I've been lurking for a while now, so I thought it's about time that I post an introduction. I'm a male nursing student in Memphis, TN. I'm just in my first quarter of a four quarter LPN program, and I'm about to go to clinicals in about 4 days. I'm pretty nervous about it, but I'm also pretty excited. Just like everyone else, I don't think I'm ready for it, but I know that the best way for me to learn anything is to hit the ground running. Thankfully, we're starting off "easy" at a nursing home, essentially just doing the duties of a CNA.
I was worried about going into nursing school as a male. Not because I didn't think I belonged (I aced the entrance exam, so obviously this is where I should be), but I was worried about being the only male student out of a class of 50. I'm not much for attention, and I didn't care to be singled out like that. Fortunately, there are three other men in my class, and all but one of us are doing extremely well, so there isn't much question as to whether or not we should be there.
I've read in other forums that male nursing students always seem to get treated well. So far, I haven't found that to be the case, although I wish it was. I've done poorly on a couple of exams, and I got reamed just as much as the girl sitting next to me. The one thing I have noticed, though, is that the males tend to be more quiet, attentive, and mature. Not to say that none of the girls have those qualities. For example, we watched a video showing the process of perineal care on men and women. The videos were "graphic", if you want to call it that. I'd prefer to describe them as "clinical". Several of the girls were groaning, "ew"'ing, and saying that they weren't going to do that. Excuse me? What class did you think you signed up for? Cosmetology? You're in nursing. You need to prepare to get intimately familiar with the bodies of a whole lot of people you'd rather not touch.
Because of the overall maturity, I think we're given more respect as a group, but I don't think we're treated any better. I have to fight for points on my exams just like the next person, when I think I know an answer is right. I get zero slack on attendance policies, exam policies, or anything else. The instructors respect students in my class based on their behavior and performance, and little else.
But enough rambling about that. The class is more difficult and intense than any college courses I've ever taken, but I'm grateful just to be here, knowing that a year from now, I'll be out there working a good job with decent pay, and actually making a (hopefully) positive impact on someone's life. I'm working customer service right now, and there's a big difference between reimbursing someone for shipping fees and helping someone recover from heart surgery.
A lot of people ask me why I started off in an LPN program rather than going into an RN school. I always answer with "why not?". I can spend a year in school, get out there and start working, or I can spend six months to a year doing pre-req's, then another two to four years in RN school, and then start working. The choice was obvious to me. Granted, I do plan on getting my ASN (RN) and later on my BSN (and if I'm lucky, CRNA down the road), but I'd rather get my feet wet and make some money while learning pretty much everything I need to know to make RN school a breeze.
Well, that's all I have to say for now. Sorry for making such a long-winded post. I'm just happy to be in nursing and glad that there's a forum for us here.