Obstetrics Clinicals SCARE me so much im considering dropping out :( - page 2
I find myself at very stressful point in my life as Ill be starting my LD/OB clinical rotation next semester. The prospect of what ill be asked to do there terrifies me and I wish I could just pass... Read More
Apr 7, '12Male OB-GYN's are still more common than female OB-GYNs. You know that that means? Most of the women you take care of will be used to having a man looking at their parts. And if they are in labor at the time, they aren't going to care who is in the room with them.
You'll end up realizing that your fears are much worse then the reality. The majority of your patients will be fine having a male nursing student. YOU will probably be more comfortable then they are, at first.
I've never really understood the stigma against male nurses/nursing students in OB. Like I said, most OB-GYNs are male. They don't seem to think it's awkward that they spend their days looking at women's vaginas. Why should male nurses feel any different?
Apr 7, '12Don't worry about it. I was in my early twenties when I was in nursing school. I didn't do anything in my OB rotation, nursing is reverse sexist that way. Do whatever they will let you do and just move on with it, it really isn't that bad. Even if it is an attractive young girl, there will be nothing sexy about the circumstances. Will need to learn to be professional anyway.
Apr 8, '12I'm actually looking forward to mine. My instructor has already assured me that she wants me to have the full range of experiences as the women do, and I do not need to worry at all about that. Plus as she so astutely pointed out, many of us, if we aren't already, will experience being there when we have our own kids, so we get a leg up in that department. Maybe that makes me odd, but meh, I'm excited to start OB next term.
Apr 23, '12seeing as you originally posted this a while ago, you either have been making it through clinical okay, or you fainted and dropped out, lol. For anyone else who is going to start soon and has the same concerns, just a couple things i wanted to say. Some people already wrote these things, but the first thing you have to remember is that many of the women on this unit are used to having male healthcare providers. The hospital where I did my OB rotation had majority male residents, and so if you go into a room with the mindset that its not going to be awkward, it won't be. You won't be doing things alone and so the first few times let the nurse you are paired with know that you haven't worked with this population before so you feel more comfortable letting them take you through step by step. Also, as someone else pointed out, the nurse you're paired with will ask the woman whether or not she is comfortable with a male student. Most are, some aren't.
Even though you might be scared, nervous, etc, if you go into the room calm, collected, and act professionally, things will go fine..
Apr 23, '12Thanks for all the great advise. My clinical won't start for another month so I'm still waiting to implement some of the tips I read on here. I keep telling myself to be brave and that this hospital experience is just another obstacle i need to overcome in my quest to become the best nurse I can possibly be. So lets hope I don't faint on my first day .
Apr 24, '12I'm 24 and I just finished my OB rotation in March, and I have to say that the best thing I told myself was to act like I've seen a vagina/pair of breasts before (lol). Seriously, you're a nursing student so you DO belong there and you're a health care provider -- act like it! You'll do great and it isn't nearly as bad as your imagination can make it. If you portray confidence and act as if it's "no big deal" that you're a guy in OB, no one else will typically act like it either, excluding cultural considerations. I only had 2 patients want me to leave the room, and one was a young woman with her young husband that didn't want me in there during breast feeding... and the other preferred a female to do her catheter. 2/30ish or something like that isn't bad.
I actually enjoyed my clinical experience so much that I'm strongly considering trying to get a job in OB after I graduate. If you would have spoken to me before I went through that rotation you would have thought I'd never look back. Good luck and have fun man, it goes by fast.
Apr 25, '12I agree with all the previous comments. I liked the post about the various "hats" we wear. Basically, all the different roles we have in life. Husband hat, boyfriend hat, friend hat, work hat, in-public hat, etc.
I'd like to elaborate on the post that discussed, "learning more about the female anatomy." Of course, there are females in your class. Maybe some mothers? Try to share your concerns and fears with them. They may be able to reassure you and give you their experiences about being in labor with male staff. You could discuss your concerns with your instructors. Maybe there is a select few of students that you feel you can trust and confide in. Yes, OB and L&D are dramatically different settings than other floors. But, aside from the baby, you're going to touch, clean, palpate, and inspect vaginas and breasts throughout your nursing careers. We have female patients on every floor. I can't think of a floor that wouldn't. It sounds like you've got a bit of anxiety around the ladies. Brings me to my next point.
This post also addresses sexuality. Are you comfortable with your physical self? Are you comfortable with the physical parts of females? Being both comfortable with one's self and comfortable with a female's body is part of the issue. As I don't know your age, which really doesn't matter, it sounds like you've been having trouble with the ladies. Believe me, I've been there. You're concerned about the white elephant. Maybe it's already there, but the pressures of the OB and L&D unit intensify it. Personally, I still am not 100% comfortable touching anyone's genitals. I think I'll get over it with time. But, may I make some suggestions.
In your personal life, you have had difficulties with the ladies. Understandable. It's a tough scene and while there is "many fish in the sea" that doesn't mean one has good luck fishing. There is sexuality pressures all around us. It's particularly stressful when one hasn't had a physical relationship with a female when the world around us is constantly encouraging us too. And, there is constant reminders in movies, magazines, or advertisements. It's everywhere! So, now does that make you weird or different that you haven't? Absolutely not! It will come in good time. In fact, waiting, in my opinion, is a wise decision. But, it appears you may have some built up anxiety about the female issue which is transferring into anxiety about female patients. Plus, being in OB makes it 10X worse. If you can't actually become physical with a female in your personal life, give yourself a break. Hard to do though, giving yourself a break I mean. But, I think with a enough mental preparation, you can take off the "personal hat" and put on the "work hat." Positive thinking. Think to yourself, "I know that have had female issues in my past but I know that I can take care of a female in a hospital. Why? Because I care and I want to be a nurse." Considering the different roles may help you separate yourself from your personal life from your nursing life.
I think what you'll find is once you get in the OB setting then you may get acclimated. You'll get a feel for your surroundings which should help. You've got a lot of thoughts racing through your head. What if this? What if that? Do I have to do this? The truth is that our mind creates these assumptions based on nothing. We have garbage thoughts all the time. Once you're aware that a lot of those thoughts your having are not necessarily accurate and are based on assumptions, you can try to let it go. Identification of the thoughts are key. Then, you can let em' float away like a duck on a river.
I may be wayyyy off base about your thought process. I'm by no means a psych doc nor have any special training in mental health. But, I feel like I can relate to your situation. Hence, what I said. I hope this helps. And, good luck!
Apr 25, '12[font=lucida grande]today was a really slow day on the labor and delivery floor. only 3 moms in labor and two deliveries. i got to be there for the big moment for one of them. amazing. i had tears and was glad i was allowed to share the experience. mom and baby are healthy. it's amazing to see the efficiency of a birthing room. well.... no wonder us moms are so worn out afterward.
this was my experience today. there was a man who was a flight nurse that was cross training there along with l&d rns . this mom and baby need competent help, and most don't care about gender when the time comes. they just want someone who can give respectful and competent care. my role today was pretty much an observer. all i could really do today is take a temp and that's it. i wish i could have done more, but i saw how the procedures were done and that's important. i was with the transition nurse (baby assessment).
you sound fine on the respect part and the competency will come with time. i agree with wearing your "nurse hat" or "game face" or whatever you want to call it. it isn't about you. it's about the job that needs to get done.
i'm a 3rd semester adn student and i love it!
Apr 25, '12Yeah it's seriously not bad at all dude. Dare I say I actually enjoyed my time at OB clinicals. Not something I'd make a career of, but . . .
May 2, '12I was the same way and not too interested in learning about obstetrical care, but I got through it. They turned out to be perhaps the easiest clinicals. The teacher knew I wasn't into it and never forced the issue. I stood in on some deliveries, and yeah it's gross, but I'd actually delivered a baby on my own years before so it wasn't new. I will say that in the nursery rotation I never touched a baby, lol.
May 6, '12Like a few other male students have already posted, I actually found the OB rotation to be enjoyable (my last day is next week). I'm under 25yo, and am by no means an "expert" when it comes to the physical intimacy aspect that you are worried about lacking experience in, so I can identify with some of the concerns you have.
Knowing your way around the female anatomy will be very helpful for performing appropriate nursing skills and doing assessments, so do what you can with your A&P and nursing textbooks to become acquainted. Know what changes her body will have undergone since becoming pregnant or since delivering, so you can best be prepared for what you'll be seeing in front of you. Also, once you're on the OB floor, don't be afraid to let the RN you are working with know that you don't have much experience doing a postpartum assessment- they will more than likely help guide you through it.
When it comes time to care for your patient, take a moment to collect yourself before entering the room. Take a long, deep breath, and remind yourself that you are a professional, there to provide safe and competent care. If you can introduce yourself courteously and can exude a little confidence (look/act like you know what you're doing!), it may help your patient to feel more comfortable. Taking a minute to chit chat with the husband or to coo at their newborn can help you to gain their trust and establish comfort as well.
When performing assessments (L&D and Postpartum), there are a couple ways to minimize possible "awkwardness" and increase patient comfort: 1.) Do the least invasive stuff first! Obtaining VS usually requires close contact and touch, so it's an easy way to jump those initial hurdles. Auscultate over your pt's gown to give them a feel (no pun intended) for your intentions- that you're not diving straight in to examine their breasts or to "check their bleeding". 2.) Involve your patient in the assessment! Ask her to unclip her gown so you can examine the breasts, so it's not you revealing her unwillingly. Explaining what you're doing to your pt while you assess her can relieve tension, just keep it simple and informative.
I would take the "dw, you're not going to be doing anything in OB" advice with a grain of salt, since many and hospitals operate differently. I was fortunate to get a lot of hands-on (and some hands-in...) experience. Lastly, don't forget to thank you patient and their family for letting you work with them!! If you can pull everything off without too much nervousness or awkwardness for your patient, they'll probably be more inclined to let another male student work with them in the future.
Hope this is helpful for you in your upcoming rotation and for any other male students that happen to read it!
May 8, '12Well, this thread may have started out as a joke or not but I'll just say this..
Vaginas are just another part of anatomy. You have to look at it that way. It's like an eyeball or a foot or a blood vessel. Just a part of the anatomy. If you look at it like that, you'll find it easier to act like a pro. When you act like a pro, your patient won't find it awkward.
So do your best not to giggle when you see a hooha and act like a pro.