Nursing assistants have a long history of sexual harassment, and there’s a good chance it’s worse today than it was in the past.
The new report from a panel of experts on workplace harassment in nursing cites studies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Psychological Association to show that the wage gap between men and women continues to widen.
The problem is worse than you think, says Sheryl C. Lefferts, the executive director of the American Nurses Association.
She says there’s also a lot of misinformation around what the profession really looks like and how women are treated in it.
“I think the problem is the idea that nursing is something that just is for women, that we’re just sort of being women, so this is just for women.
There are plenty of women working in nursing and working in healthcare,” Leffarts told Recode.
“I think it’s really unfortunate that people are so willing to put their heads in the sand, to think that nursing doesn’t have gender problems.
We do, it’s a gender issue.”
The report from the Center for the Study of Women in the Workplace says that in nursing, male nursing assistants and nurses are often subject to inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, and other forms of discrimination.
In a survey of 2,200 people by the American Nursing Association, the majority of respondents said that they experienced gender-based harassment or violence.
The most common way that women were harassed was when they entered a nursing office, which is where many women work in nursing homes.
Lebarts said she wants to see more female nursing assistant leadership.
She’s also hoping for more research on what makes nursing a diverse profession.
“This is not just a nursing issue, this is an area of society that has to be addressed,” she said.
“We have a lot more work to do.
We need more research, we need more education.”
Leffert is calling for more gender-neutral workplace policies in nursing.
She also wants to have a dialogue with women on the front lines of healthcare to ensure that they’re treated fairly and appropriately.