Being a man in the field - page 4

Hi all i'm a female pre- nursing student and was just wandering how you men felt being in a class with mostly women.Is it uncomfortable?How do you cope and why did you choose it as a career?Hope i... Read More

  1. by   goober32
    My main reason for becoming a nurse was job security. I started in my late thirties and had been laid off too many times for comfort. I new nurses who always seemed to be able to make the house and car payments and didn't know what it was like to lose a job. A couple of male friends (not nurses themselves) suggested nursing and I did the research and thought I would give it a try.

    . I think for me the issue in school was mainly age-related. Being an old bachelor with no children and being a long time from that post-high school age, I didn't know how to relate to younger women -- and several didn't seem to know how to relate to me. So the first semester and a half of nursing school was many times lonely for me. It did get better as the other students got older and used to me and I became more understanding of them. The working world is totally different, since I feel quite comfortable with mostly female co-workers -- and most are closer to my own age, too.
  2. by   Nitngale
    [quote=Roy Fokker]Please realise - I'm not picking on you - merely responding to your posts with views of my own

    I do agree with you on societal roles regarding males - but I disagree with you as to your final conclusions.

    Just because men aren't taught to play with dolls doesn't mean they won't be caring in nature - just as "just because women aren't taught to play rough and at cops n robbers doesn't mean they won't make effective CEOs or Law Enforcement Officers".

    I wasn't raised in a family with a ton of kids - but I'd like to think that I'm a very empathetic and effective nurse

    Again - I'm not picking on you and I most certainly apprecitate your opinion (please don't think otherwise!).
    The irony is that I hated dolls and use to behead my sister's Barbie. But I do think that men that truly want to be nurses have an uphill battle in that society doesn't see them in those roles. I couldn't agree with you more in the 'nurture' scenerio since I have always worked in male dominated fields and I had to ignore the prejudices of family and workers. It does seem though that when women break into those roles there isn't the wall especially with other women, that men have to break with other men when they choose nursing, (ie) the comedy 'Meet the Parents' (sound familiar ). I think the most important skill a nurse (male or female) has is empathy. Sometimes just holding a patients hand has a healing affect. It doesn't matter what race or gender is attached to that hand.
  3. by   omeconium
    Quote from Nitngale
    I'm not a guy but I'll give you a different perspective. I've always worked in male dominated jobs--heavy equipment mechanic, welding, law enforcement and I personally think that women make it easier for a guy to feel comfortable. I put up with alot of jokes but I never complained and eventually was excepted. I tell people that I understand men better than women. The only problem I have with men in nursing is that the population of men wanting to become nurses seemed to be directly related to the increase in salaries for nurses. Back when it was a four year degree and low pay, men didn't want to do it, though there was also the 'social' stigma at the time. Society does not 'train' men in childhood (dolls, empathy, taking care of sibilings) as they do women, so the men, unless raised in a family with tons of kids, tend to have to acquire this in clinicals.
    I'll never forget when my Mom had bypass surgery. Her male nurse had hands so large that it hurt her when he changed her pressure stockings. But also he could pick her up by himself if needed.:wink2:
    I find it interesting that so many women see men as unfeeling, uncareing and devoid of empathy because we weren't "trained in childhood". It is sad that so many men give off that impression. When we do show any of these traits we are seen as weak or gay. Women say they want one thing and then look at us funny when we do. Thank you for the input. Consider however, I spend 20 years as a truckdriver and now I am a male OB tech and 1 1/2 years away from my BSN. I just felt that I needed to do something useful with my life... Oh ya, and I loooove babies.
  4. by   omeconium
    Quote from auto5man
    RichW, I particularly enjoyed your comments and take on the discussion.

    My experience as a male in a female dominated profession...

    Choosing nursing for me was almost accidental when I remember back. My upbringing was very traditional with definite ideas about the roles of men and women. I always had a very close relationship with my father (a lifetime of hunting and fishing toegether forged a close relationship) but he had a problem with my choice of nursing at first....I distinctly remember the rift it caused initially b/c of his "old fashioned" ideas of male and female roles. Socially things were very different in the world he grew up in compared to the world I grew up in so I could understand his feelings. I think it was just the initial shock for him that was hard, b/c as soon as he was used to the idea he had no further issues with it (perhaps mom gave him a good talking to...lol). My study path in college was a little less than deliberate as well, so perhaps he thought it was just another fad. I floundered around with several different majors trying to settle on a course of study. Nothing felt right. I never would have come up with nursing as a choice on my own either, b/c I had a fairly traditional attitude on nursing roles myself (nurses are women). My meandering path of course study in college brought me to a crisis of sorts, and a willingness to think in different ways. I had lots of girl friends at that time who were all nursing students....I can still remember the conversations. Them... "Have you ever thought about being a nurse?". Me...."Are you kidding?? Men aren't nurses!". Them...."Sure they are, we have LOTS of guys in our class". Me ..."Really?" ....and thats how the idea was born in my head. I wasn't sure if I could even tolerate the sight of blood ( I was a business finance manager at that time) so I got a job as an attendant in a local hospital to test the waters. I loved it and the rest is history.

    There were about 10 guys in my class of 60 students so I had good company. We did get extra attention but it was welcome attention. I remember feeling a little funny at first, but it was an easy adjustment. My dean, school, instructors, and university all created a forward thinking environment so perhaps that made it easier. I remembered feeling a little funny about OB at first, but again it was an easy transition! My rotation was in the "charity" hospital with indigent type patients. Believe me, those women didn't seem to care if you were male, female, student or otherwise as their nurse! They were not uncomfortable with me as a male, so in turn I wasn't uncomfortable. They were just grateful to have someone caring for them. I loved OB and thought about going into it, but ER was my first love.

    The environment you work in (geographical, social) I've found plays a big part in attitudes towards males and particular tasks (like catheterization). The attitude at my first ER (management attitude) was to treat males and females no differently....as a male nurse I was expected to cath males and females alike and that was the expectation. That being said, precautions must be taken for legal considerations. There should always be two present in the room preferably opposite sex. If the doctor is female, then I will assist in pelvic exam situations, etc. This may not be politically correct or forward thinking, but believe me its legally practical and protects you as the nurse. Many people do not care WHOSE live they ruin with false accusations in their desire for easy money. The current ER environment I work in though, the attitude is a little different. As a general rule, males cath males, and females cath females- but this is a general rule. Being flexible is the rule of the day here.

    My choice of specialty (ER) has also made it very easy to be a male in a female dominated profession. Honestly, there are just as many male nurses as female nurses, and this has pretty much been the case throughout my career. I don't even think about it any more (being a male in female dominant profession), because it has become normal in my world. I still hunt, fish, camp, watch sports, (Monday night football is back!!), play poker, hang with the guys, without a thought that I'm any different from my bud sitting next to me at the poker table who happens to be a banker. I am happily married with two beautiful daughters and loving wife. I think my professional experience has made me a better person, a better father, and a better husband.

    One funny thing in closing....it gives me a unique and entertaining perspective. I can remember as a teen wishing I could be a fly on the wall close to where a bunch of girls were talking. Now its like....I AM!! You wouldn't believe the things I've heard over the years because the women treat us males as if we are one of them!! I can also identify with one of the posters who made the comment about remembering not to assimilate TOO much in being "one of the girls". Males and females BOTH bring something uniquely different to the profession of nursing.

    Regards,

    David
    Thank you for your input. I actually spent 20 years as a truckdriver before going back to school. I was in a traffic accident that put me off an overpass in a truck with two trailers and I decided (in the air) that if I got out of that I needed to make a difference in the world. You would think I would be worried about living or not. My parents were happy about my decision, but frankly it didn't matter. I did it for me but it was nice. My wife had committed suicide two months prior and I would have left my son an orphan at 14. My mother is a nurse but both of my parents have been a great source of strength and support. Thanks again for the reply
    Rich
  5. by   Nitngale
    Rich et al: let me clarify what I said. I said 'society', not me, put those labels on men as well as women. As for empathy, I think that is gained more from experience than genetics. But women have a head start, in that society fosters these beliefs. It's funny 'cuz truck driver is one of the jobs I had considered. I think what you went through with a sucide in your family gives you a wonderful connection to many whom are ill, since many go through depression. I have met too many in the medical profession, usually doctors, that don't have any connection to their patients----and the patients can sense it.
  6. by   agent
    As a guy I feel my options are limited for where i do my specialty. i have spent time in most the the areas 3 semesters in.. and I relaly dont want to be somewhere that I am not welcomed. I have certainly felt that way in med surg before.
  7. by   nursemichael
    i am one of 5 in 97 nursing students in first year. i was a little uncomfortable at the start of the course, and i guess at times i still am but i dont let it get to me ya know. at times i worry what people are thinking but usually i really dont care. i feel a lot more comfortable in smaller classes like tutorial classes, rather than a big lecture with everyone there
  8. by   lector
    Im a male student nurse who was first assigned at the OB/DR. I was afraid first but certainly gaved in,seeing a delivery is like a miracle...you hear the newborns first cry, the smeell of an acid, the smile of the mother when seeing for the first time her child or the reaction and feelings that can be seen in a mothers face while on labor......can you see its nice to be at the OB/DR?But still prefer OR i like challenges and oh the Adrenaline rush.......

    Male student nurses here in the phil well there are lots of us in...but some are gay.....hehehe
  9. by   staygold
    Quote from Nitngale
    Rich et al: let me clarify what I said. I said 'society', not me, put those labels on men as well as women. As for empathy, I think that is gained more from experience than genetics. But women have a head start, in that society fosters these beliefs. It's funny 'cuz truck driver is one of the jobs I had considered. I think what you went through with a sucide in your family gives you a wonderful connection to many whom are ill, since many go through depression. I have met too many in the medical profession, usually doctors, that don't have any connection to their patients----and the patients can sense it.
    I understand what you're saying but still it is a hair on the sexist side to be honest.Its just the nature of the conversation though.
  10. by   cota2k
    I have always enjoyed being the male in a female dominated profession. It's been repeated often here that both sexes, as with any two people that work together, will change the dynamics. We all bring something different to the table. We had a discusion in my BSN class a couple weeks ago about males in the profession, my comment was "As an ED Nurse, I get asked for help with all the lifts, transfers and drunks." Our instructor asked if this bothered me? No. Are the females bothered to go with the docs for pelvics? NO. Are the female nurses bothered when I ask one to accompany me to place a foley in a female? No. This is just how tasks have evolved. One of our docs even said he's not heard of a female nurse being sued for sexual indescretion by a male during foley placement. I practice as a professional, and I am treated by all the hospital staff, in and out of the ED, as a professional. The bottom line is team work. We don't all ahave to get along, but from 9-5 we do need to accept each other for what are. Nurses.
  11. by   Nitngale
    Quote from staygold
    I understand what you're saying but still it is a hair on the sexist side to be honest.Its just the nature of the conversation though.
    I don't agree with the term "sexist". It has a legal conatation which points toward discrimination. I've worked almost exclusively with men in male dominated jobs my whole life and there is a difference (on average) between men and women and the way they approach and perform a job. I don't think that one is better then the other just different. I quote from a former boss when I showed him that I could perform a certain task as well or better than my male counterparts. He agreed that I did but put it this way . He said, about 90%the men where I worked (there were 5000+ employees) could do the same work while only 15% of the women could. As for the education and actual performance of nursing, I think anyone with intelligence and persevervance can graduate-----but to be a good nurse, comes from the heart and has nothing to do with gender. I think gender does play a role when it comes to the patient's choice. How many men go to a female urologists?

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