Professionalism, soft skills required for female and male nurses

Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw (right) and Michelle Crawford discuss nursing.
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Nursing is built on a discipline of professionalism and is a profession in which both men and women can excel, said Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw, Dean of the Division of Health Sciences at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC).

“Nursing, which is traditionally affiliated with women, remains a noble profession that men can play an important role in by entering the female-dominated field,” Dr. Dennis-Bradshaw explained.

Persons come into the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BScN) Programme because want to become nurses. It is important for the institution to work on the soft skills of the student nurses, such as communication, empathy for patients and listening, which are reflected in their body language, presentation and demeanour.

“We know that there is a stigma that males cannot do nursing… I do agree that, right now, nursing is predominantly female, but despite the stigma, we must encourage our males to have a progressive attitude about gender roles because, universally, more men are entering the nursing profession,” Dr. Dennis-Bradshaw said.

“Nursing is a service to mankind. The idea that men can’t provide care in the way that women can is part of that broad cultural narrative and misunderstanding of what nursing is about,” she said, adding that “it is important to talk to young people about caring as a gender-neutral idea and also as something that is rooted in skills and expertise.

“It is difficult for them to conform to those rules and regulations, but we have to apply them because nursing is a profession and we are recognized because we are professionals, and so we work hard with them. At the end of the day, once we maintain discipline the students do come and say thank you. We expect persons to be able to communicate and to interact respectfully with the community in which we serve.

“Persons have to have the required attributes, but sometimes you find that individuals come into the programme and they don’t have the required attributes that we are looking for. So what we can do is work along with them,” she said while referencing the strict dress code that requires nurses to be well dressed – from their cap to their shoes.

CFBC BScN Nursing Programme graduate Michelle Crawford also said that nursing is not just for females. She said that there is a need for male nurses in the profession.

Only one male student has enrolled in the programme since its inception in 2014.

The BScN offered at CFBC is franchised from the University of the West Indies School of Nursing (UWISON) Mona, Jamaica. The full-time programme of study is comprised of 139 credits accomplished over four academic years, eight fifteen- week semesters and three summer session of ten weeks each. The courses cover both theory and integrated clinical practice.

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