Gay Nurses... help! - page 7

Hi - Wondering if any gay nurses have an insight into some concerns i've been having... How much do you self-disclose about yourself? What do you say when patients assume you are straight,... Read More

  1. by   TLCinCICU
    It really depends upon the setting where you practice. I wouldn't have volunteered one iota of personal info while I was a new grad back in western Kentucky. I would have used every "therapeutic communication" skill at my disposal to divert the conversation topic. Here in Ohio, I am much more relaxed about it. (In all honesty, Columbus is one of the best cities in the US for GLBT people to live.) There are ways of being evasive, while still telling the truth. I say things such as "I never really felt the need to get married" or "I have a close friend and we do a lot together". The patient and I generally wind up chuckling about it. However, I do have a small rainbow friendship bracelet tied around my stethoscope. Those who recognize give themselves away quickly and we start talking about our GLBT lives.
  2. by   Dr.Nurse2b
    Quote from quakerkid
    Hi - Wondering if any gay nurses have an insight into some concerns i've been having...

    How much do you self-disclose about yourself? What do you say when patients assume you are straight, and ask you about your girlfriend/wife? How about when they assume you are gay?!? How appropriate is it to be out to them? to your co-workers? Certainly there is a double standard, as straight nurses would be 'out' at work (by talking about thier family, or feeling comfortable self-disclosing about their family), but what techniques do you use at work?

    Oh, and if you respond - please mention a little about what kind of nursing you do.

    Thanks so much!

    EDIT: Thanks for the first several responses - I wanted to update my question a little. I guess I am asking specifically about the situation when patients ask about your personal life (which, during nursing school, we were taught not to disclose, since the focus should be on the pt. not on the nurse.) But at the same time, we have to build a healty, healing relationship... answers?
    I hope this will help...

    I present on the feminine side...not in my appearance but how I behave. I think I developed this persona as a result of my worry that I was too aggressive and might offend people...don't want to scare my patients!

    Many people/patients that I encounter assume I am gay...but I am not. When asked if I am...and they do ask...I just smile and come up with some anecdotal comment that makes everyone laugh...or maybe I'll go with it which sometimes get me in trouble...but thats OK...But whatever I respond I make certain that I never make the person who is asking feel uncomfortable...we are here for the people. I am never offended and acutally I always thought it was kind of flattering to hear that some guy wanted to know if I was gay because he wanted my number.

    So...straight, gay...whatever. Nobody poops ice cream so relax. People make small talk when they are nervous...especially in a strange environment like a hospital...make the patients feel comfortable even if that means you have to pretend you're the gay nurse...or the straight nurse that appears to be gay...but is not...or is pretending not...to be...gay that is. :chuckle

    And a question about your wife could just as well been a question about what you had for lunch.

    Be happy no one is asking if you took a shower this morning.

    My 2 Cents
  3. by   Dr.Nurse2b
    Now I remember what the professor said...

    ASEXUAL...we are supposed to be ASEXUAL

    So the correct answer for the NCLEX Hospital is:

    B. No Butts, No Boobs, No Backs! Now I remember!

    Well I bet thats a load of BS when you graduate...

    I see nurses that seem to tailor their scrubs to accentuate every bit of girly girl they have. Hard to miss a 5'2" girl with a 26 inch waste and a pair of 36 inch...oh well you know.

    So whats the difference if your are flaunting curves or flying rainbows?

    I don't pay attention to this stuff in practice but this is pretty interesting now you mention it. Perhaps we should wear potato sacks and name tags that say "Hi My Name is "Bobbie"...

    Just more drama. Nothing like a little sexual tension to spice up the work environment.

    OK...I am going to study now! Ignore me!
  4. by   leemacaz
    I am not a nurse or etc., but am someone who might wind up in a hospital as a patient.....
    I do not want to know about anyone who might be my health care providers sex lives!
    Although I would prefer a male for intimate care (If I could not do it myself) and then it would be grudgingly...beyond that I see no reason for sex, sexual preference, or sexual experiences to be an issue at all..no reason to discuss at all....and telling me your sexual orientation out of hand is gonna make me nervous as all git out....With as little time as providers have to take care of as many as they are assigned...about all that should be discussed is simply what and why whatever is going on with my treatment...If I am well enough to gab and gossip I am well enough to go home.
    Keep it professional.
    ..except for how you perform your duties and treat me I am not going to want to know ....I am just going to want to heal to the point I can go home. It would be the same if you tried to tell me your political party..or about your family feuds. I have my life you have yours.
    I do not mean any of this to sound cranky....
  5. by   corbinRN
    I don't know if anyone said this because I was too lazy to read all nine pages, but:

    I am not gay, but why do people think that gay men are attracted to EVERY guy he sees? I'm a straight male and I'm not attracted to every woman I see. So, I know this isn't realistic, but gay male nurses should be able to work with other straight men without making them feel uncomfortable in their work environment.

    So yeah, some gay men hit on straight men. But some straight men hit on lesbians without knowing it too. Some gay men hit on gay men who in turn are not interested.

    We're all people! We all are sexually attracted to people. It shouldn't matter this much.

    Why can't I have a gay best friend without others thinking I'm gay?

    I hope you understand what I'm saying and don't take it wrongly!

    Peace, Love, and Happiness; not war, hate, and sadness.
    dan
  6. by   SteveNNP
    True Dan, just like women don't drool over every man that doesn't have a wedding band on...(well, some do)
  7. by   TheBestMaxEver
    It's all about the therapeutic communication man -- Whenever a patient turns the topic toward me, I slyly refocus it back toward them...

    IE: "So you must have a beautiful wife???" --- Nope still single. Very busy with school and all. So is your leg feeling any better now that we got you that shot???

    I just think it sounds better than "Hospital policy prevents me from disclosing information about my personal life"
  8. by   DanFNP
    I agree. If someone asks you personal questions you're not comfortable with, just wisely turn the question back around to patient care. People are always much more interested in talking about themselves, so that usually does the job!
  9. by   Protonprimary
    I've spent the last year working as a sitter. When I'm in the room with one patient for 8 hours and they keep asking (or, in some cases, accusing), I run out of diversions and sometimes have to fall back on "I don't want to discuss that with you." But I've been gay long enough to know that when someone's particularly curious, a dodge is as good as an answer.

    I don't advocate offering any personal information to my patients. Sometimes, however, it's not so easily avoided; with our without my intent.
  10. by   TLCinCICU
    I did have a patient once who pushed me to the point I almost wanted to burst into rainbow flames at the end of the shift and say "By the way, a big ol' queen has been your nurse all day!" He was demonstrably racist and from an area of the state where there is a rumored active KKK group. He wouldn't allow either of our techs on duty that day to put him on a bedpan, give him a bath - anything that compromised his modesty. (One tech was an African-American male. The other was Hindu female. Each of them was both personable and professional.) He would shoo them out of the room and ask for his nurse if they even poked their head in to answer his call light. However, my own conscience wouldn't allow it. He'd felt comfortable with me all day (frequent stooling from a lower GI bleed) and shown me only kindness and gratitude. My desire to make a rather emphatic point wasn't important enough to risk undoing whatever progress he'd made throughout the day by adding anger & stress to his CICU stay.
  11. by   Alois Wolf
    Quote from William216
    i havent been asked if i was gay by any patient yet. Surprisingly, they prefer me over the women. i had fellow students question my sexuality or thats how i interpreted it, "1st day of class and took some lotion out my backpack and lotioned my hands when a female asked for a squeeze, then she asked me was it womens lotion" i'm like ***, now she likes me and said back then she was just testing me. all i could do was laugh. i have no problem with homosexuals in the workplace, the thing that bothers me is that some of them just want attention for being gay.
    ... and you don't want attention for being straight? Maybe not you in particular, but you could say the same thing for co-workers that flaunt wedding photos, children's pics, ginormous wedding bands, etc... so when we express that we are hapily involved or would like to be involved with someone of the same sex... then it's a cry for attention? I know you didn't mean to offend, but I think it's a double-standard that most are not really sensitive too.
  12. by   Alois Wolf
    I believe that if I trust someone enough with that information then I will tell them. If they ask me a direct question I will not lie to them. If they judge me there are laws in place that protect me. I do my job because it's my job, not to talk about my personal life. When my co-workers and I have down time conversations do come up and I am usually open and free unless I think it would put a strain on the professional relationship which could trickle down to pt. care. If someone knows and has a problem with it, again, eeoc.
  13. by   sofaraway04
    I am out at work to all my colleagues and haven't expereinced any problems at all. my partner was invited along to a works night out (couldn't go in the end because we were ill), people were very happy for us when we got engaged earlier this year. I feel able to talk about my partner in the same way that other chat about their partners and familes.

    I have never come out to a patient. I have never been asked either i don't "look gay" so it's not obvious when I'm in uniform. If I'm asked whather I'm married I just say engaged and let the patients assume whatever thye want.

    I did read something recently about LGBT pateints feeling that it was positive for them to have out health care professionals.

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