together and talk about issues that are affecting their navigation in the workplace, which is predominantly a female environment,” he added.

Over the years, Penn’s Nursing School has seen a rise in the percentage of male students at the undergraduate and graduate levels — from 7.3 percent in 2007-08 to 10 percent in 2011-12, according to Adam Sherr, director of student registration and information at the Nursing School.

Despite this increase, however, the number of males in the nursing profession nationwide remains relatively low, said MAN-UP President and Nursing junior Spencer Stubbs.

Stubbs hopes that MAN-UP’s current initiatives will help to narrow some of these gaps.

In addition to partnering with local schools, he wants to “reach out to the graduate student population to make sure that all male nurses have a home inMAN-UP.”

Nursing sophomore Zia Zaidi, MAN-UP’s recruitment chair, said that “male nurses need to unify so that we can break the female stereotype. In the health care profession, there shouldn’t be any room for gender disparities.”

The establishment of an AAMN chapter is not the only initiative MAN-UP has planned for this semester.

Earlier this semester, MAN-UP began a new partnership with the Upward Bound Math and Science program. Through the program, members of MAN-UP will mentor students — particularly young males — in West Philadelphia in order to expose them to the allied health and nursing professions.

“We’re definitely in a position in which we’re seeing development in the organization,” said Nursing junior Steven Cabrera, co-vice president ofMAN-UP.

“It’s great that we can collaborate with others and inform them about the nursing field and answer any questions that they might have,” he added.

Though Stubbs is pleased with the increased representation of males in the Nursing School, he said there is still much work to be done.

“Through my presidency, I want to make sure that the club remains sustainable and that we can continue to gauge the focus of the groups towards men in nursing,” he said.