Experiences of the male nursing student

  1. 0
    Greetings!

    I am currently enrolled in a BSN program and am now just a couple of months away from graduating. The experience has certainly opened my eyes to the world of nursing, in good ways and bad. I come from an EMT background and currently have a BS in exercise physiology.

    The challenges I faced personally were fairly subtle in nature. They sometimes had to do with being treated differently or being held to a different standard or being treated equally.

    When you are the only male in a clinical group, you stick out. Any big saves or big misses are at the forefront of the group experience. OB clinical was very uncomfortable for me. Nurses would typically ask me to wait outside the patient's room and then go in and ask if it was ok if a "male nursing student" came in the room. My female co-students entered patients' rooms together, working as a team. Thankfully, I found that my patients were not nearly as hung up on the "male thing" as the female nurses I shadowed. Many of them expressed how grateful they were that I could share in their experience and help them through it.

    Caring. Feelings. Empathy. I consider myself a very caring person, but I do not express empathy the same way a female might. With no men in the nursing faculty to model, it leaves one to develop one's own style of caring and empathy that preserves some sense of self-sense of masculinity. Despite the effectiveness of one's own style, clinical nurse instructor may not appreciate your style nor recognize its effectiveness.

    Uniforms. Ughh. Maybe this is just an east coast thing. Our uniforms are all white scrubs w/white socks, white shoes, white everything. They call them unisex, and perhaps they are. However, when you parade me through the cafeteria with 50 female students all wearing the same thing, the uniform suddenly does not feel so unisex. It feels like a source of embarrassment.

    "Hey Framps, got a second to help us move 24B?" If I had a dollar for everytime I was asked to help move someone during my clinical time, I could pay for all this schooling. Truth is, I don't mind at all. I enjoy physical labor and I enjoy helping the staff and my fellow students.


    Overall, the experience has been extremely positive for me. Getting a chance to help people from all walks of life deal with illness and disease is as rewarding as any experience could possibly be. My advice to any of you struggling out there is simply to make the career your own and be the best nurse that you can be.

    All forms of response encouraged,
    Framps
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  5. 0
    Hi framps, Welcome to the wonderful world of "male Nurses" of course we go to MALE nursing schools where we learn totally different things then the REAL nurses. ( off soap box now).

    I am a student in a ADN program and am always taken when someone needs to be moved or another student needs help doing a bath or help with thier patient. I dont mind helping but I also have to right out my paperwork just like the other students. If you dont go help someone they look at you like your refusing to give cpr or something then make a big deal out of how you dont want to help anyone out. all i can do is the best i can do. I am going to school to be a RN nothing else, I'm not going to move everyones elses pt.
    It gets a little tiring but over the summer last year I worked as a ER tech. most of the rm's were male. and the head of the dept. said she likes men as er rn's because we can move pt better, we are more job oriented (not gossiping (her words not mine)), we come in do our jobs and go home, and that she would really like the er to be totally male. during that time I had to do blood draws and EKG's. So it was real hard to find a woman to give them. the one thing i did find out was that when someone comes into the er they dont care if your a man or a woman they want help and they will take it from whomever gives it. I will be a RN that much i do know, I hope i never referr to someone as a female this or a male that.
  6. 0
    Welcome both of you to being a man in a woman dominated field. It is challenging at times, but with a few exceptions has been a great experience. Helping boost patients up in bed, yup, that's a big one. There are a few nurses who resent having a man on the staff, but that's their problem. OB was interesting, and I did get to see a vag birth. Both of you hang in there. The MALE nurses have to stick together. We are vastly outnumbered. (Actually ladies, 99% of you are wonderful to work with, but this thread is for us guys.) And when the time comes and it will, believe me, when someone calls you a Male Nurse, just politely and proudly correct them and say that you are not a "male nurse", you are a Registered Nurse. And remember the first nurses were male, not female. Okay, so many of them were prisoners and slaves, but male none the less.
  7. 0
    Hi, sorry to intrude as I am a female nursing student but I have a few things to say. Before I started my training I was dead set against male nurses. Now I find that male nurses are a considerable asset. Many of the male nurse I have worked with bring a unique style of humour, empathy and compassion that I consider to be a valuable resource. I applaud each and everyone of you for facing the gender challenges you do with such grace. YES we love to ask for your help with manual labour, but I always try to balance this with assisting my male colleagues with tasks to make up for this intrusion. Remember that women were excluded from practically all careers but through perserverence, working together and a firm belief in their worth they have become present in almost all fields. And by the way, in Hamilton, ON men can wear any colour they want - blue, green, black etc. Good luck guys, I look forward to working with you.
  8. 0
    Quote from WildShot
    ... the head of the dept. said she likes men as er rn's because we can move pt better, we are more job oriented (not gossiping (her words not mine)), we come in do our jobs and go home, and that she would really like the er to be totally male...
    Been in healthcare only a year. But from previous supervisory settings I've been in can say that around 90% of sups / managers -- male and female -- prefer to supervise guys. Precisely for the reasons stated.
  9. 0
    Quote from framps
    Greetings!

    I am currently enrolled in a BSN program and am now just a couple of months away from graduating. The experience has certainly opened my eyes to the world of nursing, in good ways and bad. I come from an EMT background and currently have a BS in exercise physiology.

    The challenges I faced personally were fairly subtle in nature. They sometimes had to do with being treated differently or being held to a different standard or being treated equally.

    When you are the only male in a clinical group, you stick out. Any big saves or big misses are at the forefront of the group experience. OB clinical was very uncomfortable for me. Nurses would typically ask me to wait outside the patient's room and then go in and ask if it was ok if a "male nursing student" came in the room. My female co-students entered patients' rooms together, working as a team. Thankfully, I found that my patients were not nearly as hung up on the "male thing" as the female nurses I shadowed. Many of them expressed how grateful they were that I could share in their experience and help them through it.

    Caring. Feelings. Empathy. I consider myself a very caring person, but I do not express empathy the same way a female might. With no men in the nursing faculty to model, it leaves one to develop one's own style of caring and empathy that preserves some sense of self-sense of masculinity. Despite the effectiveness of one's own style, clinical nurse instructor may not appreciate your style nor recognize its effectiveness.

    Uniforms. Ughh. Maybe this is just an east coast thing. Our uniforms are all white scrubs w/white socks, white shoes, white everything. They call them unisex, and perhaps they are. However, when you parade me through the cafeteria with 50 female students all wearing the same thing, the uniform suddenly does not feel so unisex. It feels like a source of embarrassment.

    "Hey Framps, got a second to help us move 24B?" If I had a dollar for everytime I was asked to help move someone during my clinical time, I could pay for all this schooling. Truth is, I don't mind at all. I enjoy physical labor and I enjoy helping the staff and my fellow students.


    Overall, the experience has been extremely positive for me. Getting a chance to help people from all walks of life deal with illness and disease is as rewarding as any experience could possibly be. My advice to any of you struggling out there is simply to make the career your own and be the best nurse that you can be.

    All forms of response encouraged,
    Framps
    Being put upon for extra physical labor will wear you down physically over the years. Equal pay for equal work that's supposed to be equality.
    I am a male nurse too. The little conversations that make a setting more personal are not always shared with the lone male nurse either. I have seen female nurses make comments that would get a male nurse in trouble. It's not right, fair, or appreciated. e.g. one female nurse to another, in front of me, "Your *** is getting smaller, isin't it?" Yep, I've been working out. What if I had said that? The thought police, free speech infringement upon my rights is ********! I said to her, what if I had said that? She said "I had better not." When did men become second class citizens?
  10. 0
    I agree Silverhawk. Before I went into nursing, I worked in corporate America. If I had said half of the things there, that I hear now, I would have lost my job. It was someone's birthday and on night shift right at the nurse's station they gave her a calander of nude men and all sorts of offensive material. Had I done that at the nursing station, for one of my male co-workers, I would have lost my job. "Honey..." "Sweety..." Hey, ladies, if you don't want to hear those words in reference to yourself, don't use them on us. I hear those terms all the time.
    Last edit by rogramjet on Feb 24, '05
  11. 0
    I totally agree with everything you brought out in your experience as a male student in nursing. The overwhelming dominance of the field by females is quite intimidating, I found. However, I keep telling myself that there is definitely a place for us in nursing. The educational training is not a female thing, when you consider all the scientific knowledge that the nursing curriculum contains. Should we assume the ladies may be smarter than the guys because they've done so well in the medical field? I believe the stastics also show that there are now more female MDs than males and, of course, a great many more female nurses than males. I believe the women have done their homework a lot better than the men and have discovered the many benefits that the medical field has to offer in today's society.

    Let's not let the superficial accoutrements(such as all-whiter uniforms, [I wear also as a student] stand in our way to learn and to be involved in nursing. I agree with you that I sometimes feel out of place and conspicuous wearing that all-white uniform. But, I figure that there will come a time when I may not have to wear it depending on where I choose to work. I will admit that it's not all glamorous either, neither is being a MD because, in the end, if you work hands-on with patients and handling blood, tissues, excretions, and other secretions, it's not as glamorous as working on Wall Street. I believe the best reward of nursing and the medical field is when you know that your intervention has made a difference in someone's life either by something you did or something ou said.

    We also desperately need male instructors in nursing because the few male nursing students have few or any male instructors as models. However, to be fair, some of the female instructors do a pretty good job of integrating male students and being sensitive also to their needs. What we need most is an honest collaborative and team-work environment both at school and the healthcare facilities between both sexes.

    I do however believe that male nursing students should support each other as we have some of our own realities to deal with as male students. And, I also believe that we may be able to bring some innovations into the field.

    Dialunda
  12. 0
    Now I'm going to throw something out there that might stir the pot a little..but...

    At my university, the only male nursing instructors we had were gay. I have no issues with people's choice of sexual orientation; however I feel that with homosexual male instructors, the equality of men and women in the classroom and clinical settings were made worse than with the female instructors because they often favored the females more than the male students. So having male instructors will not necessarily help the situation per se.

    Some of the best male role models I had in terms of nursing were the ones I met through working as an ER tech, and could see how an experienced male nurse handled himself in a variety of situations. You can't get this from instructors who are openly gay, patients pick up on this and treat them differently than a straight male taking care of female patients, at least in my experience.
  13. 0
    The instructors I have had have been almost entirely female. They have been INCREDIBLE. These women know their stuff and they know how to teach. They have taught me so much about nursing and about myself.

    In the few instances where I faced discrimination or unequal treatment, I never felt that it was intended to be so. That is the value of having a male forum which women are welcome to participate in.

    BTW, can we get a nurse smilie with a little more masculinity?
    Last edit by framps on Feb 24, '05


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