Where are the men? - page 5

Why haven't more men entered the field of nursing over the years? Nursing remains at 94.6% female.... Read More

  1. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I'll throw in here,
    I believe that nursing curicculum sows the seed and plants the irrevocable idea that nursing is gender specific. Societal expectations notwithstanding, I believe that nursing schools use female-friendly curicculums to keep thier pass rates up(since most students are female) and the males are alienated from the profession from the first day on.

    I would like to give a postmortem analysis on how it felt to sit in such a nursing program as a male.

    I wanted to seek out a studygroup from the first day, but the conversations after class were not about the subject matter on that day and I had a very difficult time "working the room" in seeking out the most dedicated students.
    Same thing the next class, and on, and on, and on.
    If you were not prepared to discuss children,hairstyle,recipies.........blah,blah,blah ..........you were NOT getting in any study groups. Why would they invite you to studygroup if you were male? After all, you were strangely silent after class. You stood around several groups but failed to enter any of the lively conversations when the other students were talking thier heads off! There must be something wrong with you.

    From day one, the male does not socially fit into any groups.

    As the days wear on in my solitude I am trying to understand why the lectures seem to focus on what patients might be thinking,what nurses might and should think,what to communicate about what you think to patients and other nurses. As if you didn't feel like the Stuart Smalley poster child yet, instead of actual objective data you get, how thier ethnicity,age,gender,pathology,childhood might affect prognosis(although such a word as prognisis would never be used).
    Then you are invited to form "nursing diagnosis" on the basis of this psychosocial heaping spoonful of motherly love.

    Now your thinking that you may spend the rest of any nursing career as a product of this. The curicculum is most definitely grounded in non-male domains.

    Talking about your feelings for a given purpose:
    Males don't generally use this information for anything. We are not skilled at this. It is not in our nature.

    What is the psychosocial diagnosis? seems to be the subject of debate in every conversation that has to do with nursing. You stand with your hands together trying to look interested waiting.........for some clue as to how this can be interesting to them, just as you did when they talked about kids, hair, shoes, boyfriends, nails......................
    Finally, one day, they say "hey, you're good at all this A&P stuff, tell me................A sudden feeling of exhilleration floods over you What is that stuff that makes your nails harder?"......"What do you mean, a pathology, or a nutrient that may be lacking?" The group is visibly uncomfortable with my direct approach. Someone else guesses at the answer and debate ensues.......................nobody notices that I have not answered.
    Every exam that I take feels the same way. Indirect, indecisive, test questions, about psychosocial poop.

    I walk away.............................and I keep walking.

    To the nursing office. In my direct analysis of all objective data I give up my seat after posting a "B" grade for the semester. My clinical instructor thinks I'm great and crinkles her brow when I say I won't be back.
    The nursing staff is perplexed as to why I would not continue.
    It's difficult to explain without offending them, so in all my maleness I gladly suppress what I'm feeling and tell them "it's just not for me"

    This is sort of an amusing postscript to this story...................

    When I used to tell people that I was a nursing student they would say "oh that's great! We need more nurses." sometimes they would offer "Isn't it tough being a male in that profession?"
    The general public seems to recognize that. I wonder why nursing schools don't.

    Now I tell them that I'm going to be a physician assistant.
    "Do you need a degree for that?"

    Oh my GAWWWWWD!:roll
  2. by   goingCOASTAL
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    I'll throw in here,
    I believe that nursing curicculum sows the seed and plants the irrevocable idea that nursing is gender specific. Societal expectations notwithstanding, I believe that nursing schools use female-friendly curicculums to keep thier pass rates up(since most students are female) and the males are alienated from the profession from the first day on.

    I would like to give a postmortem analysis on how it felt to sit in such a nursing program as a male.

    I wanted to seek out a studygroup from the first day, but the conversations after class were not about the subject matter on that day and I had a very difficult time "working the room" in seeking out the most dedicated students.
    Same thing the next class, and on, and on, and on.
    If you were not prepared to discuss children,hairstyle,recipies.........blah,blah,blah ..........you were NOT getting in any study groups. Why would they invite you to studygroup if you were male? After all, you were strangely silent after class. You stood around several groups but failed to enter any of the lively conversations when the other students were talking thier heads off! There must be something wrong with you.

    From day one, the male does not socially fit into any groups.
    Wow! I had problems with some of the wishy-washy curriculum, but not socially -- and neither did the other seven males in my class of 60. And the guys didn't all clique together, either -- we intermingled quite easily, and joined study groups. Sure, there was some diaper talk, but socially, there was never the problem that you've presented -- and my alma mater is in a real macho region of Texas.

    I don't believe that gender discrimination keeps the males out from day one -- most of us had no prior health care experience and didn't have a clue about the curriculum on "day one," but, admittedly, guys had a harder time throughout our two-year program. Of the eight guys that started with us, one (our class president no less) flunked out mid-stream, and two of the three people that failed boards the first time were guys.
  3. by   ainz
    I agree that the problems begin in school with the way people are socialized into the profession. I say this based on what I have heard and my own experiences in school. I first went to one of those militaristic ADN programs where the instructors seemed to be getting their chance at "giving it back to the students." I was actually told I did not fit in with nursing and would never make it. They looked for reasons to try and get me out of the program. Unbelieveable. Should have told me something then but it only made me more determined.

    I don't think it is the curriculim that is the problem, it is the way the female dominated nursing instructors socialize and teach nursing students to approach problem solving and assessment. It has a definite "female" slant, lots of estrogen floating around in it. Not as objective and factual based, more intuition and "touchy feely" kind of stuff.

    As I have said before and will continue to say--the problems with nursing are due to a lack of how to communicate effectively with physicians and administration, the people that are the decision-makers in healthcare. These people want objective data, not histrionic opinions. Also it is detrimental to nursing overall when the staff do not participate in opportunities to influence their practice and practice setting and conduct themselves in most unprofessional ways at work, especially cowering down to, and flirting with, male physicians.

    Nurses complain they don't feel valued, this is because they are not viewed as valued. Why is this? Because the average staff nurse cannot tell you how they contribute to the patient's outcome (other than carrying out doctor's orders), do not present themselves well as informed professionals, do not have a clue about financial issues and are not interested in learning, engage in petty bickering and fighting among themselves, and approach administration with requests and demands that they cannot back up with objective data and have no earthly idea about how this will impact themselves and the organization financially.

    When are we going to learn???
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    Peeps, I found study groups to be just as you described, mostly social interactions with little real studying happening. I never do well in study groups and have always studied by myself. I learn better in a more focused environment. And I'm a girl

    This is purely anecdotal but I have seen nurses who happen to be male indulge in the gossipy and backstabbing environment that is usually attributed to women. But by far, this is a woman-thing. It is so easy to get drawn into that mode and I work very hard to pull myself back from that - not always successfully. I find this happens at work when we are not busy.

    I had one great and very demanding female instructor who focused on the clinical findings rather than psych-social stuff and I really appreciated that.

    I work with a physician though who completely sets aside the psych-social stuff and is pretty brutal with people who are addicted to substances that are causing their clinical symptoms.
    I'm not convinced this is the way to go . . . balance seems to be the key to me. We have frequent flyers who never change their behavior. How do we address that? Tough Love (Toughs**t) or find an in-patient treatment center?

    I'm struggling with an adolescent daughter who is in the midst of this female backstabbing frenzy . . . .so this really interest me.

    I'm much more aware of this at work now. . . . thanks for a thought-provoking post. Actually, thanks to all you "nurses who happen to be male".

    steph
  5. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    From Coastal
    I don't believe that gender discrimination keeps the males out from day one -- most of us had no prior health care experience and didn't have a clue about the curriculum on "day one,"
    The percentage of females is that high because that is how nursing schools prefer it. I had prior healthcare experience but I never knew nurses actualy thought this way. You were fortunate to have had 11.7% gender representation. In my program it was 3/90 after the first test, or 3.3%. Since I left I've talked to one another male that stayed in. He spent 20 min confiding in me just one of the many incidents that made him feel unwelcome. He was a good student when he entered the program, confident and proud, now he's hanging on to his seat in the program by a thread and his GPA is in the toilet. He doesn't know what happend to the other guy................they don't talk.

    Ainz
    I don't think it is the curriculim that is the problem, it is the way the female dominated nursing instructors socialize and teach nursing students to approach problem solving and assessment. It has a definite "female" slant, lots of estrogen floating around in it. Not as objective and factual based, more intuition and "touchy feely" kind of stuff.
    You reflect my sentiments exactly..................however, that curicculum is put together by those instructors and it reflects what they think and what you are tested on................as well as thier preposterous test questions.
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on Aug 4, '03
  6. by   iliel
    Wow, I have almost walked away from reading these posts thinking that men think there is something wrong with women who dominate in a field. I'm disapointed.
    Ainz, I'm not attacking you, but I think if you want to make a change in nursing, you need to go after the students. They are the ones who are idealistic and are willing to do things to make their future career better.
  7. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Iliel,

    Where do you get the idea that an equitable work enviroment is not influenced by gender?

    I wish someone would have been honest with me and said "look, the fact is that the curicculum is gender specific since it is controlled by women. If you have a hard time thinking like one, honestly, don't waste your time and fill a seat that we could give to a woman."

    It's not PC so it will never happen, and some guy pointing it out is also not PC so it will never happen. Look at your attitude about dominating men, instead it could have offered insight from your end of it.

    Well, actualy it did.
  8. by   iliel
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    Iliel,

    Where do you get the idea that an equitable work enviroment is not influenced by gender?

    I wish someone would have been honest with me and said "look, the fact is that the curicculum is gender specific since it is controlled by women. If you have a hard time thinking like one, honestly, don't waste your time and fill a seat that we could give to a woman."

    It's not PC so it will never happen, and some guy pointing it out is also not PC so it will never happen. Look at your attitude about dominating men, instead it could have offered insight from your end of it.

    Well, actualy it did.
    Ok, you really read into my post. Where was my "attitude" about men dominating. There are many male dominated fields.

    If you feel the need to talk further about this, you can PM me.

    I guess I just see a double standard.
    Last edit by iliel on Aug 4, '03
  9. by   goingCOASTAL
    Originally posted by ainz
    I agree that the problems begin in school with the way people are socialized into the profession. I say this based on what I have heard and my own experiences in school. I first went to one of those militaristic ADN programs where the instructors seemed to be getting their chance at "giving it back to the students." I was actually told I did not fit in with nursing and would never make it. They looked for reasons to try and get me out of the program. Unbelieveable. Should have told me something then but it only made me more determined.
    This went on in my school as well, but it wasn't gender related. There was one woman in our class that made it to the final semester, when her clinical instructor surprised her one day with this ultimatum (or at least my paraphrase of it): "I don't think you'll make a good nurse, so I'm giving you the opportunity to withdraw. I don't know how you made it this far, but I'm letting you know now that I'm not passing you out of this clinical -- and I don't care how you're doing with the lecture classes." Clinical grades were completely subjective, and completely dependent on the instructor's perception of you -- so it was essential to kiss lots of boo-boo lest you find yourself with the wrong grade.
  10. by   gaspassah
    well. ahem. my 2 cents. from this males perspective.

    nursing is female dominated, female slanted in the educational system because it was started by.....females, at a time when women were ment to be subservient.

    nurses constantly rant about respect. how they dont get it from administation and how they dont get it from mds. that is because from day one, nursing has never been anything but a glorified gofer role, and they never stood up to abuse doled out by mds.
    md" nurse get me this, get me that" give the patient this and give them that. "

    nursing never had a foundation that said "my actions affects the patients in this way". only when you F@##up does anyone care what your actions were.

    physicians are based on outcome. treatment = results. thousands of years of science based treatments to achieve positive patient results.

    nurses attempted to form some kind of "science" to base their actions on but "ineffectual coping realted to disease process" really doenst seem to matter when they got pints of blood spewing out their butt or face. dont get me wrong,, high risk for decubitous related to skin shear is important in some respects, but when your at the bedside all night with a patient on vent, dopamine, levophed, swann ganz, and gettin blood, is that really so important, or is the minute change in breath sounds that may suggest decreasing heart function, or drop in urine output, or suddenly the ng tube is putting out blood that wasnt there earlier more important in that patients outcome.

    nurses are paid to notice changes (as someone put it earlier.) and report those changes, or treat them if it falls into your scope of practice:and there must be a way to convey that issue to the powers that be in nursing and medicine.

    it is nearly impossible to break decades of ingrained thought processes from the way nurses think of nursing and how medicine thinks of nursing.

    when your foundation was bedbaths and bedpans there is not much to go on from there.

    nurses do not prescribe and do not diagnose. so what is left for us. we attempt to scienceify nursing with nursing diagnoses, but arent most of these just common sense. dont you turn your patients they cant turn themselves. dont you encourage nutritional intake if they are old and weak. do we really need "scientific" nursing diagnoses to tell us what really should be obvious.

    im not the most touchy feely guy in the world, but dont you listen to people when they have problems. do they really need a diagnosis of altered coping before someone listens to them.

    until you can tell the doctor or your administrator that YOU yourself saved someones life because you recognized the s/s of hypoglycemia made a decision about it and acted on it, will you begin to get respect.

    when the md comes in and wants to know labs, do you tell them where they are, or do you tell em what they are and show that you are involved in that patients care enough to keep up with whats going on.

    dont get me wrong there are plenty of times i feel like a pill pusher and foley flipper, but i never let anyone talk "down" to me or treat me with disrespect. i found this job when i was looking for one, i'll find the next job when i go looking for it.

    empower yourself with knowledge, about your patients, their disease, their treatment and your skills, and dont take any s#$$ because your "just a nurse". man or woman

    these are my most humble opinions.
  11. by   goingCOASTAL
    Originally posted by ainz

    As I have said before and will continue to say--the problems with nursing are due to a lack of how to communicate effectively with physicians and administration, the people that are the decision-makers in healthcare. These people want objective data, not histrionic opinions. Also it is detrimental to nursing overall when the staff do not participate in opportunities to influence their practice and practice setting and conduct themselves in most unprofessional ways at work, especially cowering down to, and flirting with, male physicians.

    Nurses complain they don't feel valued, this is because they are not viewed as valued. Why is this? Because the average staff nurse cannot tell you how they contribute to the patient's outcome (other than carrying out doctor's orders), do not present themselves well as informed professionals, do not have a clue about financial issues and are not interested in learning, engage in petty bickering and fighting among themselves, and approach administration with requests and demands that they cannot back up with objective data and have no earthly idea about how this will impact themselves and the organization financially.

    When are we going to learn???
    I think the problems with nursing are a little more complex than simply be writing all nurses off as histrionic, kowtowing idiots. In most hospitals I've worked at, an average nurse's workload was such that one only had time to be on the floor swabbing, sticking, hanging, cleaning, administering, etc., etc. Yes, I've had managers ask me for data proving complaints (such as ER dumping patients at the end of shift) -- yes, I did look a little perturbed. If I had time to stand around with a clipboard writing down times and occurances, I would have had time to not have had a problem (i.e., do the work I was complaining about not having time/resources to do).

    The problem I've run across in my scant eight years of nursing, is not having many managers/directors with any "real" nursing experiences. Most went straight into management, and simply can't relate when the staff has problems. The few that have seem to be able to relate, and are able to sift through the "venting" and get at the root of the problem, sorting fact from fiction, etc. One dear manager got off her duff and actually investigated a particular problem our staff was complaining about and came up with the "data" to validate our complaint, which earned her a lot of respect on the floor. Some people have time to do the algebra, me -- I have a lady screaming down in 201-A for pain meds.

    There are lots of professions with lots of different types of people and gender mixes. It's a little simple to just infer that everyone that happened to choose nursing as a career are simply whining ninnies with no grip on reality.
  12. by   Louie18
    in 1972 I was part of .026% of males in nursing.
    Today I am fried.
    I would say most men can't keep up with the work or feel underpaid. I just cared.
    Louie
  13. by   goingCOASTAL
    Originally posted by gaspassah
    well. ahem. my 2 cents. from this males perspective.

    nurses constantly rant about respect. how they dont get it from administation and how they dont get it from mds. that is because from day one, nursing has never been anything but a glorified gofer role, and they never stood up to abuse doled out by mds.
    md" nurse get me this, get me that" give the patient this and give them that. "
    I agree with this -- at least traditionally. And, although I know a few nurses that re-inforce this stereotype, the "go-for" role is a role that is ENFORCED by alot of hospital administration. I know nurses that have been disciplined -- one charge nurse friend of mine was demoted -- for giving smart-ass doctors a dose of their own medicine. Of course, it's okay for a physician to throw a chart across the unit, but if a nurse "talks back" to a foul mouthed doctor, his/her livelihood is threatened.

    And the same goes with patients as well -- one hospital I worked at was obsessed with us doing this smiley-faced customer-service thing like we were maids at the downtown Marriot, walking slowly, exclaiming, "Is there anything else? I have the time!" (When in reality, you had a blood transfusion, two admits on the way, and a doctor on hold).

    As a guy, I've never been verbally abused or assaulted by a physician, but I've often stated that if that chart flying across the unit ever made contact with me, I would have no problem filing assault charges.

    The only nurses that make me cringe are the few that are left that <gasp!> STAND when a physician enters a station, or run to the coffee machine, exclaiming, "I can't remember Dr. Doolittle . . . do you like two sugars or one?"

    I do agree that this kow-towing still occurs, but certainly not by all.

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