The right man for the job
Despite all our movements towards gender equality – there are still some professions that skew towards a certain sex. Jacob Mitchell, a male nurse, is one of the individuals bucking the trend. And while studying and working in a female-dominated industry is his reality, it’s rarely been an issue.
From his high school days, Jacob knew caring for others came easily to him. “I noticed that I tended to put other people in front of myself,” he said. “I was pretty sure I wanted to do something in health care, but once I started studying nursing, I really fell in love with it and knew it was right for me.”
No place for stereotypes
Jacob, an ACU nursing graduate, is currently working in oncology as the only male on his team, but he also works in critical care, which is split more evenly between genders. Regardless of which shift he’s covering, he happily reports that the being a male nurse isn’t a disadvantage.
“Sometimes there might be a few comments, particularly from older patients,” he said. “Or even from the staff, who might enter a room of people and just say ‘Hi girls’ out of habit. You have to laugh and cop it on the chin.
“And I get mistaken for a doctor all the time. People like to ask me if I want to study medicine or they’ll ask why I’m not working on a construction site or something like that. I just explain my motivation and my passion for the work to bring them around.”
A better man
The irony of entering a female-dominated profession, Jacob said, is working as a nurse has made him more of a man.
“Nursing is a career that will always provide you with opportunities to not only give other people care, but to take care of yourself as well. It really teaches you how to be a better person, and for me, a better man.
“When you’re studying nursing and then working, it’s really interesting to learn all about the human body, but you’re learning mostly about yourself. I’ve changed so much as a person – I wouldn’t recognise myself from three years ago. I’ve had to grow up and learn how to adapt and interpret things differently.”
Onwards and upwards
While his career has only just begun, Jacob couldn’t be happier and is already planning to undertake further study to become a clinical specialist in oncology.
“Nursing is a very self-driven career. If you want to learn, you have to seek it yourself,” he said. “If you’re not proactive, you’ll become complacent and get stuck in your ways – and that’s not a gender thing.
If you’re interested in a career like Jacob’s, find out more about our nursing degrees.