I am a male L&D nurse

  1. -this is a response to the male L&D nurse thread

    This topic pops up often, if anyone is interested I think I have posted on most of them over the past 3 years so you can access them via my profile.

    I read the whole thread and am interested in some of the topics presented I'll answer them from my own perspective and invite responses both negative and positive.

    First let me say that I very strongly support a patients right to refuse any caregiver for any reason. That's not to say I agree with the thinking behind their decisions but it is their body and they have a right to say who does things to it. If they say they don't want a nurse for any reason this is their right. I have had 1 patient this past year ask for a female nurse and I had to defend her decision to my charge nurse. My coworkers were offended on my behalf because they know that I'm a good nurse but I had to remind them that the patient's rights superseded any feelings any of us had. That said let's get on to some of the other issues.

    First there are several posts by a lady that feels that birthing is a spiritual thing. She also feels that it is a time for bonding among women. I very much agree with this statement and I'm happy that she has been able to find this among her caregivers. Working in L&D for 2 years (which isn't very long) I am sorry to say that I have found that, such a situation is rare. Deliveries have been "medicalized" and many caregivers aren't interested in bonding or in the spiritual aspect of birthing. Although it goes against our societies stereotypical role for a man, if you asked my coworkers they would tell you that I am more supportive of the spiritual and bonding aspects of birth then anyone else on the floor. True I have never and will never personally experience birth and I can't offer a female to female connection but none the less I do connect very intimately with my patients and their partners as well as getting them threw the process safely. Please don't feel that I am in anyway challenging your choice to have only women care providers (as I said before, it's your right). I would however like to present the point of view that in absence of what you have found in your care providers I come in a close second.


    Next, There was someone who said that a man wanting to work L&D is doing so only to satisfy their own crusade or placing their own desires above those of the patients. I don't agree with this statement but it is a valid question. I had to struggle with this question myself.

    I like the majority of other male nursing students had my sights set on the ER or ICU. I was very surprised when during my OB clinical I discovered that I loved L&D. It was a difficult couple of years when I first decided I wanted to go to L&D and then started working post partum. I was the first male to ever work the area at this hospital and the nurses were very cruel. They made every effort to humiliate and demoralize me as well as trying to get me fired. Eventually they tried several times to convince patients to fabricate stories of abuse or neglect. This was communicated to me by my patients who were utterly discussed that the other nurses would even suggest it. I tell you these things not so that you will pity me; I did after all choose this path and have no regrets.

    I am writing these things to demonstrate the state of mind that made me question my true reasons for going into OB. With so many of my colleagues so strongly opposed to my being on the floor, I had to ask myself if I was doing something wrong. Then I had to question weather I was only there for myself. Was I placing my own desires above the needs of my patients?

    Do you know what answered the question for me? .... It was the patients. When they told me that they loved me and that I had helped them. It was the memories I accumulated over that first year of caring for patients and of the many times patients told me how glad they were to have me. It was the patients who asked for me because their sisters had told them about how I had cared for them. It was the patients I later saw in the grocery store who ran up to show me their baby and hug me. They weren't embarrassed that I had seen them naked or that I had seen them at their worst. They were grateful (and dare I hope better off) for the care I gave them.

    I also thought back and pinpointed the exact moment I decided that I wanted to be an L&D nurse. It was the last day of my L&D rotation. I hadn't been allowed to see any deliveries because the nurses wouldn't allow it. I was sent to answer a call light for a patient in labor, I don't remember what she needed or what I did for her, but she asked me to be there for her delivery. Her nurse didn't want me in the room but the patient and my instructor convinced her as long as I stayed at the head of the bed and didn't look at her vagina. She cried and struggled threw labor and I was there and I knew I helped her, I knew that holding her hand and talking to her made a difference and I loved it. After the delivery she asked me not to forget her and I never will.

    That's when I decided and that's why I do what I do. Yes I like the autonomy of L&D, yes I am proud knowing that I am damn good at what I do and that I make better outcomes by knowing my stuff and I am fascinated by the process of conception, gestation and birth but all of these factors pale when compared to how much I love comforting patients and meeting their needs. There is nothing better short of the love I have for my wife, children and God. To me it's like heaven.

    Finally I'm going to address another issue that has been discussed here. I'm not going to name names or point fingers but there are many on this board and many in our profession that feel that men should not work L&D or that it's sick. Many times this is disguised as a statement supporting patient rights but it goes deeper then that and should not be confused as advocacy for patients. It is blatant predigest and like other predigest it is rooted in misunderstanding and generations of anger, it is wrong and it is destructive to people, both nurse and patient. A few people have mentioned that there aren't many male L&D nurses, this isn't because of lack of interest it is because of fear. It's because they are afraid of accusations, of being seen as gay or as perverted and it keeps good nurses from following their chosen path. Once again (because I know some of you are thinking it) I am not talking about what patients choose, I am talking about what nurses say and think.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    Thank you for sharing.

    Many years ago when I was working in Detroit, just after I graduated from nursing school, the manager of L&D at a major hospital facility was a male. And he was extremely well respected by everyone.

    I have never had any children, but if I was to, I would have absolutely no problem at all with my nurse being a male.
  4. by   2boyzmom
    I think your stories and points are very touching, I wish I'd had more nurses like you around when I delivered my two babies! Best of luck to you!!
  5. by   sagelola
    I for one think that is fantastic. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, as long as you are human and give kind, compassionate care that is patient-centered.

    I don't think it is right to stereotype a man...just because he is a man why couldn't he work in L&D? There are male OB/GYN doctors...what is the difference? I mean, when you are does it really matter who sees your...um, parts?

    Good for you for sticking with it, Dayray! I think that is wonderful. When my son was born, my husband was absolutely fascinated with the whole process, and said he was ready to go help the Dr. deliver some more babies! :chuckle There is no reason why a man shouldn't be a L&D nurse. I hope to be one someday, and I hope to have collegues like Dayray...male or female, it doesn't matter to me.
  6. by   kea6783
    Thanks for sharing, I only hope that when the time comes for me to give birth my biggest concern is whether I mind a male nurse.

    Keep on truckin!!
  7. by   gij1
    One is in the dark ages if they think a male can not be a good L&D nurse. Why in the world does it matter if male or female? We do not even question the sex of an OB but the sexist view STILL persists for nursing. To the male L&d nurse, more power to you. You are helping society break down sterotypes with your choices. We need more like you!
  8. by   camay1221_RN
    Dayray,

    Thank you for your perspective! Isn't it ironic that there are so many male OB's, but let there be a male RN in L&D, and heaven forbid! I have great respect for you, for staying in a position that you love, in spite of all the adversity you faced being in it.

    As I said on the other thread, I, personally, have no objections to having a male nurse in any capacity of healthcare, even L&D. However, for me, third time was a charm, and my days in L&D as a patient are over!!

    Dayray, thank you for sharing!
  9. by   Still Riding
    If i chose to have children, I don't think my biggest concern will be a male nurse. I would just want someone who can be there to be my voice, and help he through.

    Although right now I'm not sure the feild of nursing that I would like to be in, (I don't think that L&d is for me) but I hope I have the passion for what I do that you do for L&d.
  10. by   bagladyrn
    Dayray - thanks for the insightful post. As a long time L&D nurse, I have worked with all types of coworkers, both male and female, good and bad and would enjoy working with someone with your outlook any time. Thanks for voicing your perspective!
  11. by   nurseygrrl
    Great post Dayray! You could birth a baby of mine anytime! :chuckle

    Knowlegeable, caring, and helpful are qualities I'd look for in an L&D nurse...who cares about gender?
  12. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from Dayray
    -this is a response to the male L&D nurse thread


    First there are several posts by a lady that feels that birthing is a spiritual thing. She also feels that it is a time for bonding among women. I very much agree with this statement and I'm happy that she has been able to find this among her caregivers....
    Childbirth is a time of bonding for women? Get over it! (Whoever she/they are) I had 6 healthy babies and I would have killed for a male nurse.
    In my experience (3 different hospitals in 2 different areas of the country) female nurses make every effort to tell the mother they know all about it and mom is only there for the nurses convenience through it all. After all, how can they be L&D nurses without a mommy?

    LOL

    With my 4th baby, a nurse insisted I was not in labor...As I was getting ready to give up arguing with her my son presented a foot. (single footling breech) I had told her repeatedly there is something not right with this labor. She repeatedly told me it's not labor.

    With my 6th, a nurse came in (I called and said it's time) took a look and announced I have plenty of time...no place near delivery. She left the room. I told my husband to go get somebody. Just that quick he left. A MD just happened to be walking by the room at the time. He "found" my already delivered baby in my arms.

    With my 3rd, my first husband had died when I was 6 months along. They avoided me like the plague, I did cry a lot. Wanted my baby, but wanted his daddy to and the emotions of the day did not permit me to get things straight.

    Oh yea, I hear ya on that bonding crap.
  13. by   Dayray
    Thanks for all the replies and encouraging words
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Awww we love you dayray!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you are a wonderful nurse; hands down, men CAN and DO make wonderful L AND D NURSES!

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