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Book Review: Men in Caring Occupations by Ruth Simpson


Drew Payne

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In Britain, men make-up just under 10% of nurses and yet the image of nursing still firmly remains female. So what does it mean to be a man in a female dominated profession?

Ruth Simpson (Professor in Management at Brunel Business School) undertook research looking at gender roles in employment. She looked at the experiences of men in four different traditionally female dominated professions (which were cabin crew on airplanes, nurses, primary school teachers and librarians). This research forms the second part of this book, the first part is given over to a discussion of gender roles in employment.

Simpson is a professor in management and this book is very much geared towards managers and management theory, this is not a book aimed at healthcare professionals. Also, the choice of her research’s professions seems strange; they are certainly not similar and have very different experiences for men working in them. Are cabin crews and librarians really “caring professions”?

In the last thirty years many men have entered nursing, so how has that changed the profession? What have been the experiences of both men and women and how has it benefited the profession? This book doesn’t answer these questions for any of the professions looked at. It feels as though Simpson missed an opportunity here to look deeply into her subject.

This book does raise general questions about gender roles but we need research and study specifically on men in nursing, which this book doesn’t provide.

(This review was originally written as a commission by the Nursing Standard magazine and published there in April 2009)

Find it here on Amazon

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In the last thirty years many men have entered nursing, so how has that changed the profession? What have been the experiences of both men and women and how has it benefited the profession?

This is the sort of information I would have been looking for/expected in such a book. So, yeah, for me that's a miss. 

Thanks for the review. 

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8 hours ago, Libby Drew said:

In the last thirty years many men have entered nursing, so how has that changed the profession? What have been the experiences of both men and women and how has it benefited the profession?

This is the sort of information I would have been looking for/expected in such a book. So, yeah, for me that's a miss. 

Thanks for the review. 

Unless someone gives you a free copy, and don't expect much then, I'd avoid it. It was a very simplistic book.

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