To start off, I am currently a male nursing student who has just started his first semester of school in January and is completely scared for his first day of clinicals this fall. Now I am sure that my fellow classmates are just as nervous, but the fact being that I am a male makes me more nervous. I live in a very conservative and religious area and the thought of a patient or coworker possibly viewing me as a lesser counterpart when compared to my female classmates seems likely. Personally, I knew that when I choose to enter into nursing school that male nurses still may carry a negative connotation in my area and I chose to ignore the negatively, but how as a former student did you cope with the stereotypes and negative images depicted of male nurses? Were your first few patients in clinicals fully welcoming to having a male nursing student or did you encounter some patients who did not prefer a male nursing student? If so, how did you handle the situation? And what advice would you give to me to prepare for those situations?
Mar 17, '13
I have also emailed nursing student, and there have been very few times that I have run into a problem being a male caring for female patients. Generally speaking, those times are when I would be having to care for a female Muslim. So when I am doing prep work on a patient, I try to stop in quickly and ask them if they would be willing to have the work with them for the next couple of days. The other thing I may do is check with the charge nurse to find out if he or she knows whether or not the assignment would be appropriate for me. Most of the time, I have not had a problem with any of the female patients that I have worked with over the past year or so.
One thing that I did point out to my patients, because I have a low patient ratio 1:1 or 2:1, I am able to provide them a much more personalized service, simply because I can devote more time to them than their usual primary nurse can, just because the ratio deal. That is also a good thing for me because I get a chance to sit with the patient longer and get to know the patient much more in-depth, even though I'm only working with them for maybe two days. In short, I really get to know who they are. Sometimes, having that extra time allows me to get the patient to advocate for themselves a little bit more, and really let us know that they need.
Overall, I have had a good experience working with patients, even though I am male. You just have to be professional and conscientious about what you do and make sure that your patient understands why you need to do what you need to do so that they don't get a misunderstanding that could make your career a whole lot more difficult down the road.
Mar 19, '13
A good practice for anything done with a curtain drawn (foley placement, bath, etc) have a female coworker present. It may not be an issue, but it's reassuring to the patient and family plus gives you a witness if they want to try any shenanigans.
I haven't had any issues with coworkers, patients, or families. I ran into a patient who preferred not to have male nurses due to religious practices because mom couldn't take off her head scarf with a man in the room. It wasn't offensive to me and I was happy to make her feel comfortable by switching assignments.