Being a man in the field - page 3
by tigress_8207 5,952 Views | 49 Comments
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 don't offend anyone but i'm just... Read More
- 0Sep 2, '06 by bitterguyDon't take this personally, BUT, how do you like living in a man dominated society with no apparent end in sight?
I'm a man and a nursing student; but I'm also a husband, father, son, brother, mountain biker, xc skier, homebrewer, bike communter, environmentalist, conservationist, etc...
I am not threatened by a person's sex, I regard you as you, a human being.
BTW, I'll be in line to vote for Hilary Clinton in 2008 if she chooses to run.
- 0Sep 8, '06 by omeconiumPresumable the majority of us are adults. However, some of the postings that I have seen make me wonder! “Cover up your goods???” Most of us have spent years studying the human body both male and female. Why is it no big deal for a female nurse to insert a catheter into a male but having a male at a birth forbidden? I was particularly offended by the male nursing student that was “happy” that he was excused from class during an OB rotation because he wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do postpartum care. I would have been infuriated!!!
I am a male and after six months in the float pool I applied and received placement in mother newborn. After six months I was trained as a tech. I started out knowing that I wanted to be part of the birthing process but worked all over the hospital to make sure. At 41 I started school doing the prerequisites to become a PA. After learning that the medical philosophy "diagnosis and repairs illness and injury" I redirected my efforts into nursing. Nursing creates "an environment of wellbeing to promote healing." Being pregnant is not an illness!
I attend class with primarily women, my instructors are all women, my nurses are exclusively women, and my patients are certainly women. I swim in an estrogen ocean. I am definitely not gay, but there is nothing sexy about birth. Nine months prior to birth was sexy. Almost all of the nurses like having me around, except two maybe three but they are about to retire. They are of the generation that thinks men should be autoclaved before allowed to look at a baby though the window. I have never had a problem with my patients during a vaginal birth or clean up afterward. I am a scrub tech during C-sections and my patients would not like me to be absent. My instructors are my biggest obstacle. They have antiquated ideas of what men should be allowed to do. I don’t think all men have the maturity to work in obstetrics (particularly after reading this) but for those that do there should not be the barriers that exist. How many male OB MD’s are there?? Are we a profession or not? I believe is takes a special person (either male or female) to be an OB nurse. We need to stop worrying about what is or isn’t between our legs and adjust what is between our ears and get rid of the sexist ideas of the past.
- 0Sep 8, '06 by KatieKtQuote from RichwThis is true. Thats why I was somewhat surprised to find out my male coworker in the L&D/postpartum ward was not doing perineal checks, merely asking the women about their swelling/bleeding etc. :uhoh21: The only barrier I can see would be religious reasons.I don’t think all men have the maturity to work in obstetrics (particularly after reading this) but for those that do there should not be the barriers that exist.
You know....something crazy and unrelated. But we had some hospital food techs refuse to bring food into the rooms on our ward because they were embarrased when they saw a woman breastfeeding. I mean..dont they screen these people?
- 0Sep 8, '06 by rpv_rnrichw: i liked your comments.
it's a shame when instructors limit male students to specific patients. male nursing students need the exposure & experience along with their female counterparts.
as for male catheterizing females, etc., unfortunately, it is for your own protection. when male students perform female peri-care, there is usually a female student in the room with him.
i agree with your comment regarding the perineal area. it is part of a human being's anatomy, just as the gastro-intestinal or cardiovascular system is. it's the social issue of being "sexual" body part that new/ incoming students have to overcome. we also have to respect our patients' feelings and values about the perineal and breast areas.
when male & female nursing students communicate and behave in a professional manner, patients will be more accepting with assessment or care of their "private parts." i have witnessed from young to elderly female patients accept their male nurses without problems.
competent therapeutic communication is a learned skill that both female & male nursing students must accomplish.
- 0Sep 8, '06 by auto5manRichW, 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.
- 0Sep 8, '06 by dawg07I am glad to se some maturity in the postings. I have been a RN for 3 yrs now and started in the field I loved, ER and ICU. I am now a clinical advisor in an ICU and float to the ER. I went full time to the ICU b/c of discriminatory attitudes and preferential treatment by the female supervisors toward women. I believed then and still believe that professionals are professionals, however, as mentioned in a previous post, judious actions (being culturally, religiously, and ethically aware) can prevent problems. Especially in cases where there is the potential for accusations of abuse (pelvic exams or pericares). I have only ran into two incidents where a patient has asked for a female nurse, and those were related to religious and cultural reasons, and I happily honored those requests. The attitudes that bother me are the female peers that think a male nurse is only a portable forklift, and should not be allowed to perform cres on a female.
Unfortunately, I have run into this several times, and I always ask if they feel that a male nurse should accompany them with cares that might require exposure of genital areas. They all replied an unequivical "NO" because men aren't embarrassed or are happy to have a female provide those cares. I then gently point out that men can be and are often embarrassed as well as women, and use a few examples from experience like the man who came in with a "diffuse abdominal pain" that was relieved that he had a male because he could then be open about the large growth on a testical that was bothering him and the real reason for his visit. And yes it was testicular cancer, but the young gentleman is doing well and adjusting well.
Overall, I feel that beeing a man in nursing is much more rewarding than my prior life (US Army, 22yrs, reconnaissance). It is a fulfillment of a life long goal, and I have my sights set on being a midlevel provider, ARNP. So for those of you who are students, or are chosing nursing as a second career, go for it! Be professional, and be yourself. Use common sense, and be judicious in each situation. Use good critical thinking skills and remember that like women in male dominated fields, your actions and professionalism reflect much more brightly that in fields where the playing field is more equitable.
Don't discriminate, and don't allow discrimination. Address the problem with those that cause it in a direct, but non-hostile manner and use the available resources or your employer if you encounter problems that can't be resolved at the lowest level by direct communication. (that is advice for women as well as men) Enjoy your career!