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,
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
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