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I have a hard time with the whole, "I don't want a "male" nurse" thing. Do people say this with the physicians that care for them? What about RRT? What about PT or any other healthcare professional??? When I was pregnant or in labor, I certainly never said, "I only want a female OBGYN." All I want to know is if you care--know what you are doing--are compassionate and are effective at what you do--and also, if you will listen. That goes for any of the roles above.
I guess this thing will just need more time to work its way through the culture.
Sometimes it is a cultural issue for men to take care of women. I still don't care if my doctor is a man or woman, just be caring and compassionate. I even let male med students and student nurses care for me before and after labor.
My mother in law prefers a woman doctor, but if she needs to see someone she will see a male doctor. She just really prefers a female doctor when it comes to a breast exam or a pap exam. My father in law prefers a male for a prostate exam, and in general for his doctor. So I guess it is a generational thing too.
I hear this about male aides as well although they do as we'll or better then some of the females and we try to accommodate them. I have also seen male aides try to get out of caring for females as well.
Culture can be an issue in either directions. In some cultures a man can not be cared for by a woman other then his wife. This should be accommodated when possible.
20-something female here. No kids, no history of any type of abuse. I request a female care provider for Paps and breast exams. They always ask on the phone when I make appointments anyways. Having my body exposed and invaded by a stranger is awkward enough for me. Call me a prude or whatever. It's just a cultural/personal thing for me. I am one of those people who only hugs immediate family members, and I need my personal space. Obviously if I needed an emergency Pap smear and there was only a male doctor around to do it, I guess I would survive. But just because I am a patient it doesn't mean that my modesty, comfort, and dignity has to go out the window.
I had an older male patient that didn't want me, his young female nurse, to take his Foley (I think he was embarrassed). I said, "Ok, I will find a male nurse to do it" because there were two working on the floor that day. I was not the least bit offended.
I think that it isn't a big deal to accommodate patients' preferences on caregiver gender in non-emergent situations. Are you going to force your patients to cope with an uncomfortable situation just because it is more convenient for you? I should hope not.
^ I agree with this, fully. I'm the same way. I could deal with a male doctor doing a pelvic exam/breast check for me, but I much prefer to have a female. In a situation where a male patient didn't want me handling him, I'd try to accommodate that the best I could.
I've also been told that I looked too young to be a "real" nurse more than once.
About all you can do is withdraw graciously and not take it personally. After it happened again, I felt like saying, "I'll go get my Grandma and be right back. She looks old." Didn't do it but I sure as heck felt like it!