The Best and Worst things about being a male nurse - page 2

Alright, let's try to drum up some conversation in here, huh? How about it guys? What do you hate and love about your job?... Read More

  1. by   housecat1216
    Hi Guys,

    I am starting a BSN program this Fall to begin my second career. I spent the last 20 years in the military, so I am used to working in an almost all male environment. (I am female) It only just occured to me that this experience will probably be the polar opposite of my previous one, and I must admit I feel slightly nervous about that aspect of nursing. Also, I can relate to what Maxs said, because in the military there was an idea among the women that they had to be "like the guys" to fit in. I never ascribed to that point of view and don't think you should either. Each sex has unique qualities that are valuable and should be utilized.

    I decided to pursue nursing after a couple of clinical rotations in an ER for EMT class. The charge nurse was male, and he was the best. So encouraging and helpful. The female nurses were a little more stand-off and touchy. (Although in the end they came around)

    Anyway, hope you don't mind me butting into the "Guy's Room."
  2. by   flaerman
    Hey guys,

    I have been an RN for 20 yrs and have loved every minute of it. Not one of my pt's has ever thought that I didn't care(except maybe for the occasional dirtbag drunk homeless guy we see in the ER every now and then). Yeah I worked a unit where they wanted to change my assignment due to 300-400 pt being there but I them that I rec'd no more pay for having testicles than not(on top of that a threatened discrimination suit didn't hurt either). Once had a pt in nursing school that didn't want a male nurse but not out in practice. I don't do pelvic exams or female foleys in the ER but there is always one of the girls will help me with that and I in turn will help them with something else. Had a lady once in school ask me if I was going to be a "male nurse" when I graduated from school, looked her dead in the eye and told her, "nope, we get a sex change with the diploma" and left the room.

    One thing for me I have noticed is that there is a little difference when dealing with some of the male docs(not all of course, especially some of the arrogant surgeons who seem to look down on everyone anyway), not so much I think because they think we should know more, but more of the male bonding thing. I have had in my career had an occasional verbal conflict with an arrogant doc here and there and have gone out my way to get right back in their faces(and at least twice have taken them aside and told them they will never speak to me or any other nurse like that again with an implied threat
    of possible physical response). Bascially though I find if you are not a moron, and know what you are doing, a team player, even tempered, caring and compassionate about what you are doing than you will gain respsect from your patients and their families, your co-workers, the docs, and your managers/directors/teachers/administrators etc. Paul
  3. by   Maxs
    Quote from flaerman
    Had a lady once in school ask me if I was going to be a "male nurse" when I graduated from school, looked her dead in the eye and told her, "nope, we get a sex change with the diploma" and left the room. Paul
    Good job and hilarious!
    :lol_hitti :lol_hitti
  4. by   paraloco
    Quote from lizz
    Uh ... and woman don't complain? C'mon. Female whining is the norm on this board.

    I don't see why guys can't do the same.

    I'm getting prereq's outta the way for a medic to rn program. I ran a call this morning that made me doubt my decision a little. An elderly gentleman fell in his home, was almost completely covered with tarry black stool. He was as jaundiced as a yellow crayon. Anyway, we felt we had to clean him up some before transport. I can't imagine having to do that with any frequency. Then it occured to me. Techs do most of that kind of work in the hospitals in my area, female techs at that, whatever the patient's gender. I guess that is a plus to being a male in nursing. *wearing my asbestos thong panties in anticipation of flames*
  5. by   bigjay
    I've been a male for 31 years and a nurse for six. :chuckle

    The lifting issue does come into play in my worklife but I'd agree that it's generally only as bad as you let it become. I have absolutely no problem with being asked to help with heavier transfers. To me, the fact that I'm significantly stronger than my female co-workers and thus able to lift more (they joke that I count as three nurses on lifts) is just a skill I bring to the table like any other. I count those requests as the same as someone asking me to do a difficult IV start, it's just something I can do better than they can. I guess the difference would be the possiblity of wear on your back but I use proper technique and body mechnanic religously so I'm not really worried. I'm also often the one to say that transfers are unsafe, for example if a patient is competely non-weight bearing. I'll tell them that we could do it since I can physically lift the patient but they should explore other options since I'm not there all the time and it's safer for everyone involved to use the hoyer. Do I take some "manly" pride in being able to do heavy lifts.. sure I do. Just like I take pride in being able to do an IV start no-one else can. I see nothing wrong with taking pride in your ability to do a job well.

    One thing about being a male nurse is that you stick out more. I don't know if you'd consider that an advantage or a disadvantage. Unless you work in an area with a lot of male nurses (I'm the only one on my floor) patients will definately remember you simply because you're male. If you make a good impression, that's good, bad impression bad. Ditto for co-worker interactions.

    Some physicians definately treat me differently, more buddy-buddy than my female co-workers. I don't know how much of that is because I'm male vs the fact that they know I'm competent and knowledgable.

    I've had probably twenty or so patients ask to have a female nurse do their personal care. I live in Mississauga which has a pretty high middle-eastern population and this is often a cultural issue. I don't take it personally, just switch off the patient. It's interesting that many patients comment on how much gentler I am than some of the other nurses though! I think I tend to watch how I move people more simply because if I do over-do it people can hit headboards.

    One interesting thing I've noticed is the difference in attitudes towards innappropriate comments/behaviours in the workplace between men and women. I've had some patients and family members make borderline harassing comments about me and they're generally laughed off. Similar comments to female co-workers from male patients are taken seriously. Part of that is probably my attitude, since I don't pay any attention to that kind of thing, but I find it an interesting double standard.

    Wow, I've rambled a bit here but I guess my main point is that you shouldn't focus on being a "male nurse". Be the best nurse you can be and use the skills you have.
  6. by   bigjay
    Quote from paraloco
    I'm getting prereq's outta the way for a medic to rn program. I ran a call this morning that made me doubt my decision a little. An elderly gentleman fell in his home, was almost completely covered with tarry black stool. He was as jaundiced as a yellow crayon. Anyway, we felt we had to clean him up some before transport. I can't imagine having to do that with any frequency. Then it occured to me. Techs do most of that kind of work in the hospitals in my area, female techs at that, whatever the patient's gender. I guess that is a plus to being a male in nursing. *wearing my asbestos thong panties in anticipation of flames*

    In my area nurses do that, regardless of their gender. If you can't take that sort of thing you need to work in an area where you have techs/RPNs/health care aides to do the "dirty" work. However if you work in that type of setting you'll likely have responsibility over twice as many patients (or more).
  7. by   PicklesRN
    Quote from lizz
    Uh ... and woman don't complain? C'mon. Female whining is the norm on this board.

    I don't see why guys can't do the same.

    While I agree with you I have to add something. Whining is certainly done around here and in any business setting but there is still a difference between whining and voicing frustration. I think lots of times people just need to vent. Their complaints don't seem to be such a big issue but it is to them and I know I need to keep in mind that I am only hearing (reading?) tidbits of the real issue. So it does come out as whining when it probably isn't.

    Whether it is right or wrong female nurses have a rep of whining. Every department in the hospital will tell you so. So when men voice a frustration they are considered just another whiner.

    What about when you need an IV start kit and you are running from floor to floor looking for one and you are getting angry. For goodness sakes, an IV start kit! It's not like it is an unusual supply item. When I call to CS to have one sent up you can almost hear them rolling their eyes and you know when they hang up they are telling their coworkers that nursing is whining again, they don't have a start kit...

    That's not whining, that's something different.

    Okay, my whining/rant is over. :chuckle
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from RN34TX
    I wouldn't say most anymore, although my first couple of jobs I would have said the same thing because it was so frequent. I also felt that many of my fellow male colleagues back then were to blame for it as well with their "running to the rescue of the fragile little ladies" routine when it came to lifting or dealing with combative patients.
    Your co-workers are just lazy, not stereotypical, in my opinion.

    I am a female and have been a nurse for 12 years. I have had FOUR serious back injuries due to lifting during my career.

    So, I always get help lifting, and if there is a big guy around the unit to help, all the better.

    Just because many female nurses may seek a male nurses's help in lifting don't assume they're lazy!

    They may be just trying to preserve their ability to make a living and live a normal life. Like me!

    Thinking that men are physically stronger is not a stereotype. Generally speaking, men ARE physically stonger than women.


    I am always willing to help any colleage, male or female, with anything that I can.

    Guys, please don't feel put-out when colleages ask you to help lift.

    I have many strengths as a nurse, but unfortunately, lifting is no longer one of them.
  9. by   zambezi
    [QUOTE=Basically though I find if you are not a moron, and know what you are doing, a team player, even tempered, caring and compassionate about what you are doing than you will gain respsect from your patients and their families, your co-workers, the docs, and your managers/directors/teachers/administrators etc. Paul[/QUOTE]


    I think that this is right on the money (for both male and female RNs)
  10. by   mqp08
    Quote from Maxs
    I haven't seen one thread where male nurses are not complaining. Guys, it's like you've lost your identities.
    Anyways, here is my share: I worked in a nursing home full time as a CNA while I was taking 18 credit hour/semester. I mean, there were only three guys on the whole building that worked there. I was sociable, smiling (I used to have this resident who used to say your teeth are so white, my god, would you look at that! lol). It was a lot of fun, but what happened on night shift at one night was way beyond border. There was this nurse, we were in the lounge room, and she even has a fiance, she started messaging for me because she thought I was tense. As she was massaging me, on of her arm went down my chest and she was like wops!s, slipped there. I felt so uncomfortable because I have a gf and I am loyal to her. Therefore, when she really stopped the massage and started feeling on me, I wast so nervous that I was like I need a fresh air. And I heard from other coworkers that she has a crush on me. Man there were so many girls who had crush on me on that facility that all my guy coworkers were just filled with envy. I am considered to be a handsome guy, but what I don't understand is why me? I mean there were other guys in the facility. I don't understand women, neither do I try to understand them, maybe that's why they like guys who just don't care. Perhaps, if you stay out of their business and not notice them and grin for them, they will definitely like you, at least with me it works just fine. **EVEN THOUGH ALL THIS HAPPENED I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS ABOUT WOMEN COLLEGUES.
    i am a student doing a term paper on male nurses. i have a few questions for you if you have the time.
  11. by   RN34TX
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    I am a female and have been a nurse for 12 years. I have had FOUR serious back injuries due to lifting during my career.

    So, I always get help lifting, and if there is a big guy around the unit to help, all the better.

    Just because many female nurses may seek a male nurses's help in lifting don't assume they're lazy!

    They may be just trying to preserve their ability to make a living and live a normal life. Like me!

    Thinking that men are physically stronger is not a stereotype. Generally speaking, men ARE physically stonger than women.


    I am always willing to help any colleage, male or female, with anything that I can.

    Guys, please don't feel put-out when colleages ask you to help lift.

    I have many strengths as a nurse, but unfortunately, lifting is no longer one of them.
    I'll start by saying that it's terrible that you've suffered 4 serious back injuries in your career from lifting patients.
    But let me clarify:
    There's a difference between asking for lift help and being worked as a mule.
    Again, I sympathize with your injuries, and I'm assuming that those same men that you ask for lift help on, you in turn offer to give meds, change dressings, etc. on their patients so that they do not get behind, which is fine.
    But I've heard the back injury thing many times before. While my colleagues were trying to "preserve their backs" it was often at the expense of mine, nor did they want any part of helping me do things for my patients that they could do while I was getting their patients out of bed.
    Men are generally physically stronger but women still need to meet the physical requirements for the job or they shouldn't be there at all.
    I'm guilty of it too, I used to get help from another guy on the floor when I worked at those places but that was because I often worked with females who couldn't lift a baby out of a stroller if their life depended on it.
    On top of it, they'd get short of breath just from getting out of their chair to go to a patient's room. I'd wonder why they ever took a job in inpatient care with stroke, comatose, etc. patients that often involve heavy lifting instead of working at a clinic/office setting.
  12. by   mingez
    Quote from Maxs
    As she was massaging me, on of her arm went down my chest and she was like wops!s, slipped there. I felt so uncomfortable because I have a gf and I am loyal to her. Therefore, when she really stopped the massage and started feeling on me, I wast so nervous that I was like I need a fresh air. And I heard from other coworkers that she has a crush on me. Man there were so many girls who had crush on me on that facility that all my guy coworkers were just filled with envy. I am considered to be a handsome guy, but what I don't understand is why me? I mean there were other guys in the facility.

    And my wallet is too small for my hundred dollar bills and these diamond shoes are killing me! LOL JK.

    Truth be told though, the first mistake there was allowing her to give you a massage in the first place. That can lead to all sorts of trouble for both parties.
  13. by   Maxs
    Quote from mingez
    And my wallet is too small for my hundred dollar bills and these diamond shoes are killing me! LOL JK.

    Truth be told though, the first mistake there was allowing her to give you a massage in the first place. That can lead to all sorts of trouble for both parties.
    What do you expect me to say? I only stated what happened.

    Maxs

close