Confident in clinicals - but hard to relate

  1. I'm an advanced med-surge (adult II) RN student in my second to last term. I've finally gotten to the point where I feel somewhat confident in the hospital setting, and I'm proud of my ability to relate to and care for patients, but something has been nagging at the back of my mind.

    I just can't seem to truly fit in with the younger females like the others do.

    Out of about 80 in my cohort, there are roughly 20 male students, and of those 10 are gay. I'm straight, and (please please don't turn this into a witch hunt - I really need help and I'm not coming from a hateful place) and I feel like I and the other straight male students in my class have a harder time relating to the *young* female nurses with whom we are paired in clinicals.

    I have *no* trouble asking questions, talking about clinical things, and being (as far as I can tell, and as far as the people who tell me these things can see) non-threatening in a sexual way. I don't create any tension and I can say that with confidence. The problem I have is that I'm just not interested in the same things that most of these 20-something girls are. I, myself, am 28, but I'm more interested in sports, video games, and fantasy novels than the latest pop hit that everyone's always talking about, hair, shoes, or the other things that my classmates (including the gay men) connect with their nurses over.

    Look, guys and gals - I KNOW that not every young woman is interested in the things I just mentioned, but you can't deny that I'm behind the 8-ball here. The best outcomes I have had, where at the end of the day the nurse tells me that she wants me to apply when I finish school or that she will talk to her supervisor about my performance have always been when I've worked with female nurses 40+ or with other men.

    I am DEFINITELY open to the possibility that I am the problem - not my gender or sexual orientation. I just want to reiterate that I haven't had a bad experience with any nurse so far in school. I simply can't connect with the younger girls in the same way that most of my classmates can.

    HEEEEEEELP! I'm worried that this is going to be a big problem when I'm actually working as an RN, too. I want to be close with my coworkers, but it's just not easy for me *in that way* and *with that population.* I'm not talking about dating - I'm in a happy long-term relationship and I honestly don't even (consciously) look at girls in that way. Any advice for me?
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   The_Muffintime
    I want to add (and I'm very sorry for the double post) something because I just thought of it and I think it's very important to mention. I get treated very well by all my preceptors. I just can't relate to the 20-something women in the span of 12 hours on any kind of personal level. I have mused in the past that I might get treated "better" because I'm male (look for my old topics) and I'm not blind to the privileges that I do possess. I'm a white male in a predominantly female profession and maybe that comes with some advantages. Let's try to put that aside for now and hopefully some of you can use your vast wisdom and insight to help me make some sense of my thoughts.

    This is a very specific question about a very specific issue. Overall I love my clinical experiences, top to bottom.

    Maybe this is all stupid and I'm worrying about something that makes zero difference. After all I'm not trying to make friends, right? I want colleagues who respect me, but at the same time I don't want to be the one nurse on the floor who doesn't have those conversations with the other nurses that show they're a family.
    Last edit by The_Muffintime on Aug 8
  4. by   FutureNurseInfo
    Hi, I kind of skipped through reading but I think I got the gist of your post. I think in the second half of your post you somewhat answered your own concerns. You are there to learn and be the best student nurse you can be, not to make friends. Yes, it is nice to make a friend or two, and many students manage to do so. However, some, like you, struggle with it. It is not to say that you lack in people skills, however. People are different. If I were you, I would not sweat at all. Especially if you desire to connect with the 20 year old girls. My question is, why? Why do you want to connect with them? They are way too young and, if you know Piaget and Erikson, are still developing both physically and cognitively. While you are an adult with a well-developed prefrontal cortex, they are not. Also, how do you expect such young girls be interested in guy stuff? I am not saying all girls feel indifferent towards guy stuff, but apparently the ones you describe are. Finally, based on your data, your cohort has enough guys for you to bond. Try to be professional, as I am sure you are. You do not have to be friends with anyone. Do what you do to be the best nursing student, as I have said before. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  5. by   The_Muffintime
    Quote from FutureNurseInfo
    Hi, I kind of skipped through reading but I think I got the gist of your post. I think in the second half of your post you somewhat answered your own concerns. You are there to learn and be the best student nurse you can be, not to make friends. Yes, it is nice to make a friend or two, and many students manage to do so. However, some, like you, struggle with it. It is not to say that you lack in people skills, however. People are different. If I were you, I would not sweat at all. Especially if you desire to connect with the 20 year old girls. My question is, why? Why do you want to connect with them? They are way too young and, if you know Piaget and Erikson, are still developing both physically and cognitively. While you are an adult with a well-developed prefrontal cortex, they are not. Also, how do you expect such young girls be interested in guy stuff? I am not saying all girls feel indifferent towards guy stuff, but apparently the ones you describe are. Finally, based on your data, your cohort has enough guys for you to bond. Try to be professional, as I am sure you are. You do not have to be friends with anyone. Do what you do to be the best nursing student, as I have said before. Keep your eyes on the prize.
    "I kind of skipped through reading but I think I got the gist of your post." - I can't blame you! I had so much caffeine and adrenaline coursing through me last night that I went nuts with the verbiage. I get so damned wordy in text when I'm hyper.

    Thanks for the words of support, FNI. You gave me some good reassurance on feelings that I had already started to have, like you noticed. I do want to make it clear that when I say "connect" with these 20-25 year old female nurses, I'm not talking about connecting with them, lol. I'm thinking ahead to what the dynamic might be like wherever I start working when I graduate in four months and in my opinion things are always better if you can find something that can help you relate to your coworkers and they to you.

    Thanks again. You hit the nail on the head when you said that I'm not at clinical to make friends. I'm there to network, definitely, but friends? Nah.
  6. by   ILUVERNSG
    Here's the bottom line IMHO:

    Instructor recommendations for getting a job after school are what really matter- as long as you're doing well with the instructors, don't worry about popularity! Passing is all that matters now.

    When you start working as an RN, what will matter to your co-workers will be your abilities, your competency, your professionalism and your ability as a team player.

    Beyond that, nothing else matters. When you start working on a unit and you have some longevity there, you will find that you become part of a 'family'.
    Who knows how many of those besties in school are really going to make it anyway? Just stick with the brainiacs.
  7. by   VetRobRN
    I am 26 and all my classes even before my core classes were all women with kids. I was and still am a father with kids and a girlfriend. Honestly all i see is alot of drama that i dont want to be involved in. I involve myself who as serious as i am about saving lives and putting the patient first. I could care less about anything else. I am here to better myself and my family so i wold honestly do some soul searching to see if this is what you truly want and not about your fellow classmates which you may never see again. good luck and like everyone else has said, "eyes on the prize"
  8. by   carocam
    What you are experiencing now is actually a great practice run for what it is like to be an RN. Sometimes you work with people you automatically click with and would love to be friends with outside of work. Other times you will be spending 12 long hours, several days a week working side by side with nurses (and other coworkers) that you have nothing in common with. I have been a nurse more than 10 years and trust me there is always common ground to start a conversation with. It helps to be gracious and interested in your fellows, even if you don't plan on inviting them to your wedding. It makes for a better work environment that is more enjoyable and more importantly it is important to have good communication for times when you need to work together quickly and efficiently to provide nursing care. I currently work with a large group of young women in their 20s and I don't have a lot in common with them. Our lives are very different outside of work. I also get along great with all of them. Here is a list of things I talk about with women in their 20s: the weather, where they live in the city we share, favorite restaurants, sleep schedules for night shift work, where they have traveled to, plans for the next holiday, plans for the weekend, future career goals.....and the list goes on. Please go into it with the most open mind you can and you will find with some practice that you can make conversation with a tree stump!
  9. by   Serhilda
    You know what, I decided against a snarky post and I'll be honest with you instead. Yes, you absolutely sound like the problem. Right off the bat you start by assuming half of these men are gay. Ask yourself this honestly, did you ask each and every one of them if they were gay? Did they randomly declare their sexual orientation? Doubtful.

    Have you asked each and every one of these women if they share any of the same interests? I find it VERY suspicious when any man claims women are discussing shoes and hair on a regular basis because as a woman, I've yet to meet a real-life woman that walks and talks like the stereotypes depicted in the media like you've described here. I've found women wearing tons of makeup and hair extensions to actually love video gaming and microbiology. I've found some women who occasionally mention a bad hair day or a new hairstyle they're trying out, which may come across as ALL they talk about if your interactions are extremely limited with them AND you have some conscious or subconscious misogynistic beliefs about young women. Remember that whole confirmation bias you should've learned about back in psychology?

    My advice is to quit making assumptions about people because one day, they'll be your coworkers. If you don't do it for them, do it for yourself because an inability to relate to the majority of your coworkers may be a miserable and lonely experience for you later on.

Must Read Topics


close