Why the double standard.

  1. So I work in a busy ER. When a male nurse has a female patient who needs a pelvic, foley or straight cath the men automatically come to us female nurses without even a conversation with the patient / family. Even if the patient is unconscious they won't even try.

    On on the other hand if I have a make patient who needs and exam, foley, straight cats or STD swabs I have to do these myself. If I ask a male nurse (even the ones who just had you do a female foley) they look at me like I am not only crazy but I am being lazy and trying to get out of work and push it off onto them.

    I dont understand this double standard. It has happened in every hospital I have worked in. Maybe someone could explain the thinking.. Also is their a good way to approach this with a male colleague without hurting feelings or pointing fingers.

    One other thing... does this logic or thinking apply to the lesbian nurse. She she not be required to do these for the same reason the male nurse is not....?

    any insight is extremely valuable
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   akulahawkRN
    I'm an ER nurse, and male. You're very right that there is a double standard and it's NOT in favor of us guys. My suspicion is simply that us male nurses are quite aware of the possibility of being accused of sexual battery when we do those procedures. If I have a female patient and I have to do a straight cath or a foley, I will always ask for a female to be present. If the female nurse offers to do it, I'll make sure all the equipment is immediately available. This is strictly because I do NOT want to be accused of sexual battery simply because I'm doing my job. If I'm doing the task, all I truly care about is getting the task done efficiently.

    I have rarely (if ever) have heard of a male patient accusing a female nurse of sexual battery when doing straight caths or foleys. Furthermore, society at large doesn't view females/women as being sexual predators so there's a bit of a social bias built-in to the whole patient nurse interaction when the two are different sexes.

    Now then I will gladly do a straight cath or foley on a male patient on behalf of my female colleagues because things are starting to change a little bit and our policy is to have a chaperone of the same sex as the patient present whenever an opposite sex provider or nurse is doing any sort exam or procedure that could result in accusations of sexual battery. I do this because often it's just faster I do it as I don't need a chaperone when doing these procedures on male patients.
  4. by   RorySeiter
    I have never asked a female coworker to cath a female patient. I have never had a patient express any concerns about what I am doing. I have had male coworkers be uncomfortable with female patients. Just be professional and don't overthink it.
  5. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    I always ask my female patients if the are OK with me doing a catheter, I have had a few occasions where they say no, so I have a female do it. Otherwise, I do them (but must have a female chaperon in the room, but can be a tech). I will do male caths for my female co-workers when asked.
    But there is a double standard, and it is against male nurses. Many still view male nurses in a negative way (either as a homosexual or a pervert). Some think males are perverted for doing caths on females, or gay for doing them on males. Yet female nurses, well, it is just part of their job. As mentioned above, the threat of being accused of sexual assault or inappropriate behavior/actions is much more likely with a male nurse/female patient than a female nurse/male patient.

    I will admit that males are much easier to cath (except for the occasional prostate issue). No idea what the deal is with the males where you work not doing them, even on unconscious females. While it is not one of my favorite things to do, I will do it when needed.
  6. by   RN2364
    First of all I don't disrespect male nurses. I don't think they are "gay" or "perverts" or anything stupid. To me they are colleagues! People who think that way are idiots in my opinion. I do understand the sexual battery/assault issues but as women we can be faced with the same these days. I have to have a chaperone when I cath a male or female patient for my protection. You never know who is going accuse or blame. The whole double standard question has gotten blow way out of context here. I was only using it in this situation and not nursing in general. As nurses we should respect and support each other and not "eat our own" like it always has been. All I am asking is why some male nurses think it's ok to have female nurses do their female patient caths without checking with the patient to see if they mind. Also they have a problem when I ask to have them do a male catch for me. That's the double standard I am referring to, nothing else as we could discuss that all day and never agree.
  7. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    I know what your saying, but the double standard I am referring to is from patients (never got that vibe from co-workers and most patients).

    As to why your male coworkers do it the way they do, I have no idea. Maybe ask them?

    If a female asks me to help with a cath/exam/swab on a male, I go in with me planning on doing it myself, but if they just want me for a chaperon, that is fine too. When I ask a female to assist me with a female pt, I plan on doing it unless the pt has asked for a female to do it, but I usually assist, unless asked not to be in there by the patient (as we all know, some cultures do not approve of male nurses seeing females uncovered (but male MD's are OK? but that is a whole other issue)).
  8. by   Reldun
    As a male, I always have a female staff member in the room with me when do hands on care or procedure on a female patient. A lot of doctors do so as well. Why? To protect myself from accusations of inappropriateness. I work in a hospital that has a significant middle eastern population for patients. If a woman is not ok with me seeing her hair, she is NOT going to be ok with me placing a foley. That's why I grab one of my female peers.

    -edit Just like I get asked to help my female team members pull their morbidly obese patients from the stretcher or to lend a hand when someone is going into restraints. But we are a team on my unit and we help each other out.
    Last edit by Reldun on Aug 17, '16
  9. by   Krzysztof
    Quote from RN2364
    All I am asking is why some male nurses think it's ok to have female nurses do their female patient caths without checking with the patient to see if they mind.
    The unbelievably horrifying inequity of this clearly bothers you a lot, so I'll tell you why it happens.

    Because "she told me I could do it" will in no way protect a male nurse from the potentially career- and liberty-threatening implications of a false accusation. So much so that some won't even bother to seek consent first. Are females subject to false accusation also? Sure, but let's keep it real. I honestly don't think it should be so unimaginable that men live with that fear. It's the same fear that would stop me from rushing into the women's restroom if I heard someone yelling. My first instinct would be halted while I instead looked around for a female to send in. Do I wish this was different? Maybe. But it's not. Some stuff sucks and will continue to do so. That's people. But if you wanna bust stones, go ahead and demand that he explain the world to you.

    Do some guys just do it and not present you with this problem of theirs? I'm sure. But are the other ones such major cads?

    Why not just help a guy out and have him buy you a coffee later? Where's the team spirit? I'm sure he's not on here posting about why you immediately seek him out for assistance with elephant-sized patients when a perfectly capable 4'10" 85 lbs. female nurse is standing closer to you.

    And don't tell me you don't.
    Last edit by Krzysztof on Aug 17, '16 : Reason: I never achieve such perfection on the first try.
  10. by   US RN in Oz
    I've never had issues cathing female patients of any age. I've cathed premies, infants, toddlers, children, adolescence, teenagers and adults, sometimes with the fathers just on the other side of the curtain. I always keep it super focused and professional. I tell them exactly what is happening at all times, so there are no suprises. I've never been fearful of being falsely accused.

    I even ask female patients to lift their breast themselves when I put ecg leads on. I see some male nurse just say hardly anything and grab their boob. That's just plain idiotic.

    On rare occation, a female patient will specially request a female nurse. When that happens, I don't simply ask and expect a coworker to just do it for me. I ask hem what tasks I can do for them in the meantime.

    I did refuse to to cath someone once. It was a 3 year girl who had recently been raped. It was for a non-emergent diagnostic exam. The only horrible boss I ever had was trying to force me to do it because he was impatient and didn't want me to wait for a female coworker to become available. The little girl was reliving the trauma of a man was simply in the room, let alone messing with her hoo-ha. I essentially told that boss to go screw himself. Upper leadership agreed with my decision.

    Somethings not right if male nurses expect female nurses to always cath their female patients. Where the hell do you work? The 1950's? Lol.
  11. by   psu_213
    First, I would be more likely to go right to the female nurse to ask her to cath the unconscious pt. (or at least be there to assist me). What if the pt. regains consciousness, but it confused? In that state, how would she interpret an unknown male around her vagina (even if he is only performing a clinical procedure)?

    Anyway, I am only one person, but I have never experienced what you have when it comes to male/female nurses. Before putting a cath in a female, I explain the procedure. I will have a female tech with me. If the pt. requests a female nurse only, I go out, ask a female--no issues. There have been male patients who requested only a male cath them, hold the urinal for them, etc. I have absolutely no problem helping a female nurse, and I have never personally witnessed nor heard of a male nurse having an issue helping in such a situation. Maybe I am just lucky...maybe you work someplace with poor colleague relations.

    FWIW, the places I have worked, only the doctors (PAs, NPs) do the STD swabs.
  12. by   GodBody26
    It's called protecting yourself as a man in this society OP!! All it takes is for one accusation and your name is sullied. Even if you're found innocent who wants to be accused of something like that?

    If a female patient doesn't mind then I will do it but I will always have another woman present. Usually it'll be a tech. Even the male PAs will have a woman present if they're doing something invasive.

    Better safe than sorry and with this economy anybody will try to get a quick come up
  13. by   RN-CHRIS-RN
    I am a new student but have been in the hospital and EMS setting for many many years. In the back of an ambulance you just have to do what you have to do to take care of the patient as there is only one of you back there(usually). I can totally understand the caution though especially in this "sue-happy" world we live in. I have seen too many people lie and exaggerate for their own selfish reasons. Sometimes you just have to do it, but if there is a female available I would surely make sure she was in the room with me while doing a procedure.
  14. by   WoundcarePhilRN
    I have been a nurse for 25 years now. I still do not like to cath females, honestly I'm just not good at it. I don't mind cathing males if asked by my co-workers. In my current position I have not had to be in that position for some time. When ever in a position like that it's always good to have a female in the room anyway. I have never worked in an ER.

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