, this is a great article, thank you for this. I want to clarify some points on the nursing career. My husband and I are both nurses; he received his degree in 1989, mine in 1991.

Your article doesn’t come right out and say it but instead suggests that nursing is a social science degree of some sort. Your article also suggests nursing careers are low paying. I’m referring to this paragraph regarding pay-”People argue that STEM careers are the future of the economy, and it’s critical for women to participate. But that’s a value judgment. It reflects the weight our culture puts on money; it’s not a reflection of what role is more valuable to society. Is an engineer inherently more worthy than a nurse?”

I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree, as does my husband. It is not about changing bedpans and bathing patients. In college, I studied chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, statistics, microbiology, and pharmacology, to name a few subjects. Although not traditionally STEM (I don’t know much about STEM, but from reading, it sounds like it’s geared more towards engineering and technology, and less towards medicine?), nursing is a science education.

Nursing provides a wealth of choices after graduation. Many nurses go on to obtain advanced degrees in nursing. There’s an unlimited number of Master’s and Doctorate programs a nurse can choose from to specialize their skills. Some nurses are more educated than doctors, engineers, and in the technology sector. In short, we are highly trained, formally, and in our work.

My husband specializes in vascular access and makes a six-figure income. I specialize in case management/care coordination and also make a six-figure income. I have, at one point, owned my own company, grew, and sold it specifically in the field of case management.

Although we have the stereotype, nursing is not about changing dirty sheets anymore. It’s a highly coveted and lucrative career that can take a person anywhere they want to go, even into computer technology (such as a HIM specialist, which I have a nursing friend in this field, and he enjoys it immensely).

Yes, there are many fewer men than women in nursing, again because of the stereotype. But this is changing. I’ve been a nurse for twenty-eight years, and I’ve seen a rise in the male gender working in nursing. Once men get past the stigma of becoming a nurse, they will see it’s a highly technical career.

Thank you for your article! I enjoyed reading it.

Michelle

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Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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