Sexism in Nursing (a male point of view) - page 7

As a male in nursing, I feel that I am sometimes treated differently because of my gender. I believe that I am expected to carry a heavier patient load with less assistance from my female coworkers.... Read More

  1. by   ERN
    Peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, George and Gracie, lactulose and poop, people and sexism....yep, they all seem to go together. Thank you all for a very interesting read and forgive my cynicism. After 28 yrs in health care (17 in nursing)I can safely say that nursing is a female dominated field. There is still a major under current of sexism towards male nurses. Not NP's/PA's, Not medics, not cna's, not tech's of any discipline, but with men as nurses. Certainly, male nurses are treated differently than women by patients, doc's, admin, even by their colleagues. Reviewing some of the previous posts clearly illustrates this. I don't believe we will see any meaningful change in male/female ratios or behavior because the vast majority of people are socialized into gender roles. The public image of a nurse (which is distorted at best)is solidly female. It is the only social image that has remained as a clear identifier for the profession over the past few hundred years. Having said that, there has been tremendous progress and growth in nursing that we can all be proud of and aspire to emulate. But..........Nursing is still a female sport. The numbers of men seen in admin, anesthesia, research, anywhere away from the bedside is a direct result of the social pressure felt to disasocciate the female identifiers from the profession for this minority. I don't mean to say that identifying nursing with women is a negative, it is quite the opposite. I am saying that the strong bond that exists between the societal perception of nursing as female and the socialzation of men and women to perform as perceived is a deterent for men to choose and/or stay with nursing. I think a good parallel for sexism in nursing is the change that occurred in secondary education over the last 50yrs or so. Teaching was predominately female and while a few men taught at the secondary level, they quickly retreated to admin, research, collegiate level etc. Currently, there are men at every educ. level and the ratio of men to women has markedly increased. Interestingly enough, while teaching is a perceived female profession, men are easily seen and accepted as teachers. The same expansion of career choices for women (doctor, lawyer, indian chief) exerts equal pressure on both professions yet men are filling the educ. vacuum much more readily. The strongly held perception that nursing is female will limit the evolutionary changes needed to allow men a greater role in bedside nursing. We ain't weenies, but being comfortable in your skin has to count for something. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a 6 figure income that allow's me to work with well educated, articulate, professional people. It's even better when most of them are women. ( Token sexist statement) I have treated people poorly and as I would like to be treated myself. It works better when you treat people nice i've found out. If nursing can progress towards a more professional image regardless of gender, it will go a long way towards changing social perception. It won't matter if the nurse taking care of you shaves her face or his legs, they will be a professional health practitioner and gender will become a minor issue as in teaching. As it stands now.....gender bias and the attributes assigned to men and women (in nursing) by society will pressure both to act out their roles. Many of the men in nursing that I speak with are frustrated with the public perception that they are just doing nursing until...... or they are junior doc's waiting to go to med school, or they are gay, lazy, effeminate, not smart enough to get a real job, ( I like this one cause it insults both sexes at the same time). I have a vivid recollection of an incident in an elevator some years ago. I got in the elevator with one other man standing towards the back. I suddenly heard my name called and turned to look at this person. It was a man that I hadn't seen in decades. I grew up with his children, worked in his business as a teenager. We had a great mini reunion ascending 10 floors. As the door opened he said, "I can't believe you're a doctor." Yep...I said, " I'm not, I'm a nurse." The look on his face told me what he was thinking. The hand that he eagerly shook just a few minutes before now was ignored as he awkwardly left the elavator. A few weeks later his mother came into my ED where I was the manager. I used to enjoy visiting with local folks that I knew and knew my family. In a quiet moment, this women asked about my mother, wanting to know how she feeling and then told me how well she thought my mother was dealing with the fact that I was gay. Did you ever feel like sticking a needle in someone's eye? The whole point of this boring tale is that sexism is indelibly printed on the mind of society and gender identifcation is inherent in our role choices. Just how feminine is that highway repair chick??

    The only reason I got into nursing was so I could marry a rich doctor.
  2. by   sanakruz
    Dont you think mucsles and sweat are sexy?
  3. by   sanakruz
    ...and well said . Amen,brother
  4. by   ERN
    psychnurse........


    Who's muscles and sweat???
  5. by   Youda
    ERN! I find companionship and comraderie at allnurses. I find animosity and hostility (at times). I find reason and insanity. I find sophmoric behavior and true intelligence. I find insight, learning, new ideas and perspectives. I have felt amused, supported, infuriated, educated and entertained.

    But, I have RARELY laughed harder; been so entertained; so stunned by the insight; so awed at the articulation, wisdom and pure undistilled truth of a single post as I was yours! We just as well close the thread, because you said it all! Now I must give you the smilie I rarely use, because it rarely seems appropriate to me . . .

    kisskisskiss
  6. by   Youda
    Originally posted by ERN
    psychnurse........
    Who's muscles and sweat???
    If you'll excuse the sexism, ERN, I think psychnurse was responding to all the phermones that intelligence and bravery in a male cause.
  7. by   sanakruz
    That woman on the road repair crew...
  8. by   Q.
    Originally posted by fergus51
    Why do all of us enlightened people think that sexism is wrong, yet feel it's perfectly acceptable to generalize about an entire gender?

    Mario, that is the type of thing I was talking about. Do you see? All the problems in nursing relate to the fact that we are mostly women and somehow defective, unable to concentrate on anything but gossip and backbiting. I have heard this so often that it gets tiring, from both men and other women. Could you imagine if we said this type of thing about other groups in society? "You know that whole racism thing jut hasn't been solved because minoroties just can't get their act together"... I detest hearing people say that nursing is in the state it is because we women just couldn't get it together. It's not only wrong and simplistic and I dare say sexist, but completely ignores the strides nursing has taken in the last 30 years.
  9. by   LilgirlRN
    Where I work if a "Code Yellow" is called, all men that work in the hospital are supposed to respond. A code yellow is a patient or family member gone wild (I suppose it could apply to staff too!). I have always maintained more control with patients by NOT using force and I think this policy is sexist too. I would like to see more men in nursing not because I need them around to control patients or because they are strong and can help me lift, I can always round up enough women to lift just about anyone. We aren't wimps, it may take more of us to do the same lifting job as men, but we can get the job done without them. I would like to see more men in nursing just because I like to work with them. I enjoy their input into patient care but I also enjoy their company.
  10. by   LilgirlRN
    Personally, I see nothing wrong with a 6 figure income that allow's me to work with well educated, articulate, professional people.

    Uhmmm....ERN, where the hell do you work?
  11. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by fergus51
    Why do all of us enlightened people think that sexism is wrong, yet feel it's perfectly acceptable to generalize about an entire gender?

    Mario, that is the type of thing I was talking about. Do you see? All the problems in nursing relate to the fact that we are mostly women and somehow defective, unable to concentrate on anything but gossip and backbiting. I have heard this so often that it gets tiring, from both men and other women. Could you imagine if we said this type of thing about other groups in society? "You know that whole racism thing jut hasn't been solved because minoroties just can't get their act together"... I detest hearing people say that nursing is in the state it is because we women just couldn't get it together. It's not only wrong and simplistic and I dare say sexist, but completely ignores the strides nursing has taken in the last 30 years.
    Excellent, excellent post.
  12. by   sanakruz
    LiligirlRn- Is this a psych facility? People going "wild" is a matter for the criminal justice system ,is it not?
  13. by   LilgirlRN
    Nah psych...it's the ER!!!

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