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Stop Calling Nurses 'sister' and 'matron' - it's putting men off - Articles - Nurses Arena Forum

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Stop Calling Nurses 'sister' and 'matron' - it's putting men off by katty : May 15, 2018, 09:30:01 AM
Stop calling nurses “sister” and “matron” - it could put men off joining their ranks, one of their leaders has suggested.

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the terms were “outdated” and due a rethink, in order to improve recruitment. 

And she said children’s dressing-up boxes should contain nurses’ uniforms for boys as well as those for girls - to dispel the idea that nursing was a job for women.



Speaking at the union’s annual congress in Belfast, she called for changes in the way nurses are portrayed, and the language used to describe them.

Ms Davies suggested the term “ward sister” should be phased out, replaced with the gender-neutral job title of “charge nurse” in a bid to encourage more men into the profession.

Scotland has already stopped using ward sister as a job title.

And the RCN chief executive suggested that the use of any gendered terms in nursing should be reconsidered, calling for a public debate about use of the word “matron”.

“Lots of the language is nursing generally is very female,” she said. “It’s a debate in itself really about the whole language, should you be called something different? You’re a charge nurse, you’re a sister - is that right or should everybody be called a charge nurse?"

Just one in ten nurses in the UK is male - a situation which has barely changed in the last decade.

Ms Davies also said there was a need for nurses of both genders to go into primary schools to help educate children from a young age that the job was suitable for men as well as women.

And she said parents should encourage sons to dress up as nurses - not assume it was something only daughters would aspire to.

“Certainly, nursing uniforms for men should definitely be there in childrens’ dressing-up boxes, that is absolutely essential,” she added.

The RCN leader also called for more male nurse characters on television - like Casualty’s Charlie Fairhead - to act as positive role models.

Actor Derek Thompson, who plays the part, was highlighted last year as the BBC’s highest earning soap star, with earnings of up to £400,000 - compared to a £22,000 salary for an NHS nurse.

She said: “We need more Charlies but shown in lots of places, in the community, in different settings - I think that would help.

“They did have a guy who was a nurse in EastEnders a few years ago and they’ve had one on Coronation Street. We need more of that to help change the public’s perspective.

“We need more realistic interpretations of what nurses do, especially in those sorts of soap operas.”

At the RCN Congress in Belfast yesterday (MONDAY), nurses debated whether specifically recruiting men could help solve the crisis in nurse staffing in the NHS, where around 38,000 posts are vacant.

But they rejected a plan to target men, saying any recruitment drive should be equal across both genders.
Source : The Telegraph

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