How to deal with nurses who make fun of families

  1. One of the nurses in our nicu was quietly making fun of a dad who was doing skin to skin with his 35 weeker. He had been doing it all day so I told him I thought it was a great idea. She was relentless and when the dad left, she called him gay and that what he was doing was gay. She even had the nerve to bring in a respiratory therapist to validate what she was saying. To make matters even worse, I was mentoring a nursing student who was finishing up her last shift with me before graduating from nursing school. This young nurse had to hear this arguement about fathers who want to do kangaroo care. The RT (guy) agreed and said it was very gay. They laughed about it and kept saying he was gay and it was gay. He also said he bet the dad probably liked to show off his body to the female nurses on the unit and thats why he was doing it. The RT then said nipples were for "pleasure, why else would guys have sensation in them." I called him a misogonist and told them both to stop. Eventually, another set of parents came in so they did stop. The next time I worked with this nurse, she saw me going in to speak with our manager. She asked me what I talked about. When I told her that I told our manager what they had done, she said they were just joking. She also asked me if I thought they traumatized my nursing student. She insisted she was just joking. I checked the harassment policy at our unit and even joking about that is considered sexual harassment. When I mentioned this to another nurse who wasn't there when this happened, she said I should file a complaint through human resources. We both agreed they were out of line and at least need some sensitivity training. Has something like this ever happened on your units? I don't want to make trouble with staff I have to work with.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   KellNY
    Wow, that's pretty sucky. I usually play dumb while calling them out with situations like that.

    Re: The gay thing, I might have said "Really, you think that's gay? Like he'd try to have sex with his son? We should probably call CPS/DCFS!"....she might proceed to sputter that no, that's not what she meant, and I'd continue, with a serious face and ask them "Well, then why would you call him gay for holding his son?".

    Basically you get them to try to explain their way out of acting like a boob, and gosh is it fun to watch them squirm!

    or you can make them look like old coots. "Oh, so i guess you didn't read the new research that shows skin-to-skin improves baby's immunity, appetite, stress levels, heart and respiratory rates, temperature control system and overall health and prognosis? Wow, you should really read up on it more, this is a profession, you know..."

    (can ya tell we have a real doozie on our unit?)
  4. by   EmerNurse
    So is he gay OR is he trying to show off his body to female nurses?????

    Give me a break - you'd think people would have the common sense to see that ANY parent, mom or dad, who is doing the right thing by their sick child is a godsend! Think of all the parents that DON'T.

    There's a name for those kinda people... but it's prolly against TOS. Gay indeed! grrrr.
  5. by   UM Review RN
    I'll bet that father could give two flying flips for what everyone else thought--he was caring for and bonding with his son.

    What is more important in life than that?

    I'll bet that child thrives.


    PS I wonder--if your coworkers were in the same position as that man, would they refrain from holding their child because of what people might think?
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    I really think that nurse needs to get out of the NICU. That area is hard enough on the parents without someone like her with a horrible attitude towards parents trying to do the right thing.
  7. by   Zippedodah
    Oh brother. You reported it to your manager and she should be carrying it a step further by talking to that nurse and then notifying the RT's super. We had a few nurses that made a couple of comments in front of nursing students, who in turn told their instructor, who told the UM and they were written up. I would let the manager take care of it. Is this a newer nurse or someone that has been there a while?
  8. by   user9876
    this might sound totally stupid - but what is skin-to-skin?
  9. by   allantiques4me
    How unprofessional of these nurses.
  10. by   Gompers
    Quote from aph401
    this might sound totally stupid - but what is skin-to-skin?
    Skin-to-skin is another way of explaining Kangaroo Care - when a parent holds their baby skin-to-skin. Think of a kangaroo and how the tiny, undeveloped joey is tucked inside mom's pouch to stay safe and warm. We'll take a preemie wearing only a diaper and tuck him against mom or dad's bare chest, then cover him up with the parent's shirt and/or blankets to keep him warm. They are chest-to-chest and it is very comforting for both the parents and the baby. Babies tend to be more relaxed, keep their temperatures up, grow better, and tolerate handling better when they regularly get this treatment. It started in units around the world where they didn't have incubators to keep the preemies warm - so their mothers did!
  11. by   MarySunshine
    Wow, he'll be an awesome dad if he's that loving. I agree that it was very rude to make fun of him and it shouldn't be allowed. I know I do make fun of families sometimes (only in the nursing lounge) when I think they're being rude or bizarre but never in such a mean, personal way (and not over something that's actually sweet and positive!).
  12. by   sjt9721
    My daughter was born at 36 weeks (no NICU stay) weighing a little over 5lbs. AWESOME is the only word to describe holding her skin-to-skin. And just remembering her sleep that way on my husband's chest brings tears to my eyes.

    Shame on them for making fun of that devoted daddy.
  13. by   CHATSDALE
    does the unit encourage parents to do this
    what does the offending nurse do to follow up
    troubling
  14. by   navynurse06
    Wow...I just can't believe this....those types of comments are unprofessional and immature. I would like to know what the out come of you reporting this to your nurse manager. Also, how long as this person been a nurse? And does she not know the benefits of skin to skin? There is a big difference between joking and just being unprofessional. Keep us updated on this one.

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