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The Voices of Male Nurses in Kerala: Career Choice and Satisfaction


There are more male nurses than ever before in India. While there is a large number of studies that focus on the differences in working conditions between male and female nurses and perceptions towards male nurses in western contexts, these studies are almost non-existent in highly patriarchal contexts like India. Utilising twenty semi-structured interviews with male nurses in three cities of Kerala, geospatially located in South India, this research aims at exploring the reasons why male nurses select the profession and their gendered experiences during their career paths. The research argues that male nurses select the profession for increasing their chances to migrate to industrialised countries like Australia and the United Kingdom. However, they face various social and work-related impediments in their career, which include negative perceptions of families and others towards the profession, the discrimination faced in terms of occupational segregation at the workplace, negative perceptions towards their manhood and the difficulties in finding a bride. Male nurses, if unsuccessful in migrating abroad, are not committed to remaining in the profession, particularly after their “shelf-lives” are over. In this case, they are highly likely to move to other professions or migrate to second-option countries in the Middle East. This emerges as a concern for India which is in dire need of nurses and highlights that Indian and State governments need to take prompt actions that would eliminate the stereotypes concerning male nurses, improve the working conditions and reduce discrimination towards male nurses, and in general to include more men in mainstream nursing.


Male Nurses, Career Choice, Satisfaction, Semi-Structured Interviews, Kerala, India



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