In the Pursuit of an Identity: Analysing the Case of Male Health Care Providers
Being a female-concentrated job, nursing has forgotten the place of men within the profession despite their contribution since time immemorial. The heightened efforts of Florence Nightingale to transform nursing into a respectable female occupation denied men the opportunity to enter this domain. Despite their growing representation, they are still a minority in nursing in countries across the globe. When the occupational roles do not conform to the gender-appropriate roles prescribed by the society, the ‘male’ nurses’ prestige and self-esteem are at risk since others recognize them neither as true nurses nor as real men. Drawing majorly from secondary sources and data gathered from an anthropological study of in-home care providers in the South Indian state of Kerala, this paper on the predicament of men in nursing throws light on the ‘spoiled identity’ they carry; the work stress, gender stereotyping, stigma and discrimination they encounter by always being suspected and their very identity and sexual orientation questioned. A note on the strategies employed by them to overcome the problems is also within the purview of this paper.