Patients still prefer female nurses

Malaysian Nurses Association president Dame Ramziah Ahmad.

While patients in hospitals throughout the world still prefer female nurses, male nurses are apparently giving the fairer sex a run for their money.

With more men taking up the challenge of being a nurse, their presence is increasingly being felt.

Malaysian Nurses Association president Dame Ramziah Ahmad says in Malaysia, male nurses are definitely growing in numbers but they are still a minority in the profession.

"The men are no threat and competition to the female nurses. They are actually a wonderful complement to the female nurses as they are handy when it comes to moving or lifting patients, operating complicated medical equipment, and looking after patients in both orthopaedic and psychiatric wards.

"Frankly, many patients prefer female nurses because women have a tender, nurturing, and maternal side. Men are, however, better at keeping their emotions in check," she says.

In a multiracial society, Ramziah says male patients are very useful when it comes to the bathing and catheterisation of male patients.

"Some male patients feel uncomfortable when female nurses bathe them. They are less shy when male nurses clean, wipe, give them a bath or change their clothes.

"However, an international survey done some years ago showed that generally patients prefer female nurses because they are more maternal.

Ramziah says while more male nurses are being welcomed at public and private hospitals the ideal female to male ratio should be 75 and 25.

"At the end of the day, female nurses offer soft skills and that is what patients want when they are sick.

Patients want to be pampered and women are better at dishing out tender loving care to patients of all ages.

Malaysia started having male nurses as early as the 1970s in public hospitals but a shortage of nurses about ten years ago, prompted men to come into the profession.

Men who take up male nursing, Ramziah says, do it for the love of the profession.

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