Gay Nurses... help!

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    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?
    Last edit by quakerkid on Sep 29, '05 : Reason: Clarifying my question:
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  4. 3
    Hi and welcome to All Nurses. Personally, I work in a large level one trauma center and though I'm not gay, I don't self-disclose much information anyway just because I'm a pretty private person. I do work with some gay/lesbian nurses and its pretty relaxed - they occasionally mention an outside activity with a significant other but it is no big deal. To be perfectly honest, we are a very busy place and we rarely have time to discuss outside things at all. Sorry, if I wasn't very helpful - I started writing this and then realized that we don't have much time for discussing outside things period.
  5. 15
    Honestly, I would never "assume", nor would I care who you have sex with

    I would only care that you're a great nurse...and an even better friend.
  6. 4
    Every hospital and each unit within that hospital has it's own culture so I don't think that any blanket advice is appropriate at all work places.
    Most places where I've worked I've been the only one on the floor so I still have yet to see where all of these supposed gay nurses are because I rarely work with any of them despite the stereotype.
    There are several where I work now and they all of course had to feel me out and ask the usual questions when I first started to see if I was gay or not, but I think everyone does that. The entire crew, straight and gay, hang out together even outside of work without any problems but not all units are this way.

    When I start at a new place, I make it very clear that I live with a guy and have never been married nor have any kids. Of course many of us have been married and do have kids but if someone can't figure out that a guy at age 35 who's never been married nor have any kids nor ever speak of any female love interest is definitely gay is in deep denial and deserves to have it thrown in their face at an awkward moment.
    That way, I'm making it quite clear of what I am without offending co-workers who get tired of having the "gay agenda" or "people's sexuality" thrown in their face.
    Of course straight sexuality is never thrown in our face at work but that's a whole other topic.
    Trust me, you need to make it very clear from the beginning or as time goes on you're going to have awkward moments such as female co-workers asking you out on dates and people asking about when they are going to get to meet your wife/girlfriend etc.
    Not that any of these situations are particularly traumatic but I've made the mistake of assuming that people knew about me and then when these situations came up there were some hurt feelings and it ends up coming up at a bad time.
    Some straight co-workers will get hurt that you didn't think enough of them to share that part of your life with them while others will be repulsed at the mere mention of it so you need to be careful with how you present it.
    Of course it's not something that needs to be announced to the unit on your first day of orientation but I can tell you from experience, the longer you wait, the more awkward it gets.
    I've worked LTC, Med/Surg, ICU, and PACU in several different states and every place and floor is different with their attitude toward gays.
    You'll always have the cool hip folks who like to go to gay clubs with you, the testosterone pumped ER/ICU junkie who's scared to death that someone will think he's gay if he stands too close to you, the suburban mother RN who pretends that gay life doesn't really exist but prays for you at church on sunday,etc.
    Every type of person makes up a given hospital unit.
    You'll be able to feel your co-workers out and do it appropriately.
  7. 3
    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!
    First of all, if your nickname is a play on Penn I have to say "Go Quakers" (I am Penn SON class '96, Hillman Scholar). I am a military CRNA and former L&D nurse.

    Second, let your work speak for you. I work in the military (married with wife and two beautiful children) and there are straight and gay people in all arenas of the nurse corps. Of course you know we have the "don't ask don't tell" policy so it is never really an issue.

    I personally do not divulge personal information, but I do not lie either. If I am asked about a certain aspect of my life I am truthful. That's my advice to you.
    Mike
    dbowen, dream& achieve, and leemacaz like this.
  8. 19
    I'm 100% out in my job to my coworkers, managers, everyone. I would not work in an environment where I couldn't be myself. They have a policy of tolerance and nondiscrimination written in their human resources policies.

    My work speaks for itself and my sexual preference is a non-issue.

    I wear a wedding ring because I'm happily "married" to my same-sex partner for 8 years and naturally patients occasionally presume I'm married to a woman and I don't correct them. When it comes to patients, I don't discuss the fact that I'm gay because it has no bearing on the care I provide. Occasionally a patient will pick up on my gayness. I never ever hide who I am when asked.....by anybody, patients included. They wouldn't ask if they weren't prepared to deal with a positive answer.
    Jarreux, gonzo1, dbowen, and 16 others like this.
  9. 3
    Tweety - I was hoping you would come along. Thanks so much for the eloquent words. judi
    xaireel, sharpeimom, and leemacaz like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Tweety - I was hoping you would come along. Thanks so much for the eloquent words. judi

    Thanks Judi!
  11. 1
    Quote from Tweety
    I'm 100% out in my job to my coworkers, managers, everyone. I would not work in an environment where I couldn't be myself. They have a policy of tolerance and nondiscrimination written in their human resources policies.

    My work speaks for itself and my sexual preference is a non-issue.

    I wear a wedding ring because I'm happily "married" to my same-sex partner for 8 years and naturally patients occasionally presume I'm married to a woman and I don't correct them. When it comes to patients, I don't discuss the fact that I'm gay because it has no bearing on the care I provide. Occasionally a patient will pick up on my gayness. I never ever hide who I am when asked.....by anybody, patients included. They wouldn't ask if they weren't prepared to deal with a positive answer.
    So many people can learn mcuh from you Tweety. Seriously, I admire you all the way.
    willthrashforcash likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    So many people can learn mcuh from you Tweety. Seriously, I admire you all the way.
    I feel the same way Jess does, Tweety.


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