The Great Double Standard?

  1. I would like opinions from the rest of you guys. It seems everywhere I turn that there is this double standard that men nurses should not be providing care for any of women's intimate needs. I am still in nursing school, but it seems women nurses have no problem caring for either a male or female patient (students included), but men do not have that ability? I just don't quite understand this, when it is not even the patients perogative involved, just these female nurses who think they know "whats best". I would like this taboo to dissappear. Does anyone else see this? Any ideas who to remedy this issue and be able to call a nurse a nurse, and not a male or female nurse, each playing by different rules. I am pretty frustrated.
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  2. 152 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    I'm not male, but I don't see this as an issue in my area of nursing. Our male staff provide the same care to the same patients as the femlae staff do.
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    doog, you are 100% right, count me in your corner
  5. by   EmerNurse
    I'm not a fella, but I work with lots of them. It's funny - just last night, I had a nurse ask me to place a foley in his female patient. It wasn't HER request - he just thought she'd be more comfortable with a female. Of course I did it for him - no problem.. but what I seem to notice is that the younger males in my department (nurses and techs) are more likely to have a "giterdone" attitude and just DO it, unless the patient requests otherwise, while the more mature males tend to ask a female to do these things, even if the patient doesn't comment.

    What do you think? Could there be a bit of a generation gap with nurses? Is it more likely that more mature female nurses are the ones *assuming* that a nurse who's male "shouldn't" be doing female care of this sort?
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'm a female, but when I had my baby, I specifically sought out a female OB-GYN, and was extremely uncomfortable answering questions when a male nurse came in my room. It was just too personal.

    I would have died if I was in recovery (from a C-Section) and had a male repetively wiping my bottom and pushing on my stomach to make sure everything was out, tending to my cath, etc.

    I do not feel that male nurses are any less capable of taking care of any patient than a female...it's just a matter of personal comfort and dignity to the patient.

    When you have a baby, you get exposed enough already.
  7. by   Doog
    I guess my point is regardless of the patients wishes, these female nurses are automatically assuming that we (for some reason?) should not be providing care. It really wouldn't be an issue if the patient said they would be more comfortable with a females care, which wouldn't bother me at all, at least I can understand that. I have a big problem just accepting an answer that is "well thats just the way it is" If all people accepted that as an answer, women wouldn't be able to vote, and african americans wouldn't have equal rights. I know these examples are extreme but I really hate this distinction that males can only do " ..." while females can do it all. What can be done to change this?
  8. by   Doog
    Quote from augigi
    I'm not male, but I don't see this as an issue in my area of nursing. Our male staff provide the same care to the same patients as the femlae staff do.
    Have males being nurses been common place in australia for some time? I thinking their maybe some cultural differences between there and here.
  9. by   Doog
    Quote from EmerNurse

    What do you think? Could there be a bit of a generation gap with nurses? Is it more likely that more mature female nurses are the ones *assuming* that a nurse who's male "shouldn't" be doing female care of this sort?
    I'm thinking it is more common with the mature nurses, but it is not limited to them exclusively. I have gotten the same attitude from new 20 something grads as well. I think that the younger patients are more open to male nurses as well.
  10. by   Doog
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I'm a female, but when I had my baby, I specifically sought out a female OB-GYN, and was extremely uncomfortable answering questions when a male nurse came in my room. It was just too personal.

    I would have died if I was in recovery (from a C-Section) and had a male repetively wiping my bottom and pushing on my stomach to make sure everything was out, tending to my cath, etc.

    I do not feel that male nurses are any less capable of taking care of any patient than a female...it's just a matter of personal comfort and dignity to the patient.

    When you have a baby, you get exposed enough already.
    I am totally with you, as a patient if you feel uncomfortable with a male nurse then you should get a female nurse no questions asked. My issue lies with being told point blank I can't take care of a female patient simply because I am male, without the patient even being given the option.
  11. by   Doog
    Quote from CHATSDALE
    doog, you are 100% right, count me in your corner
    I knew I wasn't the only one, and my guess is this attitude is the norm rather than the exception, and I really dislike it. Whether we are male or female we obtain the same knowledge through school and experience, why should our care be limited do to our genitalia?
  12. by   58flyer
    Quote from Doog
    I knew I wasn't the only one, and my guess is this attitude is the norm rather than the exception, and I really dislike it. Whether we are male or female we obtain the same knowledge through school and experience, why should our care be limited do to our genitalia?
    This is exactly why I dropped out of nursing school almost 30 years ago and went into law enforcement. There was one other guy in my class and we were told that females would be "off limits." When it came to learning assessments and bed baths, the males (us) would be the subjects for the female students. Since we supposedly wouldn't be doing this sort of thing with female patients in the real world, there was no point in learning to do it on our female classmates. Talk about unfair...But in fairness to the ladies in our class, some of them offered to play the patient role if need be so we could get the experience. (The bed baths were simulated but assessments were for real, just nothing invasive.) The instructors were opposed. I ran into the male classmate at our 20 yr HS class reunion. I learned that he stayed with it and got his ASN, then later his BSN, then MSN, and was working on NP at the time of the reunion. I was happy for him. But he did say that it took his father, an attorney, writing a letter to the school which levelled the playing field somewhat so that he could get through the ASN program. In a way I wish I would have stayed with it, but I've had a good career, and can still do the nursing thing after this career is over if I want to. It just saddens me to think that this crap is still going on after all these years.
  13. by   Doog
    Now, there are so many men getting into nursing that (hopefully) eventually the playing field will be level.
  14. by   jov
    Hey Doog,
    I am thinking this is more a corporate culture at your workplace and it would be worthwhile exploring it, in a neutral and professional fashion. I might guess that the women you work with are probably not as aware of what they are doing as you think. The old cliche "well, we ain't mind readers ya know so just tell me what you want" works in reverse here.

    How this for an idea? Start documenting specific times, instances, nurses involved, situations, etc. in order to have some hard data to present. Then at the proper time at one of your meetings, bring this up. You might be able to teach them what is happening from your point of view and get some of this out into the open to explore what their perceptions are. If you don't get anywhere, perhaps try the next level of management.

    It's a long slow road. I know, I've had experience as a woman trying to be a firefighter. Just keep educating...

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