Being "Da Man"(or "That Man") In A Overwhelmingly Female Classroom
Mention to most guys that they could have a job where they could be surrounded by women, make relatively good money, have countless opportunities to make the world a better place, and most would ask "where do I sign up?" There's just one catch. To get there, first you must go through at least 2 years of education about the entire process and your responsibilities in said field could mean life and death for others...some of them would still say "ok". Now, mention that it's nursing. "Whoa, man, not for me! Didn't you see Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents?"
The trend is reversing, though. Many males are now realizing that there are countless benefits at having a job where you can set yourself apart from the rest simply by being a caring individual. Plus the idea of gaining some insight into the female dynamics of the mindset can be applied to the rest of our relationships. However, many men wind up being left behind simply because of the massive mindset of (cue for Indiana Jones theme music) "Nursing School!"
So for those guys who think they could become nurses (and you ladies who are trying to convince your guy friends to be nurses), here's a few tips from a fellow male who's almost all the way done.
Don't Fall Into The Mindset Of Impressing Everyone You Meet
Unfortunately, there are plenty of guys who fall into this category. A professor of mine summed it up best "Women are about emotions and feelings. Men are about facts and the concrete." Don't be "That Man" who's always putting his stories about life or family into the lecture. Ask questions when appropriate for understanding, but don't try to ask a question to put your tidbit in there. Your fellow classmates will thank you for not taking the class on a 20 minute tangent about the time you started an IV after 3 cups of coffee, and your hands shook so bad...
Ok, I'm gonna be honest. Personally, I can't find stuff about 25 percent of the time. The day of a test, I'm usually asking friends for a pencil, or an eraser or something simple(I make sure to return it though!). The night before class, however, I'm packing my bag with all the books I know I might want to look at during lecture, putting water and a snack in there, and making sure my assignment is neat and in my binder. Before clinicals, my bag's packed with my clipboard, drug book, penlight, name badge, stethoscope, pens(Black only, people!), a five dollar bill, and some hard candy(for those looonngg days before lunch comes). Be "Da Man" and always seem prepared for what's coming....even if you aren't.
Taking Care Of Patients Is Exactly What It Sounds Like
Most men are unprepared for the actual face to face contact that nursing entails. It's not simply walking in with pills, saying "here you go." and walking out. It means listening to your patient, finding out if anything is different today, helping them with any "personal" needs they may have, and being caring! There is no more frustrating feeling to a patient or their family than not talking about what you are doing, not having a conversation to distract them from the fact you're cleaning their bottom, or checking in once and not going back for another 2 hours(personal experience when I was first week). Being "Da Man" means exactly that. Be the one who people seek out when they need a hand. Don't ignore everyone, but set limits on what you have time to do and never be above answering a call light on a patient who isn't yours.
Have A Good Time - Within Limits
There are plenty of classmates who will stress constantly about the actual grade they're getting. Two points from an A, they spend all their time studying and don't make time to see those friends during a weekend. Forget to take their kids to the park, cause they need that extra 45 minutes. Don't be "that man" who ignores everyone else. Crack a smile, make a joke once in a while and get to know everyone who you want to. You'll have bad days and want that life raft to call when you need a lift. However, this is not an excuse to miss class, party all weekend and expect others to hand over their notes so you can pass the test. You get in what you put in.
Finally, Make Sure To KNOW Your Professors ... Not Their Reputations
I'll never forget it. There I was, first week in the nursing home, and the professor who supposedly "hated" everyone was bearing down the hall towards me. I looked around, hoping there was another figure all in white who was preparing to take the lecture she was ready to give....nope. So, I breathed deep, steadied my nerves, and faced her head-on. "Where's your patient?" she asked. I replied, "Well, Mr. X is in his activity group for some one on one attention at the moment, he just got done with services in the chapel, and I believe his wife will be back around 11:30 to eat lunch with him." "Oh....well, I'm glad to see you're on top of things today, everyone else seems to be running around like crazy!" (Good thing I'd just got done with running around the unit trying to find out where he was supposed to go.)
Will you have your share of horrible professors? Probably. As long as you're prepared, and ready to answer anything from them without fear(ok, less than total fear) you'll go far. My professors have all been (with one exception) caring and remarkable individuals able to counsel adults from 18-58 about life in nursing, and not making nursing your life. I've learned so much from all of them and there's not a moment that I would trade so far.
Finally, my last piece of advice is this. Don't go into nursing already thinking you're "Da Man". That's a title you have to earn. You'll be "that man" until you prove to the women that you can be just as compassionate as they are. Always view patients as people and you can't go wrong. It's a long, strange journey, but at the end you get to call yourself what many other people can't: a nurse.Last edit by Joe V on Dec 29, '07
From 'Chicagoland'; 36 Years Old; Joined Jan '04; Posts: 2,450; Likes: 1,249.Jan 1, '08Ph I could relate very well to this. I am a senior nursing student and is currently on my last semester as a student nurse. Being a male in an all female room had been really intimidating for me before. It gave the feeling of being an outcast because they are all of the same type. However as I continue my journey into this endeavor, with countless hours of hospital experiences, group studies, case presentations with the females, I eventually outgrown this uneasiness. Its just a matter of being nice to everyone and it'll pay off. When it comes to nurse-patient interaction and patient care, I realized that it doesn't matter whatever you are, you just have to be confident and you must be able to show genuine interest to the patients. For male nurses-to be like I, just think that we can do whatever they can.Jan 8, '08Your article is right on.
Tomorrow I start my second year of clinicals as the only guy in the class.
Thanks for the well thought out and accurate perspective.Jan 8, '08I could not have written this any better. Every word you have written rings true. I Love being in class and clinicals with mostly women. If you listen and pay attention you can learn alot from your female classmates. Thanks for a wonderful post.Jan 9, '08The article is straight on. I just graduated from a program with only 3 males and 30 females. I was treated as an equal by my classmates from day one which I'll attribute to the instructors. They set the tone for the environment and one student used the term "male nurse" and was quickly corrected. "Men who are nurses should not be referred to as a male nurses any more than we would say female nurse or black nurse. Gender or race have nothing to do with one's professional title. Now, when I hear the term, I tell people I'm not a male nurse. I treat female patients too.Jan 11, '08Thanks, mc and all posters...never thought this would really find such a wide audience...looking at over 1000 views is really humbling....BTW, Mc...love your username..lol, just watched it tonight.Jan 11, '08I never really thought about it like that. But to be honest I'm an RN working with a bunch of young female RNs. Can't really complain at all.
BTW if I can add to the article; Don't buy into the stereotypes. Men are just as compassionate as women. Don't forget that the original "OG" nurses were all men back in the day. Who took care of the black plague victims? Monks (men). Who were there during the napoleonic/american civil wars taking care of the wounded soldiers? Other soldiers (men). I'm just sayin..
The very first nursing school only took men. The parabolani takin care of plague victims back in the 300s? Men. The benedictine nursing order back in the 500s? A bunch of monks (men).
Who invented the red cross of nursing in the 14th century or whatever? St. Camillus, a man.
The first nurse in North America back in the 1500s? Friar Juan de Mena, a man.
Everyone acts like Florence Nightingale is the first nurse ever, but people have been getting sick since Adam gave into temptation and bit the apple. Florence just opened the door for women. Kinda like Hillary Clinton may or may not end up being the first president. Females have just been dominating the field lately thanks to the industrial revolution and the American Nurse Association.
Know your roots!Last edit by november17 on Jan 11, '08Jan 21, '08I too was the only male with 50 females, thirty years ago. It presents the obvious perks but also I warn of some hazards. Ignoring the obvious fraternization quandry there is also being seen as the lift machine. Be aware and protect your back because we are often seen as able to lift heavy objects, fix everything, and control the out of control psych patient, and regularly be assigned to the 500 pounder in bed 8.
So watch your back and set limits and ask for and expect help. I've seen too often when I show up to assist I am expected to step up so others may step back. Even the strongest with good mechanics can and are injured moving that dead weight or struggling frightened patient when more help would better solve the problem.Jan 29, '08Good insight
we have all been there, mine was many years ago now I am one of those "professors" you speak highly of.
Keep with it, it gets better.Feb 1, '08My PCT class had 7 females , one male. He quiet, self assured, caring strong and gentle, son of an RN , he is very bright. Also believes in God, Higher power, call it what you want...
My message is WE NEED MANY MORE MEN TO JOIN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM! Lord we dont need another mountain, politician, or hard luck story , there's plenty of those to fill the bottomless pit! Its a fact that men and women are in need of care in hospitals, nursing homes and we all need to be aware of things, like men can care for men and women too.
He taught me thru example how to stay calm, cool collected and quiet in the face of danger or a crisis. We became friends, both working at the same workplace later, not a hospital yet since we needed to have our PCT license for at least a year to be taken seriously and get paid at a better job at a local hospital. I was always in awe of his grace under pressure, quiet reassurrance as a presence in the pts rooms he worked in doing his job properly, not complaining. He must have been an angel in disguise I sometimes wonder, we parted ways when I applied for my dream job, he said he was going to go on to take LPN and RN classes and become a nurse. He was very masculine, but also knew how to make pts feel safe, calm assured. What is amazing is he is only 21 at a time when some young men are not into caring for another human being only themselves.Last edit by licensedcertified on Feb 1, '08Feb 26, '08What a great refreshing and information filled viewpoint from "Da Man." Thank you so much. I look forward to reading more insights from you......
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