Male staff-Female Pt. - ECG - page 2

How do you handle this situation? I'm a male RN and I find that some women are not happy when I enter the room with the ECG machine. Another issue-how do you deal with breasts that cover the area... Read More

  1. by   CrazyPremed
    I'm a male tech./nursing student, and I find that if I explain what I'm doing in a very careful way, then I get a good response. Once I feel the patient is ready, I usually disrobe them.

    I work in an busy ER, and - at this point - the pt needs to understand that things are going to happen. They will be poked, prodded, and jabbed. I would rather have the pt disrobe and get a clear EKG for the doc, than to have some unnecessary artifact due to some towel in the way (I know I'm going to get flamed for this ). Also, I never even thought to ask a female tech to do my EKG's in the beginning (due to being a stupid newbie), and I've been doing them too long to start now. Oh well. I guess I'll be asking for legal advice in the not so far future .

    CrazyPremed
  2. by   Larry77
    I'd like to say I've never had a problem with a female pt feeling awkward or being offended because I'm very careful to explain everything beforehand and to remain professional but...

    Just the other day I went to bring a patient back and first thing she says to me is I would like to have a "female" nurse because I don't think "boys" should be nurses. Now mind you this was a girl in her late 20's in for n/v/d. I was taken a back and was actually speechless. I finally said the truth and said, "Well your in luck because this room is actually assigned to one of our female nurses and I was just helping her by bringing you back".

    The whole rest of the shift I was shaking my head about this incident. In 12 yrs in this field this was the FIRST time something like this has happened.
  3. by   ikimiwi
    our male tech will usually ask the female to lift her breast, but the males usually don't do EKGs on females without a female present. Its just not worth the potential problems. In the initial cp protocol, there is always something for the other person to do. and if I need to cath a young male, I will ask a male to do it, just for the patients comfort.
  4. by   Jennifer, RN
    Where I work, EKGs are done by the nurse or tech assigned to that pt, regardless of sex. We are too short staffed and too busy to search around for someone else to do them. You just learn to try and keep pt covered as much as possible (the breast never has to be exposed). And all of my EKGs are crystal clear. There is a double standard anyways, the male nurses don't want to cath females, yet female nurses cath males all the time.
  5. by   TXstudentRN
    I greatly appreciate all of you that go out of your way to keep as little exposed as possible. At times I've had a male tech come in and literally just pull my shirt/bra up to my neck, fully exposed, no towel or anything. EKG is one thing but for an echo, especially when it's in-depth and can take up to/over an hour, I felt SO exposed, even though at this point I have lost almost every ounce of modesty in me. It doesn't take much to cover things up and makes a HUGE difference in how the patient feels. So major kudos to all of you that maintain as much dignity as possible even though as a professional it IS "just a body" and nothing more. And a bit off topic, but warm gel for an echo goes a long way, as well as not having fingertips of ice when placing leads!
  6. by   Larry77
    Quote from Jennifer, RN
    There is a double standard anyways, the male nurses don't want to cath females, yet female nurses cath males all the time.
    That is not the case where I work...we try to have male staff do the male cath's (if possible) and the male staff will do any female that is old enough or young enough to not be bothered by us doing the procedure.
  7. by   danh3190
    Does the towel trick really make women feel better? It sort of seems to me that the towel sort of accentuates the invasion of space. But I'm a guy and don't really understand (on an emotional basis) what the big deal is, I just accept that some women feel that way.

    I always try to be as professional as I can. Explain what I'm doing and why. As I became proficient at EKG's I learned to avoid exposing much. And I avoid doing EKGs alone on females if possible just to avoid any complications.
  8. by   33-weeker
    As a congenital heart pt. whose had countless ECGs and many echos, I will say that - though I am a nurse and I can see things from the professional's perspective - when I'm playing patient, warm gel and preservation of dignity (as much as possible) is greatly appreciated. It's different when it's YOU that's the one being exposed. Esp. with an opposite gender tech/nurse.

    Usually I've been asked to put the gown on with the opening to the front. The tech lifts the gown long enough to place the leads or postion the echo device and then lets the gown fall back down covering most of me. When having to move *stuff*, a professional back of the hand/fabric barrier is appreciated as well.

    The most important things of all?
    CLOSE THE DOOR (curtain)
    warn me BEFORE you touch me
    and just be professional about what you have to do.
  9. by   TXstudentRN
    [quote=danh3190]Does the towel trick really make women feel better? It sort of seems to me that the towel sort of accentuates the invasion of space. But I'm a guy and don't really understand (on an emotional basis) what the big deal is, I just accept that some women feel that way.[quote]


    Yeah it doesn't seem like much, but it really does make a big difference. It's just the difference between laying there completely exposed to having a little more dignity. Generally patients already feel vulnerable in the hospital since people come in asking about every possible bodily function and poke and prod anywhere, so it's just one little thing that makes a person feel more like a person and less like an object... at least that's how I've felt. I think age plays a BIG difference as well... most teenage girls' parents haven't seen their daughters without a shirt on let alone some random guy! Haha I know it sounds stupid but it's just one little thing that isn't hard to do that can be the difference between feeling exposed and more comfortable...
  10. by   jbird125
    We have the same problem, it seams more with muslisum female patients (i am not against the religion or racist in any way), i have noticed however that if the patient is that unwell that it needs to be carried out immediatly then usually they are more than happy for you to do it.

    If it is less of an emergency then i am more than happy to get one of my female colleagues to do it for me.

    Unless there are religious or cultural reasons why i should not be performing the ECG then i will explain at length to the patient why i as a health care practitioner will do nothing different to the next, and will quite happily perform ECG's on young women.
  11. by   mced
    Quote from jbird125
    and will quite happily perform ECG's on young women.
    I don't care who you are THAT...is funny!
  12. by   EmerNurse
    I'm female and when I do EKGs on females, I'm ALWAYS careful to keep them covered. I always say "pardon me" as I nudge something out of the way, and if it's rather large, I'll ask the patient "would you mind holding this for me?". They always get a giggle out of that. But I don't expose them unnessessarily. Incidently, I try to connect the wires so they all come out in one place to the side of the gown so the patient isn't "wrapped" in wires. I've seen some poor souls afraid to reposition themselves for fear of getting strangled by a lead wire LOL. Always fix that for 'em.

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