Personal questions for male nurses

  1. Hi Guys,

    Intro:

    I've gotten my HHA certification with one company ready to get started, and then 'they' said I was going to start over $3 less hourly rate (over 4 hour rate) than originally offered before certifications and testing. I decided to look elsewhere/longer since the 'new' wage offer was below my cost/benefit level of hassling with directions, etc... for constantly new clients, $5/gal gas (soon), and/or trying to bath senile people at their homes in one hour time periods, lol. It takes 1 hour to move wheel chaired clients 2 miles in a taxi cab (w/o transfer belts) from experience (for 1/2 of $5 fare!), so bathing them in the same period???

    There seems to be opportunities with a local community college close by up to various levels of RN's, or an approved PTA which I may be better suited. So in my area of FL, Security guards and Medical field is all that is plentiful in the pitiful job market here. Helping others as well as learning how to care for my parents in their 80's seems especially appealing. I have engineering (in manufacturing gone to China), human relations, and business degrees, so can hopefully expedite the medical scholastic process.

    In the mean time, working as a CNA or up to ADN RN level 'seems' like a way to earn as you learn; and learn valuble/marketable skills no matter what you do later, especially in elderly care. So I was going to work HHA/CNA and Security jobs until start going to school; and then try to squeeze school in later, somehow. The actual practice of RN seems like the most important opportunity for learning, since Humans behaviorally have the largest statistical variance of any process known (i.e. - requires a large sample size for meaningful cognitive learning correlations).


    Questions (on how to deal with personal & sensitive interfacing with men and women intimately - both clients possible issues with male nurses):
    • Since women more commonly change baby diapers, is this an extra uncomfortable experience for many guys and how's the best way to handle cleaning older peoples' diapers from incontinent elimination? I realize at HHA level, it would not be like assembly line changing diapers in a large hospital. But then again, you would not build up your learning curve rapidly in this highly sensitive and personal interface either (I hope this does not sound too newby stupid). Any assistance or guidlines from experts would help greatly. Female nurses often laugh (internally at least), BUT its never even mentioned in training except 1/2 of a sentence possibly for the whole process - "wipe away from genital areas". Duh!
    • Likewise, bathing people's personal areas (mostly older people assumingly) would be an issue that any tips, guidelines, or suggestions would be appreciated. I'd like to have this down to a mechanical science before ever attempting on my parents. And I realize my mother did the same for me as a baby, so I would like to be able to return the favor in earnest.
    • And finally, any other uncomfortable human interfaces not normally encountered by single men nurses for the first time (and maybe every time!), or advice how to handle human feces without gagging would be appreciated.
    Maybe these are negligible items once you get started. And maybe they are mechanical items lost in the analytical aspect of observing and recording symptoms. I appreciate the male nurse section of the forum, since the nurse Kratchets may just laugh and belittle my innocent and pitiful questions (as small of a population as they may be). The first time doing anything is important to be prepared as possible, so you can be as professional as possible in a hopeful win-win experience for you and the client.

    Thanks a bunch!!
    Last edit by baldee on Nov 13, '07
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   mcknis
    Welcome to Allnurses.com! You have come to the right place. There are many people here that can help and are good at it. As far as your questions go, you kind of just get used to doing it. I definitely recommend getting a job inside a hospital as a CNA (much better learning experience). Intimacy gets acquired I think. At least that has been my experience. Hope youo can get some more detailed answers though.
  4. by   baldee
    Quote from mcknis
    Welcome to Allnurses.com! You have come to the right place. There are many people here that can help and are good at it. As far as your questions go, you kind of just get used to doing it. I definitely recommend getting a job inside a hospital as a CNA (much better learning experience). Intimacy gets acquired I think. At least that has been my experience. Hope youo can get some more detailed answers though.
    I appreciate the response and the site. Your answer was what I assumed, but asking is always worth the effort and time. Homework is always valuable, and the questions I asked may be hidden due to being an unpleasant aspect of the job that doesn't need to be highlighted.

    In highschool, many of my friends were orderlies at a hospital, so I know hospitals are no picnic either. Except hospitals do have constant hours and fulfill necessary learning curve requirements. And after changing 100 elderly diapers in a shift, it will only take 4 more similiar shifts to be a full fledged expert in the subject :trout:

    From this male nurse section, I have already seen some interesting posts about scrubs and other subjects, so was hoping some words of wisdom about these undesirable subjects would come forward too. Being a newbie, as in any field, the most unpleasant jobs will be the expected jobs from the first assignment of the first day.

    And maybe these undesirable jobs are the main motivation to become a RN: so you can order these tasks for CNA's or orderly's to do (with a slight grin on your face after the orders are given and you turn away from them).
  5. by   SteveNNP
    Quote from baldee
    And maybe these undesirable jobs are the main motivation to become a RN: so you can order these tasks for CNA's or orderly's to do (with a slight grin on your face after the orders are given and you turn away from them).
    Nah, you still end up wiping butts. You get used to it. It becomes a task, and less of a personal issue. You do what needs to be done. You hold your breath and get someone to help you. DON'T think of your mom/dad when providing peri-care.!!!!

    I work exclusively with babies. Little poopy diapers.... I can handle that!
  6. by   dhammond3
    Hey Baldee, working in the ER you get to change lots of things with lots of strange smells. While an EMT working the ER I asked an older nurse how she developed her lack of a response to smell. She smiled and handed me a small bottle of Vicks. She said dab a little up each nostril, and by the way you never get used to the smell. I thanked her and carry the bottle daily and amaze people at the way I can stomach smells.
  7. by   David's Harp
    Quote from baldee
    maybe these undesirable jobs are the main motivation to become a RN: so you can order these tasks for CNA's or orderly's to do (with a slight grin on your face after the orders are given and you turn away from them).
    Nope. We still do it, too. Sometimes, as a nurse, your best interest is to be in there doing it yourself, as you learn a lot about a patient's mental state, level of concsiousness, muscle tone, respiratory state, functionality (can they use their limbs to turn), concerns (talking them through a cleanup, if appropriate, can help them a lot!), etc. But, sometimes it's just the nature of those busy times when you have only one aide available or they're otherwise running around doing other things. It's really no biggie when it's your standard "oopsie-daisy" BM, and a little more involved when it's a kayexalate-related situation.

    Another point regarding the "grin" is that a good CNA is one of your strongest allies, and don't kid yourself otherwise. You'll feel it pretty keenly when he/she isn't there to be your third and fourth hand.

    -Kevin
  8. by   baldee
    Wow, great range of responses which covers this taboo underground subject (for many single men any way).


    SteveRN21,

    Thanks for the info and reference to peri-care. Maybe that is in the CNA education level, but it was new to me after just going through the HHA education which is also independent of standardized testing in FL. But I know now!

    And was not planning on thinking about parents during peri-care, but what to focus on after the tasks become routine is another subject altogether.


    dhammond3,

    A maintenance worker who also did HHA also told me about Vicks. I did not know how continued use of something that would attract debree inside the nasal cavity near the brain, while in a germ filled environment like a hospital would work in the long run. Darn sure going to try it though!


    David's Harp

    This is a good point, and something to gain a better understanding into as I go. Its always beneficial to gain insight from unpleasant experiences to keep the mind occupied and senses queued up behind focused concentration.

    And thinking of the comparative 'opsie' is a glass half full analogy. But as much as you appreciate the CNA and work as a team, it still may make you subliminally grin: not 'laughing' at them having to do it, but 'smiling' at yourself NOT having to do it. To me, I'd rather examine the other symptoms in a cleaner environment, while not being distracted with feces sticking to any object within contact reach, and or feces germs with a greater reach than contact (invisible barrier to possibly be concerned with - ??? - 'student theorem').


    Thanks Again Guys! Its funny that these subjects of peri-care and elimination details were not in 'my' HHA education, and that is MAIN tasks I'd be doing other than material handling sensitive goods: in addition to the observe and reporting function. I somehow assume this is because the Nursing Profession has been tailored around females who often train for these tasks while they are still children.

    This sure beats random trial and error learning rates after passing standardized testing :spin:
    Last edit by baldee on Nov 15, '07
  9. by   pawashrn
    you are thinking way to much into this. do what needs to be done for an individual that at that moment in time can't do for himself. be it cleaning poop or helping them feed themselves so they can poop later. One of things that separate mankind from animals, is that we care and take care of our species and do not separate them from the pride to die alone when they are no longer able to partake in the community. if you truly care about your fellow human, then the smell of poop. body odor, dead/rotting tissue, GI bleed is really just something you talk about later and forget. I don't think anyone truly wants someone else to smell an odor emitting from them. You maintain that persons dignity and privacy by not laughing, choking, your making remarks concerning the act of cleaning them. Respect that person as a human being in need of 5 minutes of assistance in an extremely embarrassing situation. That is what I think it means to be a Nurse. Empathy not sympathy
  10. by   RNdude123
    Repeat after me - "Flexi-seal is my friend..."

    Seriously though, working in a hospital as an aide (tech, whatever they call them) is your best bet. You'll have plenty of opportunities to help you elevate your comfort level, and will have resources around you to boot (at least most of the time). Just try to keep a straight face and explain what you are doing before you do it. Most patients won't give you a hard time. They want to get through it just as much as you do. And remember that confidence is king. If you don't project it, your patients will be wary. But that comes with time.

    Good luck!
  11. by   mcknis
    Ditto to RNdude123 and the above posters! If they feel you know what you are doing, they usually won't care what sex you are. Sometimes they will, but if you project your confidence, they will trust you.

    Also, giving baths and wiping butts does allow you to connect with your patients personally, but also allows you the chance to look closer at their skin, as well as being able to completely assess posterior lung sounds (you will learn more about that later on).

    Good luck with school and with your job choice.
  12. by   David's Harp
    Quote from pawashrn
    you are thinking way to much into this. do what needs to be done for an individual that at that moment in time can't do for himself. be it cleaning poop or helping them feed themselves so they can poop later. One of things that separate mankind from animals, is that we care and take care of our species and do not separate them from the pride to die alone when they are no longer able to partake in the community. if you truly care about your fellow human, then the smell of poop. body odor, dead/rotting tissue, GI bleed is really just something you talk about later and forget. I don't think anyone truly wants someone else to smell an odor emitting from them. You maintain that persons dignity and privacy by not laughing, choking, your making remarks concerning the act of cleaning them. Respect that person as a human being in need of 5 minutes of assistance in an extremely embarrassing situation. That is what I think it means to be a Nurse. Empathy not sympathy
    This. :yeahthat:
  13. by   baldee
    No doubt excellent feedback which has been a great education. The main reason I wanted to research this is not for the occasional embarassment; but starting at the bottom (not a pun), I figure my main working hours will be assembly lining these unpleasant duties constantly if in a clinical/hospital setting. So understanding the patient ends when pinning the clean diapers on, and going to the next set of dirty diapers or bathing a 400 lb man in one-hour time constraints.

    (Most) Everyone has to pay their dues, and I appreciate the heads-up information to help put it in proper perspective once I progress past the assistant level (when it may have more significance). For starters though, the Vicks trick sounds like the ticket :trout:
  14. by   Deseosa
    very well said. it's about the patient, not you. you either suck it up and do it, or find a different line of work.

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