The idea of men studying nursing is not new to Nepal, even though the concept may now appear alien. Back in 1986, the Institute of Maharajgunj decided to begin enrolling male students in its nursing programs and in the four batches produced around 80 male nurses. It then stopped taking male students.
Nepali patients at the time were skeptical. They started complaining that male nurses were unable to give the quality of service that female nurses could. The idea that male nurses would be ready to go and serve in remote areas of the country also proved premature. Most male nurses wanted comfortable urban postings.
Now the nursing campuses in Nepal are again starting to enroll male students starting this year. The society is changing and so are traditional gender roles. Moreover, with lucrative salaries on offer for those who want to go serve in rural areas, more male nurses will take that route. Male nurses will also be able to do more manual bits of the profession.
That, at least, is the thinking. But will the students come and will the nursing campuses be able to fill their 15 percent male seats?