Check your manliness at the door...

by Floridatrail2006

6,022 Views | 22 Comments

I don't know quite how to describe this. But, as men, our society feeds us this masculine role and gender expectations. A man is supposed to be strong, confident, non-emotional, and aggressive right? That could be why some people don't understand why we would go into this field. I'm here to tell you what I have done to fit in.

  1. 11

    Check your manliness at the door...

    Just wanted to say that I have personally had a great experience both in the nursing program and in clinicals be a male student. When I initially started, I was concerned going into a female dominated field. However, overall, I have had good experiences. In fact, I receive compliments all the time. Like, "The best nurse I've had was male. Or, we really need you in this field. And, the typical, we have to have men for their strength (like our strength will move a 500lb patient all in one big swoop)." With enough hands, men or not, people can move big patients. Anyway.

    I suppose I don't think about nursing as a "female dominate field." But, just a field. It's a job that just so happens there are a lot of women in. Even in OB and L&D, I had good experiences. Really Great Experiences! Magical Even (especially in L&D)! It's amazing seeing a baby born. So, what have I done that has eased my transition into this field? A few different things. I do take pride in the ability to go in a variety of situations and be able to communicate and relate to many demographics. But, some people have difficulty to do so. However, I'll tell you what I've done that anyone should be able to do.

    1. I'm polite and respectful. It really goes a looong way to use formal names (sirs, mams, miss, etc.) Unless pt says otherwise, continue to do so. I also use formal names with fellow co-workers. Hold and open doors for people. Ask if the family needs anything. Just try to do little things you'd do for you family. Try to help make the hospital setting a little less bland and a little more like home.

    2. I greet everyone! Use good morning, good evening, good night. Hello, How are you? Etc. It seems like those little things are neglected. People really remember that stuff. People don't remember my name but I'm the friendly dude who always says good morning.

    3. Keep your mouth shut. We talk about therapeutic communication techniques. The only one I can remember all the time is keep quiet. Because I'm a student, I'm afforded the luxury of sitting with patients, unlike a typical nurse (just too darn busy most of the time). I find that asking to sit and having a good quality conversation about just about anything really opens doors to trust and further communication. I've heard amazing stories. I've received information that was important in their care that wasn't in the chart and ultimately was relayed to the nurse. I'm a very talkative guy and I talk how I write. I like to be detailed and like to know as much information as possible. However, if there is one skill you learn about during communication is keeping your mouth shut and allowing the patient to express his or her's ideas.

    4. Smile. I try to greet everyone with a smile. So now, I'm the guy who always says good morning with a smile. Sometimes, it's hard to summon smiles but it really helps. Of course, reserve your smile during sad times when inappropriate but smiling is helpful. At the hospital I do clinicals at, the codeword to smile is "sunshine!"

    5. Check your manliness at the door. I don't know quite how to describe this. But, as men, our society feeds us this masculine role and gender expectations. A man is supposed to be strong, confident, non-emotional, a gear-head, a sports fanatic, excessively curse/cuss, aggressive, overly sexual, beer drinking, party animals, muscular, etc, etc, etc. That could be why some people don't understand why we would go into this field. Try to understand that we have been socialized and were taught that these qualities are normal for men (of course, not ALL these qualities are applicable in every situation and upbringing) But, I would urge you this. Try to analyze yourself and notice your inappropriate tendencies and behaviors towards others because some of that is not condoned in a hospital setting. Try to find out if you have those "manly" behaviors and tendencies are going to hinder your care. They could also hinder your professionalism in the eyes your co-workers and clinical instructors. I've worked with a "manly" guy in my clinical group and it's unpleasent, slightly embarrassing, and puts men in a bad light. He can be obnoxious and hard to work with because of that. He cracks sexual jokes in the hall and will nudge my shoulder in a manly-haha-you know what I mean way. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for joking and YES, I work with attractive women. However, there is a time and place for that type of talk. Check your manliness at the door.

    That's about all I've got for. Being a polite, friendly, approachable, and aappropriately manly guy, you should have good reviews from patients, families, co-workers, and the almighty clinical instructors.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 21, '12
    iwant2b1, Anoetos, Wild Irish LPN, and 8 others like this.
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  3. About Floridatrail2006

    Floridatrail2006 joined Jul '09 - from 'Iowa'. Age: 26 Floridatrail2006 has 'Less than 1' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Long Term Care'. Posts: 377 Likes: 161; Learn more about Floridatrail2006 by visiting their allnursesPage Website

    22 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Great post For what it is worth I completely concur !!
  5. 0
    Awesome thanks! I'm going to start nursing school in june and these are definitely great points to keep in mind
  6. 0
    Quote from armada14
    Awesome thanks! I'm going to start nursing school in june and these are definitely great points to keep in mind
    No problem
  7. 2
    5. check your manliness at the door. i don't know quite how to describe this. but, as men, our society feeds us this masculine role and gender expectations. a man is supposed to be strong, confident, non-emotional, a gear-head, a sports fanatic, excessively curse/cuss, aggressive, overly sexual, beer drinking, party animals, muscular, etc, etc, etc. that could be why some people don't understand why we would go into this field. try to understand that we have been socialized and were taught that these qualities are normal for men (of course, not all these qualities are applicable in every situation and upbringing)
    but, i would urge you this.
    try to analyze yourself and notice your inappropriate tendencies and behaviors towards others because some of that is not condoned in a hospital setting. try to find out if you have those "manly" behaviors and tendencies are going to hinder your care. they could also hinder your professionalism in the eyes your co-workers and clinical instructors. i've worked with a "manly" guy in my clinical group and it's unpleasent, slightly embarrassing, and puts men in a bad light. he can be obnoxious and hard to work with because of that. he cracks sexual jokes in the hall and will nudge my shoulder in a manly-haha-you know what i mean way. don't get me wrong, i'm all for joking and yes, i work with attractive women. however, there is a time and place for that type of talk. check your manliness at the door.
    nice stereotype, sure some guys crack a few jokes but so do the girls. so i would change number 5. to when you enter the hospital/health centre/ward put your game face on. when you leave and return home put your 'manly' face back on. its a good way of being both professional at work but also prevents you bringing work home with you.

    also as a male studying nursing no matter how professional i be i am still a male, ive found that by really taking care of the patients i am assigned to look after, treating them with respect and understanding that patients do not care if i am a guy or a girl. in the end i am a nurse.
    Psychtrish39 and Anoetos like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from Floridatrail2006

    5. Check your manliness at the door. I don't know quite how to describe this. But, as men, our society feeds us this masculine role and gender expectations. A man is supposed to be strong, confident, non-emotional, a gear-head, a sports fanatic, excessively curse/cuss, aggressive, overly sexual, beer drinking, party animals, muscular, etc, etc, etc. That could be why some people don't understand why we would go into this field. Try to understand that we have been socialized and were taught that these qualities are normal for men (of course, not ALL these qualities are applicable in every situation and upbringing) But, I would urge you this. Try to analyze yourself and notice your inappropriate tendencies and behaviors towards others because some of that is not condoned in a hospital setting. Try to find out if you have those "manly" behaviors and tendencies are going to hinder your care. They could also hinder your professionalism in the eyes your co-workers and clinical instructors. I've worked with a "manly" guy in my clinical group and it's unpleasent, slightly embarrassing, and puts men in a bad light. He can be obnoxious and hard to work with because of that. He cracks sexual jokes in the hall and will nudge my shoulder in a manly-haha-you know what I mean way. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for joking and YES, I work with attractive women. However, there is a time and place for that type of talk. Check your manliness at the door.
    I'll agree with most of this, but I'll also add that having strong male qualities also forms a foundation for a good nurse. In dark and uncertain times, someone that is strong, confident, and non-emotional is much more of an asset than a hindrance.

    Should you joke around constantly and grab female butts? Of course not. But does a well placed, appropriate joke with a patient help brighten their day? It sure does. I think having a certain degree of manliness is a huge benefit to a hospital or clinical setting.
    Anoetos likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from Kiwiguy
    Nice stereotype, sure some guys crack a few jokes but so do the girls. So i would change number 5. to When you enter the hospital/health centre/ward put your game face on. When you leave and return home put your 'manly' face back on. Its a good way of being both professional at work but also prevents you bringing work home with you.

    Also as a male studying nursing no matter how professional i be i am still a male, ive found that by really taking care of the patients i am assigned to look after, treating them with respect and understanding that patients do not care if i am a guy or a girl. In the end i am a nurse.
    I completely agree with you regarding taking care of someone with respect and understanding. I've done this with all patients hence why I wrote this. It has really done me well. Patients have a world of compliments.

    However, no stereotype. Refer to any sociological reference about socialization and gender norms/expectations. As men, some of these expectations and widely accepted norms have no place in the healthcare field. I'm mainly referring to my male counterpart in my clinical group. There are many things he says that I can clearly see are "gender specific." It's really gonna bite him in the butt someday. Not all men are like this. But, we have been taught masculinity from birth. From getting blue blankets to male orientated toys as a younger child to being taught masculine characteristics through teenage years and beyond. I wanted male students out there too know that some of those characteristics can hinder care and professionalism. I wanted men to consider and evaluate one's self to determine, "Do I say or do something of this nature? If so, what can I do about it?" No insult intended I assure you.
    Enthused RN likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from Loque
    I'll agree with most of this, but I'll also add that having strong male qualities also forms a foundation for a good nurse. In dark and uncertain times, someone that is strong, confident, and non-emotional is much more of an asset than a hindrance.

    Should you joke around constantly and grab female butts? Of course not. But does a well placed, appropriate joke with a patient help brighten their day? It sure does. I think having a certain degree of manliness is a huge benefit to a hospital or clinical setting.
    I agree with you. I guess I should've elaborated on the good qualities of masculinity as well as the useful or importance. Thanks for the clarification.
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    I agree with the game face ideology... It's important to distinguish work from being "manly"... When people are in the hospital, they look as us as Professionals, and expect a certain attitude. Just like a doctor who goes to see a patient when he has beer on his breath. We need as men AND women, to always hold ourselves to a higher standard. That improves patient care.

    What I've learned in the hospital setting is what I've suspected ALL along. Sometimes being a male is an advantage, other times it's NOT, but always being a professional is ALWAYS an advantage. TEAMWORK. Male or Female, working together is what sets us apart.

    I had a male patient (diabetic with an amputation) who had a hard time "finding his penis" for being obese. I had never had an issue of this sort before, so I cracked a joke about it, whereupon both myself AND the patient wound up feeling more at ease with the situation, and handled his needs more comfortably.

    He told me he felt embarrassed when the girls would have to help him. I made him feel at ease.
    Being male can be an asset, same as for being female, depending on the Patient. The Bottom line is we are ALL Nurses, and act accordingly.
    Psychtrish39 and Anoetos like this.
  12. 2
    Good article. My only comment about the "manliness" is that maybe a better term would be "macho" or "machismo" if you want to be technically correct. That type of behavior or attitude has no place in a clinical setting. I don't think you can turn off you sexual identity but for sure you can tone down your sexuality. A professional attitude toward your patients and coworkers is what should be front and center. And sometimes biting your lip and keeping quiet is a skill we should all learn to make better use of.
    iwant2b1 and Psychtrish39 like this.


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